MAE: Climate resilience

Marine ecosystems are challenged by various aspects of climate change. In order for ecosystems to persist they need to be resilient: able to absorb and withstand stress, maintain function and, if necessary, evolve into configurations that are able to thrive. Marine Animal Ecology aims to increase climate resilience of reefs through understanding how organisms respond to change and how we can best protect them.

Putting structure back in reefs

A major cascading effect on marine ecosystems is the disappearance of hard, three-dimensional substrate that impairs the settling of benthic organisms. From the bottom up, this affects whole marine trophic food webs as three-dimensional structure provides crucial habitat for different life stages of benthic and pelagic species. Therefore, restoring structure in reefs will hopefully result in an increase in biodiversity, which will make the reef more resilient to climate change. Projects that are working on habitat restoration include:

North Sea artifical structure. Photo: Dr. O. Bos.
North Sea artifical structure. Photo: Dr. O. Bos.

    Projects coming soon


    Techniques used & Implications

    To ensure reefs are resilient to climate change, Marine Animal Ecology performs field monitoring and field, mesocosm and lab experiments. One of the tools used are molecular techniques. Conserving ecosystems effectively will allow reef associated organisms to show climate resilience and resistance.