ECOLOC at glance 概览
Tropical coasts are particularly vulnerable to global environmental change. Along the South and Southeast Asian coasts, naturally high fluxes of land-derived substances into the ocean meet with high marine biodiversity, fast growing population and economies, and a high frequency and intensity of natural hazards, i.e. tectonic activity and weather extremes. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector worldwide over the past four decades with an average annual increase of 9 %. China is by far the largest producer of aquaculture goods in the world accounting for 62 % of global production in terms of quantity and 51 % of global value (FAO, 2010). While the anthropogenic nutrient load of coastal aquatic systems is traditionally ascribed mainly to agriculture, the contributions from and potential threats of aquaculture now become an emerging issue (Glibert and Bouwman, 2012). These, in concert with other potentially harmful substances like organic matter, inorganic and organic contaminants and pathogens resulting from the multitude of human uses in densely-populated coastal regions endanger the integrity of coastal ecosystems and hence the provision of ecosystem services.
With an interdisciplinary approach ECOLOC aims at understanding an ecosystem in transition from a natural to an anthropogenically modified state, knowledge that nowadays is urgently required for developing sound management concepts that allow to sustain the provision of ecosystem services. In this context ECOLOC is organized in nine subprojects along three major thematic lines of research (Inputs & Threats, Response & Mitigation, Dynamics & Dispersal) which aim to identify the relevance of landward vs. oceanic influence and responsible controls.
Generally, the following major research questions will be addressed:
1. What are the major inputs resulting from human activities, what is the share of aquaculture (nutrients, organic matter, organic contaminants, pathogens, trace metals) and what are their pathways in the environment?
2. How does eutrophication affect water quality in terms of dissolved oxygen concentration and pH as well as the emission of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O)?
3. How do coastal organisms (benthos, seagrasses) respond to the increasing input of anthropogenic substances and associated impacts on water quality?
4. As mangroves are lost to aquaculture: do seagrass beds serve as a nutrient, pathogens and organic matter buffer for coral reefs?
5. What is the role of upwelling for circulation and nutrient input into the coastal zone of Hainan, does it promote productivity and other biological activities?
6. How can management measures be tailored towards a sustainable use?
FAO, 2010. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010. FAO fisheries and aquaculture department, Rome,197 pp.
Glibert, P., Bouwman, L., 2012. Land-based nutrient pollution and the relationship to harmful algal blooms in coastal marine systems. LOICZ Newsletter Inprint 2012/2: 5-7.