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Developing Downstream Applications and Services on BIO-PHYsical Characterization of the Seascape for COASTal Management (BIOPHYCOAST)

Point of contact
Laura Sedaine
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
3 rue Michel Ange
75016 Paris
Phone: +33-1-44964325

There is a growing demand on environmental information taking into account the strong variability, occurring at small spatio-temporal scales of the bio-physical properties of seawater in the coastal zone. Sporadic physical processes forced by alongshore winds and currents are known to strongly influence the temperature and nutrient loads of the coastal ocean at daily to weekly time-scales (Rossi et al. 2014). They can strongly modulate the local manifestation of marine heatwaves (Garrabou et al. 2009) and the repeated occurrence of such short-lived processes on the long-term control the productivity (Ross et al. 2016) and adaptability of the system (Bensoussan et al. 2010). Information on the preferential occurrence of these fundamental processes at the appropriate spatial (e.g. portion of coastline, management units, marine protected areas) and temporal (from event to decades) scales is still missing.

The main objectives of this project is to exploit Copernicus product to derive high-resolution indices of up- and down-welling in the coastal zones of the Mediterranean basin that will be then validated by in-situ measurements, when and where available. Our analysis will be based on extensive data sets already existing and which cover long time period (at least one to a few decades) over the entire Mediterranean basin. Communication and transfer actions oriented towards coastal managers will be undertaken.

The consortium is composed of experts in coastal ocean dynamics, ecology and bio-physical coupling with extensive scientific expertise and proved experience in project management, education, training and transfer to stakeholders, coastal managers in the Mediterranean Sea. The analysis will be based on a multi-sensor and multiplatform approach to better characterize coastal ocean bio-physical properties and dynamics. This will be achieved by combining ‘Earth Observations’ over the ocean available from Copernicus (e.g. sea surface wind, sea surface height, sea surface temperature, ocean colour) with high-resolution bathymetric dataset. Those gridded datasets are derived from satellite measurements, model re-analyses or a combination of both. Validation and sensitivity analysis of the high-resolution upwelling index will be conducted across a range of hydroclimatic conditions by considering in-situ data sets compiled from Copernicus database as well as national/regional observational networks (e.g. T-MEDNet for nearshore in situ temperature series, moorings maintained by OSU Institut Pytheas, MOOSE, etc…). We plan to analyse the spatio-temporal patterns of intermittent up- and down-welling, their statistical occurrences as well as their long-term trends. Thanks to our investigations of the occurrence of coastal upwelling events, which are known to be associated with cold and nutrient-rich waters that can support more productive food webs, we characterize the bio-physical properties (mean state and variability) of all coastal regions, including those sheltering Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Hence, the interpretation of our statistical analyses will allow ranking all current MPAs of the Mediterranean basin according to their "sporadic upwelling" potential as well as identifying new locations where upwelling potential would be maximized. The role of these transient events in modulating local thermal regimes and marine heatwaves will also be interpreted to identify climatic refugee or warming hotspots. These analyses will be conducted at the scale of the Mediterranean basin (including the main islands) and at unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution, hence providing improved accuracy and uncertainties estimates. It will allow advancing fundamental scientific knowledge (through peer-review papers) as well as providing synthetic and simple indices to any stakeholders (through a dedicated website).  

Outputs and Results

  • Computation, analysis, validation and dissemination of the synthetic and easy-to-interpret indices relevant for marine food webs, hydrological seascapes and marine heatwaves will provide key information for coastal management in general, and to MPAs in particular
  • Integration of indices in a more systematic manner and applied for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) such as for the design of representative MPA networks
  • Reaching new users among the coastal management and scientific communities (MPA network, local administration and authorities, marine scientists, marine conservation groups, and the interested public as well)
  • Establishment of a communication plan and development of a specific web-based module for the transfer of information and open data access to Mediterranean stakeholders, coastal managers and their associations and agencies
  • Linking a web module to existing national and international platforms in order to enhance visibility and data exploitation
  • Presentation of the results of the Action at international conferences oriented on Marine Sciences and more especially those touching upon management and conservation issues (e.g. Mediterranean MPA forum, etc…)
  • Presentation of the results in thematic workshops to spread user uptake among MPA managers and marine conservation groups
  • Organization of seminars in local and national institutions to present Copernicus products and results of the action to Aix Marseille University staff and students