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Summer School 2023 – Effects of Human Activity on Biodiversity in Marine Systems
5 June @ 9:00 am - 7 June @ 1:30 pm CEST
Since 2004, AZTI annually organizes an international ‘Summer School’ on marine research related cutting-edge topics, always trying to bridge the gap between research, policy and society. The course is taught by about 5-10 speakers and attended by around 40-60 students that join from 10-15 countries each year. Some years we have organized the school back-to-back with European projects, such as DEVOTES, MARS, SOPHIE, GlobalHAB, as well as other organizations (e.g. Euromarine, EEAcademy, European Environment Agency -EEA-, Frontiers in Marine Science). This year, the school is organized by AZTI, in the framework of several Horizon Europe projects (GES4SEAS, OBAMA-NEXT, BiOcean5D, ACTNOW and MARBEFES), under the topic of “Innovative and Practical Tools for Monitoring and Assessing multiple human pressures affecting biodiversity in marine systems”. All these projects have started in 2022-2023 and are dealing with marine biodiversity, developing tools which will help in monitoring and assessing the ocean. These tools will serve to obtain knowledge, helping policy-makers to take informed management decisions in protecting, conserving and restoring marine biodiversity, ensuring the long-term delivering of ecosystem services.
Human activities at sea (e.g. fishing, shipping, extraction of materials, renewable energies, marine constructions, oil and gas exploration) and coastal areas (e.g. agriculture, industry, tourism, etc.) have expanded considerably, leading to an increased level of pressures and subsequent degradation of ocean health which ultimately affects human health. Despite the efforts of the Sustainable Blue Economy and the Green Deal to minimize the impacts of human activities at sea, maritime activities, and therefore their pressures and impacts, are likely to continue increase, driven by human demands. Examples of such activities include aquaculture, tourism, renewable energy, biotechnology, and seabed mining. Although these activities should be regulated and planned through the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD; Directive 2014/89/EU), the single and cumulative impacts from these activities will add to those posed by already existing activities, and may translate to impacts on human welfare. The cumulative impacts from the human activities and pressures are further enhanced by the effects of climate change, which are altering marine ecosystems, with dramatic effects on biodiversity and habitats worldwide, as highlighted by IPBES and IPCC.
Hence, there is a need to ensure that multiple marine and coastal human activities are carried out in a sustainable manner to achieve the goals of the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (COM(2020)380), Good Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD; Directive 2008/56/EC), and the favorable conservation status of vulnerable habitats and species (Birds and Habitats Directives (BHD; 92/43/EEC)), and ultimately contribute to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will contribute to guarantee the maintenance of the provision of marine and coastal ecosystem services, under a background of climate change, which in turn, will allow mitigation and adaptation to it, increasing the resilience of marine and societal systems.
Hence, the main objective of the school is to present the innovative tools that are already practically used in monitoring the ocean, and the tools used to assess the cumulative effects of multiple pressures, as well as the status of the ocean and the ecosystem services it provides.