Gaps in our understanding of marine ecosystems and their future changes pose a major challenge for the sustainable management of human activities affecting them. Our knowledge of the status of the South and Tropical Atlantic marine ecosystems and their future evolution is particularly poor, especially in comparison to the North Atlantic.
At the same time, many of the countries bordering the South and Tropical Atlantic depend heavily on marine ecosystems for providing relevant services such as food, genetic resources, recreation and climate regulation. Thus there is an urgent need to provide reliable information on their current state and how they may change over the next few months to decades, which are the time scales of greatest and immediate interest to most stakeholders and economic actors. Research is now needed on understanding and modelling climatic and human activity impacts on marine ecosystems in the South and Tropical Atlantic, to be able to understand, predict and adapt to ecosystem changes. A systemic approach, leading to climate based ecosystem prediction and information on future socio-economic and ecosystem service changes, will enable policy makers to tackle socio-economic challenges and contribute to the sustainable development of the region.
Main Objective: To assess the status of the South and Tropical Atlantic marine ecosystem and develop a framework for predicting its future changes, from months to decades, by combining ecosystem observations, climate-based ecosystem prediction and information on future socio-economic and ecosystem service changes, and thus to contribute to the sustainable management of human activities in the Atlantic Ocean as a whole.
TRIATLAS has the following specific objectives (SO):
SO1 – To enhance knowledge of the present state and seasonal dynamics of the Atlantic marine ecosystem across several trophic levels, through scientifically integrating and extending the physical and biological observing system in key areas of the South and Tropical Atlantic (Core Theme 1; CT1).
SO2 – To quantify the drivers at interannual to decadal time scale in the Atlantic marine ecosystem, and the potential for tipping point behavior and regime shifts, by using observations and numerical (earth system, ocean, and marine ecosystem) model simulations to examine the interactions between different stressors (including climate variability, extremes, and change, as well as fisheries and pollution) and the role of cumulative impacts on ecosystem functioning and associated ecosystem services (CT2).
SO3 – To combine state-of-the-art climate prediction and ecosystem models to improve forecasting capabilities of physical stressors, tipping points, recovery and changes in ecosystem state of the South and Tropical Atlantic from months to decades (CT3)
SO4 – To contribute to improving the sustainable exploitation of Atlantic marine resources by developing scenarios combining climate based ecosystem predictions with Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP), by conducting socioeconomic vulnerability assessments services, with stakeholder engagement and by analysing new value chains (CT4)
SO5 – To enhance capacity in marine ecosystems, oceanography, and climate research in countries bordering the South and Tropical Atlantic Ocean, so as to increase the region’s ability for managing human activities and sustainable development in the Atlantic Ocean (CT4).
SO6 – To ensure that activities are carried out both: 1) in close cooperation and alignment with relevant European Commission services (DG R&I) and the South-South Framework for Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the South and Tropical Atlantic and Southern Ocean; and 2) in coordination with other relevant projects and programmes in the field. This is to ensure coherence with related policy initiatives and to contribute to upscale cooperation along and across the Atlantic Ocean as a whole (CT4).