Pojke som står på klippor och tittar ner i havet
Photo: Andreas Skriver Hansen

Land2Sea: Aquatic ecosystem services in a changing world

Research project

Short description

Land2Sea is an international project funded under a joint call of the Belmont Forum, Biodiversa and the EC. It aims to develop an integrated framework for assessing the consequences of human activities for water quality and biodiversity. It will capture combined impacts of terrestrial inputs and climate change on freshwater and marine systems and incorporate physical, ecological and socio-cultural dimensions aligned with the Conceptual Framework of the IPBES. The framework will facilitate management to improve water quality and will support the objectives of European and international biodiversity policy to halt or reverse species decline. Several universities in Europe and North America are involved, including the University of Gothenburg, with a regional focus on Kosterhavet National Park.

The project brings together a multidisciplinary team, combining aquatic ecologists, ecosystem modellers, socio-cultural researchers and economists from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Canada and the USA. It is focussing on combined impacts on freshwater and marine systems of selected human inputs to terrestrial systems (nutrients, biocides) and future climate-induced changes to hydromorphology and temperature.

Empirical research will characterise combined effects of these stressors on multiple dimensions of biodiversity and on ecosystem processes, services and benefits. Findings will fill gaps in existing knowledge, which will be reviewed and complemented by expert opinion as a basis for a framework of coupled models (physical, biological and socio-economic) to predict impacts on aquatic ecosystems and ecosystem services and socio-economic and cultural benefits.

The framework and its application to policy and management will be developed and trialled through four case study catchments with differing environmental and societal contexts and strong backgrounds of research and dependence on freshwater and marine ecosystems: Dublin Bay, Ireland; the St Lawrence Estuary, Canada; Kosterhavet, Bohuslän, Sweden and the Tidal Elbe, Germany.

Specific objectives are to:

  1. Establish scenarios of human and global change associated pressures on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems;
  2. Develop a conceptual model and mechanistic framework for impacts of multiple terrestrially-derived pressures on freshwater and marine biodiversity and ecosystem processes;
  3. Determine consequences of changes in freshwater and marine ecosystems for delivery of nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem services;
  4. Construct integrated frameworks of coupled models to predict the consequences of terrestrial inputs for freshwater and marine ecosystems and nature’s contributions to people;

Derive decision support tools and recommendations for policy, management and mitigation aligned with the work of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Small bridge for boats and the sea
Photo: Andreas Skriver Hansen
Boy looking into the sea
Photo: Andreas Skriver Hansen