About this Research Topic
To ensure effective conservation and management of marine ecosystems, it is crucial to gain a deep understanding of the underlying cause-and-effect relationships driving ecosystem shifts, as well as their ecological responses. Achieving this requires a robust understanding of the drivers responsible for inducing ecosystem changes, coupled with the development of novel technologies to facilitate efficient and cost-effective monitoring. Additionally, there must be a comprehensive assessment of management options aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of these changes. This is particularly important for guiding ecosystem-based management.
However, assessing cumulative effects can be an inherently challenging task, requiring a multi-disciplinary approach. Several key issues necessitate science-based knowledge to provide the required insights for effective conservation and management. These issues include Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), biological invasions, jellyfish blooms, species range shifts and community changes due to climate change, the decline of top predators, emerging pollutants (e.g., plastics and pharmaceuticals), as well as noise and light pollution.
Therefore, further research is urgently required to fill the existing gaps in our understanding of human impacts on ecosystem health and identify effective strategies for mitigating their adverse effects. Only by gaining this knowledge can we hope to preserve the fragile balance of our oceanic ecosystems and ensure their long-term survival for future generations.
Many of these research questions have been highlighted as some of the Grand Challenges in Marine Ecosystem Ecology (Borja et al., 2020) and we would like to take the pulse on current advances. Manuscripts that address one or more of the following themes are invited in this Research Topic:
• Methods, models, and tools that can quantify and forecast how cumulative impacts from human activities and climate change can affect ecosystem health and sustainability
• Measuring ecosystem shifts, biodiversity, and habitat loss in response to local and global stressors
• Reviews on the state–of–the–art in support of ecosystem-based management and dealing with key changes in ecosystem components, such as HABs, invasive species (alien and neonative), jellyfish outbreaks, and the decline of top predators
• Investigating emerging pollutants and their impacts on marine ecosystems, including noise and light pollution, marine litter, and pharmaceuticals.
• Ecosystem management approaches to achieve Good Environmental Status
• Identifying tipping points in ecosystem state and investigating ecosystem resilience
• Investigating the effectiveness of management measures to mitigate impacts from cumulative local and global stressors
• Assessing cumulative effects to guide ecosystem-based management
• Improving ecological assessments to evaluate ecosystem health
• Improved conservation, restoration, and marine spatial planning to achieve good ecological status and ecosystem resilience – climate-ready conservation planning
• Supporting marine conservation and restoration actions and their efficiency under global change and shifting policies (e.g. Blue Growth).
• Decision support tools and assessments of management options for effective ecosystem-based management
• Potential of nature-based solutions to address and mitigate multiple environmental stressors
Keywords: ecosystem-based management, climate change, policy, drivers of ecosystem change
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.