Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Major study predicts grim future for Europe's seas

11.06.2007
On the eve of World Oceans Day, a group of over 100 scientists from 15 countries has revealed new evidence for the declining state of Europe's 4 regional seas

Their models developed during a €2.5M EU funded research project have predicted dire consequences for the sea unless European countries take urgent action to prevent further damage from current and emerging patterns of development. The project coordinator, Professor Laurence Mee, Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth said “Europeans are just beginning to wake up to the fact that the area of their seas is bigger than the land and that it is already seriously degraded.

“In every sea, we found serious damage related to the accelerated pace of coastal development, the way we transport our goods and the way we produce our food on land as well as the sea.

“Without a concerted effort, to integrate protection of the sea into Europe’s development plans, its biodiversity and resources will be lost”

The past two decades have witnessed unparalleled changes in the European political and economic landscape, particularly resulting from expansion of the European Union, decline of the centrally planned communist Bloc and pursuit of rapid economic growth. Despite numerous accounts of the declining state of the marine environment, few studies have attempted to link this situation with Europe’s human lifestyles or to examine what the future may hold for the seas. The project, European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems was designed to explore this relationship.

28 institutions from 15 European countries participated in this work which focused on the four major European sea areas: Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-East Atlantic. It examined four cross-cutting environmental issues: habitat change, eutrophication (over-fertilisation of the sea), chemical pollution and fishing. For each issue and sea, models were devised linking economic and social drivers, environmental pressures and the state of the environment.

In a similar process to that used by climate change researchers, innovative models were employed to explore the consequences of a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, along with four alternatives, for economic and social development in the coming two to three decades. The research confirmed the serious state of decline of Europe’s regional seas, particularly when the complex web of interactions between different human pressures is taken into account. In each sea, components of the ecosystem were identified that are ‘winners’ or ‘losers’ as a result of human activity. This situation will severely compromise future options for economic use of the sea and for the conservation of its biodiversity.

The team explored the reason for these changes and the prognosis for the future. Eutrophication for example, continues to be a severe problem for the most enclosed seas (the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and the Adriatic within the Mediterranean Sea). It is partly maintained by a legacy of past phosphate and nitrogen loads (from agriculture and industrial/domestic effluent) that have accumulated in soils, aquifers and sediments and continue to leak into the sea. This may be further exacerbated by nutrient loads accompanying intensification of food production in Europe. This combination of pressures limits the scope for short-term remedial action and in the case of the Baltic Sea; short-term prospects for reducing eutrophication are particularly bleak.

The future condition of each sea is closely associated with the economic options that will be pursued in Europe, the transport of goods to and from other parts of the world and the European regulatory framework. Continued reduction of pollutants, such as chlorinated pesticides, is likely, but the authors are concerned about poorly monitored ‘lifestyle’ chemicals associated with household products. Changing economies and a more mobile labour force are likely to affect fisheries, though success or failure are currently clearly tied to the ‘total allowable catch’ set through the Common Fisheries Policy. The study illustrates how management of fisheries in isolation from the other environmental issues is unlikely to lead to overall sustainability.

Angelika Dummermuth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.awi.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>