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CENSOR - Climate variability and el niño southern oscillation: implications for natural coastal resources and management

Project website:

Summary information

Funding:FP6 - Specific Targeted Research Project
Total cost:3830000
Ec contribution:3000000
Start date:2004-10-01
End date:2008-09-30
Duration:48 months
Coordinator:Catherine Audebert (
Organisation:Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research – Germany
Themes:Temperature changes; storm frequency and intensity changes; ocean current changes; freshwater inflow; biological impacts
Project name:CENSOR - Climate variability and el niño southern oscillation: implications for natural coastal resources and management
Project summary:Abstract
Marine biodiversity and the sustained exploitation of marine resources are significantly influenced by the ENSO (El Nino- Southern Oscillation) climate variation, which particularly affects the aquatic and terrestrial habitats along the Chilean-Peruvian coast of the Humboldt Current upwelling system. Both its warm phase (El Nino: EN) and its cold phase (La Nina: LN) have drastic implications for the ecology, socioeconomy and infrastructure of the countries impacted. Local artisanal fisheries represent a major activity for the domestic economy of both countries, thus a huge amount of studies (published and unpublished) exist aiming at identifying effects of EN. However, most processes and mechanisms causing these effects have not been analyzed yet. In the sea, especially artisanal fisheries and near-shore invertebrate and fish populations suffer from EN effects. Both EN and LN, however, also produce positive effects, which are not fully used by local fishermen and human communities.

The aim of the CENSOR project is to enhance the detection, compilation and understanding of EN/LN effects on coastal marine environments and resources. Local artisanal fisheries and many commercial branches connected to them will benefit from the findings. Thus this project is expected to be of high economic and social interest for Chile and Peru, as well as for their environmental policy and social stability. To achieve this goal we propose a multidisciplinary approach, which enables us to build a comprehensive picture illustrating the response of the upwelling ecosystem to EN events. Scattered data on coastal benthic communities, coastal ichthyologic resources, pelagic-benthic processes and riverine input on coastal systems will be compiled and analyzed comparatively under EN and non-EN conditions. Further, aquacultural demands will be addressed. All results of the CENSOR project will be integrated in a database and made available (managers & public at large).
Project outputs:One major goal of CENSOR was the compilation, integration and dissemination of existing data, including unpublished resources. The concept is to prevent that these data, due to limited distribution outside their place of origin, get lost in the future. Therefore, CENSOR compiled this information with the PANGAEA - Publishing Network for Geological and Environmental Data. Data, including all metadata, are long-term archived and accessible at WDC-MARE, using a persistent identification as provided through the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system. Metadata, as already defined in PANGAEA, can be downloaded using dynamic links provided on the project website. Specific data sets may be accessed using the PANGAEA search engine PangaVista with the query 'CENSOR' and special search term (e.g. author name, species, area).