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:
- Establish scenarios of human and global change associated pressures on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems;
- Develop a conceptual model and mechanistic framework for impacts of multiple terrestrially-derived pressures on freshwater and marine biodiversity and ecosystem processes;
- Determine consequences of changes in freshwater and marine ecosystems for delivery of nature’s contributions to people, including ecosystem services;
- 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).