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Coastal ecosystem carbon balance in times of rapid glacier melt

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CoastCarb (Coastal ecosystem carbon balance in times of rapid glacier melt)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2022-08-31

CoastCarb is an international Research Network that follows an interdisciplinary approach to understand the consequences of Climate Change in the Beagle Channel and the coastal Western Antarctic, a region of recent rapid aerial warming. The CoastCarb Network for Staff Exchange and Training is funded by the Marie Curie Action RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange) of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union (H2020-MCSA-RISE 872690). The activity brings European, South American, US and Canadian scientists together to advance climate and (eco-) system change research.
Climate change and intensifying human resource use are causing massive changes to Subantarctic coastal systems and carbon cycling. At the same time, these systems house benthic communities of highest biomass and biodiversity, which sustain important ecosystem services and require strategic observation and management plans. Although they are just beginning to be appreciated by scientists and public, natural (climate mitigation) and cultural ecosystem services (e.g. local fisheries, tourism, sustainable aquaculture) are already jeopardized by the massive scale and velocity of the regional change in Southern Patagonia and at the West Antarctic Peninsula (SP/WAP).
The multidisciplinary network CoastCarb joins more than 100 experts in Subantarctic coastal system ecology and ecological modelling to create a knowledge information system with open access data portal and produce dynamic ecosystem models for fjordic and estuarine environments. Using data on carbon budgets and flow (including benthic and pelagic food webs, microbes to megafauna) from across the network, specialists will analyse the relationships between ecosystem services, local stakeholders and communities, to identify barriers and enablers of the sustainable use of marine resources. Study areas along the fragmented SP/WAP coastline are intensively investigated.
Data sets from more than 10 recent interdisciplinary research projects of CoastCarb participants, and from the scientific core programmes at coastal stations (AR-DE Carlini-Dallmann, US Palmer, UK Rothera, PL Arctowski) will be used for knowledge compilation. CoastCarb secondments foster capacity building in research and observation for a better understanding of complex ecosystem processes and major hazard scenarios (e.g. harmful algal blooms), and in targeted science stakeholder interaction events.
CoastCarb started on 01.01.2020 and a kick-off meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany, at AWI (19.-22.01.20). The consortium has been introduced to the management and scientific goals of the project. The participants started networking and with planning the implementation of the objectives. A General Assembly at UACh-IDEAL Punta Arenas, Chile, was to follow on 23-26.03.2020. The bookings for accommodation, flights and catering had to be cancelled at short notice one week before due to the Corona pandemic. The first and only secondment (WP4) at that time had to be extended because the secondee could not travel home due to pandemic travel restrictions. The project was therefore only suspended on 17.07.2020 for a period of 594 days (amendment submission reference-no AMD-872690-11) and all secondments already planned by then were cancelled, including flights.
On 1.2.2022 the suspension ended and CoastCarb resumed. Several participants of the project took part in the FjordFlux expedition to the Magallanes region with RV Meteor in February 2022. The results of FjordFlux data analyses will support the knowledge on flux dynamics of organic matter in the Patagonian Cold Estuarine System under melt conditions, to understand ecosystem functioning. The first Data Management Plan has been submitted together with the Progress Report 1 in February 2022, in order to meet the principle of findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable data.
The development of a Critterbase data ingest template has been started within the ongoing WP1 secondment, test data sets have been selected to start with. About 100 interviews have already been collected under WP5 focusing on ocean health and ocean benefits in the remote communities of Northern and Southern Patagonia.
From October 17th to 19th, 2022, we will have a hybrid General Assembly in Punta Arenas, Chile, at the UACh-IDEAL to catch-up scientific networking and to bring established ERs and ERSs together. Subsequently, the participants will work on specific project tasks in WP workshops: WP1 Critterbase data ingestion, WP2, 3 and 4 workshops A published review supporting a set of standardised/key metrics and identifying data gaps”, WP5 will hold a workshop to receive feedback on OHI calculation and data gaps; WP1 will provide a training on “data analysis in using” and WP3 and WP4, “intertidal ecology under climate change”
In total 28.1 Secondment months have been carried out during reporting period 1. Further 310 secondment months are planned for reporting period 2, of which 46 secondment months have already been announced to be carried out during the upcoming months.
The following training sessions and workshops are planned for the Punta Arenas General Assembly in October 2022:
WP1 - Workshop and Training, “Data synthesis for DB CRITTERBASE” and “Mapping in R”
WP2 - Planned workshop about modelling foodweb modelling, ecophysiological modelling, carbon flow modelling
WP3 – Workshop for D3.1 A published review supporting a set of standardised/key metrics and identifying data gaps; and Intertidal ecology training course – How benthic organisms will adapt to change
WP4 – Workshop (MS7) on modelling food webs and carbon budgets jointly with WP2 and WP3
WP5 - Ocean health in Magallanes and Patagonia: diagnosis and challenges for its monitoring with local stakeholders participation
WP6 – How to transform science into easy understandable media products to inform about lessons learned from fragile coast systems
For 2023, a workshop on food web modelling has been planned to take place in Cordoba, Argentina, CONCET-IDEA. Further WS will follow in 2024. Before the project end in July 2025, a final meeting will be organized.
The expected results of the project will be closely related to the project objective:
Obj 1 - Data and Information System (DIS): Compile a geo-referenced data information system for SP and WAP coastal change, including abiotic environmental factors, disturbance levels, and mapping coastal biosphere (WP1).
Obj 2 - Ecosystem Modelling: Develop a carbon flux model for SP/WAP coastal fjords and estuaries, considering different ecosystem processes such as carbon sequestration (production, coastal run-off fluxes, deposition and burial) and mobilisation (bioturbation, remineralization, transport processes) (WP2).
Obj 3 – Species Metrics & Multiple Stressors: Parameterise the response of coastal biosphere (key species, groups, key communities) to environmental change for different focal areas along with SP and the WAP. Identify and fill present data gaps (WP3).
Obj 4 - Ecosystem Change and Carbon Storage: Develop a coastal status classification scheme (dynamic mapping of carbon sink and source areas) (WP4).
Obj 5 - Ocean health and human wellbeing: marine and coastal social-ecological systems (MCSES) and benefits of ocean health under climate change (WP5).
Obj 6 – Outreach: Combining the scientific knowledge achieved along the project to share to a non-specific public is coordinated by WP6 (Coordination and Management).

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