2023-04-01 to 2026-03-31
Approx. 1,3 mil. EUR
Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate – Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Prins Engineering, Hørsholm, Denmark
NORCE Climate and Environment, Norwegian Research Centre, Bergen, Norway
Gothenburg Marine Biological Laboratory, Göteborgs Marinbiologiska Laboratorium, Västra Frölunda, Sweden
Oceanographic Research and Development, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Västra Frölunda, Sweden
Aquatic invasive species are one of the largest threats to biodiversity in the oceans. One of the main measures taken within marine strategies to preserve biodiversity is to establish marine protected areas (MPAs). MPAs are areas with high biological diversity, and it is therefore important to establish effective management strategies for these areas. This project will investigate the climate change induced spread of invasive alien species (IAS) to MPAs in the North East Atlantic (North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat). In the sea area between Denmark, Sweden and Norway, several ocean current systems merge and the maritime traffic is intense. A regional approach will be developed, aiming to produce a general concept for trans-national mitigation work regarding invasive alien species.
The project will combine climate ocean models, remote sensing and data on marine traffic, with species distribution models for predictions of new introductions.
We will develop risk assessments for new introductions of invasive species, identifying so-called “invasion hubs” (particularly favourable areas) and the risk for subsequent spread to MPAs. These assessments will, in close cooperation with regional and local stakeholders, be used to develop advice for the management and control of invasive alien species.
Using predictive modelling, we aim to achieve an effective management of invasive species, enabling early detection through public engagement, and in-time science-based preventive and eradication actions.
We will use climate ocean models to perform dispersal and connectivity modelling divided into three cornerstones: ocean circulation modelling (including climate projections), trajectory studies of IAS eggs and larvae, and use of connectivity matrices.
Further, we will study enclosed sea bodies with particularly suitable environments for the establishment of invasive species, “invasion hubs”. These will be investigated for the presence of potential alien species, sometimes referred to as “door knocking species”, by use of molecular methods.
The project will also model ecosystem impact scenarios of IAS by combining data produced within the project and data from especially Copernicus. These scenarios will after stakeholder consultation also include gap-filling activities such as high-resolution habitat mapping to enable more precise predictions of invasive species spreading.
Various monitoring and early detection methods will be investigated, such as the use of eDNA and by involving citizen science. Field studies and controlled laboratory experiments will be conducted to achieve knowledge of population structures, life-history traits and dispersal biology of the IAS. Different control alternatives will be tried out to find cost-efficient preventive and eradication methods for IAS.
Via a multi-actor platform, stakeholders will discuss management options and jointly develop a management model and guidelines to be communicated broadly to stakeholders such as Environmental Protection Agencies and governmental species information centres.