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Marine science

There is still a great deal to learn about the South Atlantic marine ecosystems, ocean dynamics and natural resources. As a result, there is a need to establish robust baselines to monitor and predict the effects of anthropogenic activities and pollution on these ecosystems, including from the impacts of climate change. This will inform best-practice management and help local populations to adapt to environmental changes.

Aim: We will develop and strengthen the knowledge of the marine environment in the South Atlantic, its biodiversity, ecosystems, oceanography and natural resources.

Over the next 5 years, we will establish research programmes to:

  • Establish biodiversity and ecosystem baselines for inshore and offshore waters for all of the UK’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories where required;
  • Develop an ocean monitoring programme for the South Atlantic starting with the Falkland Islands’ waters
  • Undertake research required to enhance the evidence-based science for the sustainable use of the marine resources of the South Atlantic;
  • Collaborate with local governments and partners in the UK’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories to address the locally-identified marine research requirements; and
  • Develop collaborative projects with international institutions on blue skies marine science with high international impacts.

OUR CURRENT MARINE SCIENCE PROJECTS

Dolphins of the Kelp

  • Island-wide surveys
  • Focal studies
  • Genetic studies

GAP Project

  • Joint FIG/FIPLA funds
  • Benthic ecology
  • Higher predators

Falkland Islands Marine Forest – Conservation and Monitoring

  • Kelp forest
  • Seaweed biodiversity
  • Baseline data

BEST 2.0

  • Biodiversity conservation & sustainable development in EU OCTs
  • Co-ordination of SAOT projects
  • Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Falkland Islands projects

Coastal Mapping Project

  • Defra funded through Darwin+
  • Habitat maps of Falkland Islands
  • Habitat maps of South Georgia
  • International collaboration

Influences on pelagic ecosystems in St Helena

  • Pelagic ecosystem
  • MPA
  • Sustainable fisheries

Natural Capital Assessment

  • Spatial data on the distribution of selected natural capital assets
  • Valuation of priority natural capital assets
  • Tools to support decision-making with environmental management and economic development
  • Methods for monitoring changes to priority natural capital over time