Integrated Assessment of Atlantic Marine Ecosystems in Space and Time
iAtlantic focuses on 12 key areas of the ocean, using innovative approaches to upscale observations to address basin scale issues. Over 30 expeditions will study ecosystems most at risk of change. iAtlantic also builds human and technical capacities by creating iAtlantic Fellows through a capacity building programme including hands-on work at sea, technology transfer, analytical techniques and data interpretation training and a mentoring programme
iAtlantic will take an interdisciplinary scientific approach to unifying stakeholder efforts to better inform sustainable management and enhance human and observational capacity throughout the Atlantic. The integration of ecosystem data with major circulation pathways connecting the North and South linked with climatic data and forecasts provides a systematic approach to jointly assess and tackle policy challenges. Ocean physics and ecosystem connectivity will enable high-resolution oceanographic hindcasts and forecasts of future circulation together with ground-truthing genomic data. Advances in eDNA genomics, machine learning and autonomous underwater robotics will be combined with existing data to provide a step-changes in predictive habitat mapping approaches to expand species and biodiversity observations from local to basin-scales.
Ecological timeseries, including innovative palaeoceanographic and genomic reconstructions, will provide an unprecedented view of the impacts of climate change on Atlantic ecosystems. Assessment of the impact of multiple stressors will identify key drivers of ecosystem change and tipping points.
New data will come from 12 carefully selected regions in the deep sea and open ocean that are of international conservation significance and of interest to Blue Economy and Blue Growth sectors. Innovative and efficient data handling and data publishing approaches will establish a better integrated Atlantic Ocean observation data community. Capacity and cooperation between science, industry and policymakers bordering the Atlantic will be boosted by joint multi-disciplinary research cruises, enhanced S Atlantic monitoring arrays, scientific training events, iAtlantic Fellowships and industry focussed workshops. Results will be used to stimulate dialogue with stakeholders and critically assess current ocean governance frameworks generating increased capacity for Marine Spatial Planning and enabling Blue Growth scenarios to be rapidly evaluated.
More information about the project can be found at the project website.