Ecomar Project

Funding Agency: CYTED - Programa Iberoamericano de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo
Period: 3 years (2017-2020)
PI: Sebastián Villasante (USC)
Research Team: researchers from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Peru and Venezuela.

ECOMAR stands for Valuation and Monitoring of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services in Iberoamerican countries, and is a network project funded by CYTED, and coordinated Dr. Sebastian Villasante at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC, Spain). Future Oceans Lab is part of the network that will be working together on understanding the role of ecosystem services in marine conservation in Iberoamerica.

Marine ecosystem services from Iberoamerican countries are highly diverse but they are increasingly under threat from widespread and growing pressures on marine and coastal resources, including overfishing, water pollution, habitat destruction, and general loss of biodiversity. These threats are compromising the ability of marine and coastal ecosystems to provide services to people, including supporting, regulating, cultural and provisioning services.

To unlock the potential of marine and coastal ecosystem services for sustainable development, ECOMAR will take a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to help improve management and monitoring of protected areas through supporting scientific, technical and governance knowledge base. The project will enable the development of new frameworks and tools to better understand the spatial and temporal distribution of marine and coastal ecosystem services through the seascape in Iberoamerican countries in the context of climate change.

ECOMAR specific objectives:

– Development of a new framework and new methods to improve the analysis of marine and coastal ecosystem services.
– Promote the appropriate methodologies for making an effective assessment of the current situation of marine and coastal ecosystem services.
– Create an academic discussion group on the topic in Iberoamerica with the aim to inform public policy about coastal and marine spatial planning.
– Develop valuation and monitoring tools to support their management by policy-makers under global change situation.
– Increase awareness of relevance of marine and coastal ecosystem services to improve the protection of natural areas, as well as its dependent livelihoods.

Figure 1 shows networked countries

Fig 2 and 3 show the poster for the first ECOMAR meeting in Vigo and the group picture (by @SebVillasante)