Ocean Services in a Changing Ocean | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Ocean Services in a Changing Ocean

Marine ecosystems provide many societal benefits, ranging from carbon cycling, primary production and oxygen production, energy supply, climate regulation, mineral and biological resources, to leisure and recreation at attractive coastal environments. VLIZ follows an ecosystem based approach for improving our understanding of ocean services and quantifying the impact of global change on ecosystem functioning.

VLIZ aims to create comprehensive, continuously updating datasets for improved understanding of marine ecosystems. We will achieve this goal through data archaeology and regular data gathering, in particular on the occurrence and traits of organisms in the Belgian Part of the North Sea. Based on this data, we build and validate models that will enable us to quantitatively relate ocean life to ocean services and anthropogenic drivers of environmental change. Finally, we use experimental research to unravel mechanisms of ecosystem processes and refine our models accordingly. To do so, we conduct laboratory experiments that measure certain effects of one or multiple stressors on key species, populations or communities in the laboratory.

This fundamental research will enable us to refine models for understanding impacts of global change on ocean services and make informed predictions for the near and distant future. We also aim to apply this knowledge to evaluate the potential impact of constructions related to new economic activities in the sea and to improve our physical and ecological understanding of building with nature. As such, we will be able to predict and validate community changes due to alterations in current velocity and direction upon the construction of islands, new sand banks or tidal pools. We also aim to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of building with nature, taking into account the benefits of coastal protection and the positive and negative consequences for tourism and economy.

For more detailed information on the research topic Ocean Services in a Changing Ocean, we refer to the VLIZ Research Framework.