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Biogeochemistry of coastal seas and continental shelves and impacts of anthropogenic pressures on coastal ecosystem functioning and services
Convener: Helmuth Thomas  | Co-Conveners: Alberto V. Borges , Nathalie Gypens , Marilaure Grégoire 
 / Tue, 14 Apr, 08:30–12:15
 / Attendance Tue, 14 Apr, 15:30–17:00

The session aims at fostering our understanding of the roles of coastal environments and of exchange processes along the terrestrial / coastal sea / open ocean continuum in global biogeochemical cycles. During the session recent advancements in the field of coastal and shelf biogeochemistry will be discussed. Contributions focusing on carbon and nutrient and all other element's cycles in coastal, shelf and shelf break environments are invited.

A further focus of the session is devoted to understanding the response of coastal ecosystems and biogeochemistry to anthropogenic pressures. Coastal and shelf areas are valuable but vulnerable socio-ecological systems, which are exposed to the combined pressures related to multiple human activities (e.g. fishing, navigation, agriculture, industry, urban loads) and climate change. Their combined effect can alter environmental conditions, modify ecosystem structure, functioning and state, compromising ecosystem services and affecting global biogeochemical cycles. The consequences for the state of the marine ecosystem include, e.g. (i) warming, acidification, pollution, eutrophication, increasing turbidity and organic matter, and poor oxygen conditions, leading to decrease of water quality, changes in benthic redox processes, benthos and fish mortality; (ii) increase of harmful (and sometimes toxic) algal bloom (HAB); (iii) increase of non-indigenous species and affect global biogeochemical cycles and climate. Thus, understanding the interactions among anthropogenic and climate pressures and their combined effects on marine ecosystem is challenging, but crucial to define management strategies for preserving the Good Environmental Status (GEnS) of seas and related services.

This session is interdisciplinary and aims to gather natural scientists (e.g. experimentalists, modellers, statisticians) and socio-economists in order to promote the dialogue. The session is open to observational, modelling and theoretical based studies that investigate the impacts of drivers (e.g. eutrophication, pollution, climate change) on the biogeochemistry, ecosystem functioning and food web structure of coastal and shelf areas. We encourage contributions dealing with the development of tools that are able for instance to describe change in ecosystem structure (e.g. plankton diversity and adaptation; benthic richness) and functionality (e.g. alteration of processes, changes in biological traits, loss of biological value), to explore the link between pressures and ecological changes, to connect the information provided by marine models to the GEnS of the area, to summarize the information provided by multivariate data sets and complex models into environmentally understandable quantities (e.g. indicators). This session is co-sponsored by the IGBP/IHDP coreproject LOICZ.