PACES II Programme

Topic 2: Fragile coasts and shelf sea


Antropogenic footprint in the Wadden Sea (Photo: Ina Frings, HZG)

Anthropogenic footprint in the Wadden Sea (Photo: Ina Frings, HZG)

Coastal and shelf systems are perhaps the most rapidly changing environments on Earth. Concurrently, human future is closely linked to the sustainability of coastal environments and use of their resources. The change is not just confined to globally-induced change such as warming and sea level rise, but superimposed by natural variability and diverse pressures including ocean acidification and anthropogenic effects due to, e.g., overfishing, pollution, transport and the construction of large artificial structures such as wind farms. The allocation of observed change to individual drivers and the detection of combined effects remain difficult. This is, however, prerequisite for the long term management of resources provided by coastal zones and shelf seas.

Spokespersons for Topic 2:

Workpackage 1: Coastal shifts and long-term trends

To quantify and to assess regional environmental change in coastal systems to support and to foster the development of sustainable and robust adaptation options.

Workpackage 2: Species interactions in changing and exploited coastal seas

To reveal consequences of global and regional change, including new resource usage, on functioning and diversity of coastal ecosystems.

Workpackage 3: Evolution and adaptation to climate change and anthropogenic stress in coastal and shelf systems

To understand the genomic and functional strategies, capacities and limitations of organismal adaptation and anticipate the potential of coastal and shelf species to respond to ecosystem change and chemically mediated interactions.

Workpackage 4: Biogeochemical provinces of sea floors in the German North Sea sector

To provide a comprehensive georeferenced inventory of biogeochemical seafloor properties in the German Bight of the North Sea as a basis to assess their pollution status and functions in material cycling.

Workpackage 5: Interface processes and physical dynamics of the coastal ocean

Understand the small-scale dynamics of the coastal ocean in connection with fronts, turbulence, and interface processes under present and changing environmental conditions.