The general objective of Research Priority 3 has two sides :
- To improve our knowledge in marine sciences to be able to assess and predict the evolution of coastal systems;
- To integrate environmental and social sciences to develop tools that help decision making in a systematic way.
In order to reach these general objectives, specific objectives have been set, an incoming mobility scheme and several workshops and training seminars have been organised.
The work of Carey Gelpi at Ifremer is part of a larger project begun at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2005 assessing the benthic habitat of Ship Shoal and expanded in 2007 to include the much larger area containing two other shoals, Tiger Shoal and Trinity Shoal. The shoals are potential sources of sand to be used for barrier island restoration and various other coastal remediation projects in Louisiana. Three cruises were organised each year over 2005-07 representing the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Work accomplished on the cruises included daytime boxcoring and measurement of environmental parameters and night time trawl sampling at multiple sites on the shoals and the surrounding off shoal areas
This workshop dealt with issues related to ecological services addressed from 3 angles:
- Natural sciences
- Social sciences
- Public policies
Science-policy integration, integrated and participatory assessments, simulation models and model coupling platforms, foresight and scenario are keywords common to all the work done in the area of system modelling applied to sustainability issues in the Coastal Zones. Interdisciplinary work across natural and social sciences to model and simulate the complex interactions between bio-geophysical dynamics and socio-economic processes as well as the integration of processes from catchment to coast are major challenges.
The Integrated Project SPICOSA (Science and Policy Integration for Coastal System Assessment) has been coordinated administratively by IFREMER and scientifically by UBO. It was a 6FP programme involving 54 partners that terminated in February 2011. SPICOSA has developed and tested the System Approach Framework (SAF), a methodology applying system thinking to produce integrated assessment of environmental management issues in the coastal zone. UBO and IFREMER teams involved have decided to develop a SAF training school in Brest. A two sessions (introduction and advanced) format has been developed, each session being open to 4-5 multidisplinary teams of 3-4 persons. Europole Mer supports the development of this training module. The first session has been open in November 2011 where 16 participants have joined the training for a week. The advanced session for the same group will take place in Brest in spring 2013. In parallel, an Erasmus Mundus Master Course project has been submitted in collaboration with Plymouth University, Highlands and Islands University and Algarve University to offer initial training in the same area (MASYMA, Marine System Management). And a SPICOSA-SAF website for collaborative work is under development.