Marine ecosystems have been and are subjected to various anthropogenic and environmental disturbances since historic times, which are cumulative and sometimes can act synergistically, additively or antagonistically. These are human activities such as fishing, pollution, eutrophication, invasion of species and the climate change, and changes due to environmental drivers related to changes in oceanographic dynamics, temperature, salinity and ultimately primary productivity. These ecosystem dynamics represent a scientific challenge although little is known about cumulative effects, and even less about their combined impacts. The objective of my research entitled “Towards an Ecosystem-based Approach of Marine Resources: Linking BIOodiversity, Food WEBs, Ecosystem Services and Drivers” (BIOWEB) is to quantify how the structure and functioning of marine food webs changes under these human and environmental cumulative and combined disturbances, and develop an understanding of how the changes in diversity and abundance of marine organism impact ecosystem functioning, and ultimately the services that marine ecosystems provide to humans (such as provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services) and to ecosystem health. In BIOWEB I will analyse the cumulative effects of different anthropogenic drivers together, and to include in the analysis the environmental factors in addition to anthropogenic disturbances. Until now, anthropogenic impacts have been assessed individually and environmental impacts tend to be included separately in the analysis. This will allow to progress towards a more complex and realistic analysis under the global change context, and evaluate the impact of human and environmental impacts on marine ecosystems. To accomplish my objective I will use an interdisciplinary approach combining meta-analysis of historical and recent biological data, with advanced ecosystem modelling, and laboratory experiments using microcosms.
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