What is Ocean-Certain?


Ocean Certain is a project that has as its ultimate aim to create more certainty about our oceans during climate change. We are a broad group of scientists from Europe, Chile and Australia, which is important in seeing the challenge from a global perspective. We are both natural scientists who will work with the ecosystem and the biological pump and social scientists who will study possible consequences for society, or people in general.

 The OCEAN CERTAIN project has 11 partners from 8 European countries and Chile and Australia. The project will run for four years and has an overall budget of approximately €9 million, or approximately NOK 72 million. NTNU initiated the project and is the project coordinator. The University of Bergen is the other Norwegian partner.

These are the partners:

NTNU- Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
UIB- University of Bergen, Norway
GEOMAR- Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, Germany
VITO- Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek N.V. (The Flemish Institute for Technological Research), Belgium
DEU- Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey
UGOT- University of Gothenburg, Sweden
GRIFFITH- Griffith University, Australia
UACH- Austral University of Chile, Chile
CNR- The National Research Council, Italy
CEFAS- The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK
TALCA- University of Talca, Chile

The importance of the project lies in the fact that climate change is posing serious risks for both natural systems and human beings. Plausible and feasible policy decisions and strategies to mitigate these risks are therefore urgently needed. To achieve this goal, predictive capacity with respect to the core natural processes and their interaction with stressors are required. However, there are important uncertainties and gaps in our knowledge about the large-scale natural processes that have a controlling role in climate change (and vice versa). Moreover, we also lack knowledge on feedbacks from the socio-economic system generated by human response to changes in the natural processes that result from the effects of climatic and nonclimatic stressors. These together are the main obstacles for increasing the predictive capacity and subsequently developing effective policy strategies.

The marine food web is at the centre of both the climate-related CO2 cycle and food production in the marine environment. It plays a key role in regulating the climate system and is highly sensitive to climate change and other stressors. The OCEAN-CERTAIN project will from 2013-2017 investigate the impact of climatic and non climatic stressors on the food web and the connected biological pump , and the important feedback mechanisms.

ocean certain feed back modelOCEAN-CERTAIN will identify and quantify multi-stressor impacts and feedbacks and how these alter the functionality and structure of the food web and efficiency of the biological pump in different bio-geographical regions. This will be done by utilizing existing ecosystem models employing existing data, in addition to mesocosm, lab-scale experiments and field study.

The resulting knowledge will then be used to assess socio-economic vulnerabilities and adaptive capacity by using indicators of food-web functions as responses to particular changes by way of stressor combinations. OCEAN-CERTAIN will then address socio-economic policy and management issues by using highly interactive participatory stakeholder workshops to create models of user group resilience and adaptability.

These will show how potential climate-driven physical, chemical and biological changes may affect relevant economic activities and human welfare and help to identify adaptation pathways. This information and knowledge will reduce of epistemic uncertainty and help policy makers chose among management options, which in turn will be treated as additional feedbacks to the food web. The stressors, key feedback mechanisms and indicators, form the basis for the design of an integrated Decision Support System (DSS).