About this Research Topic
Drawing directly upon work by the European ATLAS project (2016-20) this Research Topic will explore recent findings and themes emerging as both the marine scientific and management communities embrace assessments of marine ecosystem connectivity, biogeography and function at ocean basin scale. Research and policy development at basin scale has been driven by the realisation that climatic change and anthropogenic impacts are rapidly altering marine ecosystems at the same time as governments seek to promote increased economic output from the marine environment. This broad context sets the considerable challenge and opportunity for marine science, industry, management and policy to shape the frameworks through which this sustainable economic ‘Blue Growth’ can be achieved.
This Research Topic will bring together key advances and approaches relevant to ocean basin-scale research and management. Studies built upon new discoveries from poorly-understood deep ocean ecosystems (e.g. coral, sponge, vent & chemosynthetic fauna) are now highlighting the opportunities for the scientific community to create a new evidence base for long-term management. For example, advances in oceanographic data availability, modelling resolution and a better understanding of larval biology and dispersal are fostering more interdisciplinary partnerships between physicists and biologists to model ecosystem connectivity. These connectivity analyses can now be ground-truthed by population genetic approaches built on datasets developed from next generation sequencing technologies (e.g. RADseq, RADTag, 2bRAD) fostering new understanding of marine ecosystem connectivity.
Alongside community ecology and rigorous taxonomic assessments, the improved understanding of ecosystem connectivity sets the stage for an enhancement in our ability to define biogeographic patterns at regional and full ocean basin scales. In turn, a more robust understanding of connectivity and biogeography can support a new generation of predictive models better tuned to reflect the present-day occurrence of key species and make inferences about their future distributions as ocean conditions and human uses change. Such understanding is now making it possible for socio-economic assessments of ecosystem value to be conducted at larger and larger scales. The ATLAS project explores the interface between ecology and economics, and how these approaches can scale to the management challenges at ocean basin scale.
Finally, the ocean policy and management landscapes are currently evolving rapidly at all scales from national, regional to international. Robust and adaptable policies are needed in response to emerging pressures of global climate change and human use of the open ocean and deep seabed from established sectors including fisheries and hydrocarbons to emerging sectors including blue biotechnology and deep-sea mining. This Research Topic will also seek contributions that explore the present and near-future industrial and policy landscape at ocean basin scale. For example, how may existing frameworks of offshore Marine Protected Areas designated through national or European legislation interact with assessments made through the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (i.e. Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems) and Convention on Biological Diversity (i.e. Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas)? How might the present United Nations deliberations on a new legally-binding instrument to manage biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction evolve and shape offshore management in the future?
Any ATLAS authors submitting manuscripts should inform the project’s data management workpackage leader Stéphane Pesant (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ensure that datasets associated with the MS are submitted and given a doi that can be cited in the manuscript. Any non-ATLAS authors are also encouraged to archive their data via suitable long-term repositories (e.g. ENA, PANGAEA) so papers and associated datasets arising from this Research Topic are both managed and citable in the long term.
There will be phased deadlines each year until the end of 2020 with the first round of abstracts due by 12th July 2018 and manuscripts by 15th November 2018.
The Topic Editors Murray Roberts and Telmo Morato declare that they are affiliated with the European ATLAS consortium on ocean basin-scale research and management.
Keywords: Atlantic Ocean, ecosystem function, biodiversity, ecosystem valuation, maritime spatial planning
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.