The Benefits of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems to People
: From Ecological Evaluation to Good Conservation Measures

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The decline in the quality of marine and coastal ecosystems (MCEs), on which people rely for innumerable ecosystem goods and services, is a global concern. This thesis gives an overview of my research towards the valuation of ecosystem services provided by MCEs from the tropics to sub-polar areas, covering coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, kelp forests, salt marshes, mudflats, and maërl beds. Assessing the ecological condition of those ecosystems has been a cornerstone of my research, adjusting my approach depending on data availability and resources, for instance, by developing other indexes such as the habitat functionality or vulnerability of MCEs to adjust the quantity and quality of ecosystem services delivered due to habitat degradation. Thus, this thesis covers mainly regulating and supporting services that allow MCEs to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, such as the services of coastal protection, climate regulation, water purification, biomass production and maintenance of the lifecycle (nursery). Considering the combined effects of climate change and local anthropogenic stressors, the recent work on Fuzzy Cognitive Logic and Mapping allows us to represent very complex socio-ecological systems, opening the discussion with stakeholders on plausible “what-if” scenarios and providing a decision-supporting tool to address manageable local stressors in order to increase the resilience of MCEs to climate change and maintain the delivery of multiple ecosystem services that can help address societal challenges. The multi-disciplinary behind the concept of ecosystem services and its intended use has extended my research towards other disciplines, considering remote sensing applications, participatory modelling techniques, cumulative impact assessments, environmental economics, and social and policy sciences. This thesis is a testimony of my interdisciplinary contribution to research and showcases the evolution of my approaches to make this research valuable for the conservation of MCEs and meaningful to coastal communities.


Date of Award1 May 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorSimon Cragg (Supervisor) & Pierre Failler (Supervisor)

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