KüNO Projects
KüNO Projects

BioWeb: Response of biodiversity change in North Sea food webs mediated by environmental drivers and human activities 

Short description

At present, the North Sea ecosystems are subjected to substantial changes in environmental drivers and human impacts. Among the latter, oligotrophication and lower fishing pressure potentially reverse trophic controls. Increasing temperatures and new artificial habitats such as wind farms add to changes in food webs and biodiversity, which in turn affect harvest potential of biological resources and other ecosystem services. In order to study the effects of these ongoing substantial changes, we will investigate long-term shifts in taxonomic and trait based biodiversity on all trophic levels by combing existing long-term datasets of taxonomic groups from marine mammals, to fish, cephalopods, benthos and zooplankton. Field experiments and process studies will be carried out to close knowledge gaps about ongoing community changes and their effects on food web interactions. Trait based analyses will be performed in order to identify shifts in dominating ecological attributes within the communities, which have occurred throughout the recent decades. Traits reflecting the most pronounced shifts will be identified and included as functional groups into spatially resolved ecosystem models of the EcoPath family. We will communicate scenarios of biodiversity and trait based changes and its consequences for food-webs and the use of biological resources to local and regional actors in North Sea coastal communities spanning from local fisheries and aquaculture production to trade, tourism or local policy and administration. The social and economic consequences and adaptation possibilities will be discussed in Focus Groups with stakeholders in an iterative, participatory process to develop recommendations from the project to policy makers.

Funding period:

 11/2020 - 10/2023

Funding amount:

 1,520,000.00 €


Coordinator: Senckenberg Society for Nature Research (SGN), Senckenberg am Meer

Project partner:

  • Thünen Institut for Sea Fisheries
  • Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz centre for polar and marine research (AWI)
  • University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover

   assoziiert: Helmholtz Centre hereon

Website: https://senckenberg.de/de/bioweb/