This project arises from the need to study the anthropogenic effects on marine and coastal ecosystems through an interdisciplinary approach.

Organisms and ecosystems are changing in response to warming, acidification and deoxygenation of the oceans produced by accumulated CO2 emissions, determining a climate change (CC) scenario. The difficulty in distinguishing between signals coming from natural climate variability (e.g. El Niño Southern Oscillations: ENSO, Antarctic Circumpolar Current: AC, etc.), from those coming from anthropogenic impacts, makes the interpretation of these changes an elusive goal. Although the oceans moderate anthropogenic climate change, it has major impacts on their physics and chemistry, with important consequences for ecosystems and ecosystem services (i.e. food security and the livelihoods of millions of people), especially in coastal systems where fisheries resources and recreation are of vital importance for local and regional economic development. On the other hand, there is increasing evidence to suggest that interactions with other environmental factors, such as the degree of irradiation, nutrient availability, geographic location, and species composition in the community strongly modulate the biological effects of ocean warming, acidification, and hypoxia. Likewise, fisheries, considered as another direct human impact on ecosystems, can reduce the capacity of marine species and ecosystems to adapt to CO2-related impacts, since fishing can lead to habitat loss, pollution, disturbance, species introduction, reduction of species diversity, simplification of the food web, and therefore increase the sensitivity of ecosystems to climate change.

Based on the results of the joint work of this group, policy makers and resource managers will have information on which to base decisions affecting environmental protection, resource use and sustainable development policies. The main beneficiaries will be the coastal communities that are highly dependent on ocean resources, the scientific community and the general public, who are concerned about the conditions of ocean acidification and other stresses related to CC and its consequences for marine resources. The project will help to identify and implement adaptation and mitigation pathways designed to improve the adaptive capacity of coastal communities under a climate change scenario, in this sense it aims to work in an interdisciplinary manner with natural and social scientists, as well as professionals and policy makers in order to inform science-based decision-making.

The work proposal will be contributing with information to address the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 approved by the UN in 2015, based on the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly SDG 14.3 which calls for “minimizing and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels”. The establishment of Agenda 2030 and the subsequent signing of the Paris Accord, as an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that sets out measures for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions through mitigation, adaptation and ecosystem resilience to the effects of Global Warming, has prompted States to take definite and concrete action on Global Climate Change and ocean acidification in particular. The agreement aims to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty”. In this regard, we are working with global organizations to develop good practices in the formulation and development of indicators for SDG 14.

We are part of 3 international networks:

Red de Investigación Marino-Costera de América Latina y el Caribe, REMARCO
Red Latino Americana de Acidificación del Océano, LAOCA.
Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network, GOA- ON.

and nationally by the Buenos Aires Environmental Studies Network, REAB.

Our group in formation has a strong inter-institutional and interdisciplinary link working in cooperation with several institutions in Argentina and abroad:

Dr. María del Carmen Ríos de Molina, IQUIBICEN- University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dr. Sebastián Sabatini, IQUIBICEN- University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dr. Juliana Giménez, FCEyN, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Silvana Campodónico, Benthic Mollusk Fishery, National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP), Argentina.

Dr. Alejandro Bianchi, A.P. Osiroff and C. Kahl, Naval Hydrography Service (SHN), Argentina.

Dr. Omar Defeo, UNDECIMAR, Universidad de la República, Uruguay.

Dr. Jeremy Pittman, School of Planning, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Dr. Thomas Brey, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

Dr. Sam Dupont – University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Lines of research and problems to be addressed:

1-Multiple stressors effects related to Global Climate Change (Ocean Acidification, Deoxygenation, Warming) on marine invertebrates of commercial importance and/or community structuring

2-Analysis of life history parameters of estuarine and marine invertebrates and their relationship to natural climate variability (ENSO) and/or Global Climate Change and their response to different trophic and non-trophic interactions.

3-Sclerochronology in bivalves as a tool for the identification of climatic variations at the macro level

4-Assessment of bivalves of commercial interest (age and growth rates, mortality, reproductive strategies, population dynamics).

6-Ecophysiology of aquatic organisms and their relationship to Global Change.

7-Monitoring of Ocean Acidification (marine geochemistry) in coastal systems and its effects on ecosystems.

8-Assessment of marine and coastal ecosystem functions and services with a transdisciplinary approach (socioeconomic systems) in the face of a Global Climate Change. Assessing the consequences not only on the ecosystem but also on society, providing information to the different stakeholders involved in order to contribute to a sustainable management of the resource, providing additionally adaptation and mitigation tools to the CC in order to guarantee the socio-environmental well-being.

Current projects:

2017-2021 “Identification of ecological processes and fisheries management in coastal benthic systems under a climate change scenario: implications for bivalve populations and associated communities”. ANPCYT. PICT 2016-1445. Innovative 2020. (PI: B. Lomovasky)

2019-2021 “Small-scale Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Services: Adaptation and Transformation to Secure Human Wellbeing”. INTER-AMERICAN INSTITUTE FOR GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH (IAI), (SGP-HW 017). Participating countries: Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. (Co-PI: B. Lomovasky)

2019-2023 “Effect of Ocean Acidification on the patagonian scallop Zygochlamys patagonica: a commercial bivalve species from Southwest Atlantic” (Contract 23229), within the IAEA CRP global project (K41018): ‘Evaluating the Impact of Ocean Acidification on Seafood, a Global Approach’. INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA). Participating countries: Sweden, France, USA, Monaco, Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Turkey, Lebanon, Thailand, New Zealand. (PI: B. Lomovasky)

2020-2023 “Strengthening Capacities in Marine and Coastal Environments Using Nuclear and Isotopic Techniques” (Regional Project, RLA 7025). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA). Participating countries: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela (Argentinean counterpart: B. Lomovasky)

Dra. Betina J. Lomovasky
Department of Biology, FCEyN.
Category: Teaching incentive: 3
Independent researcher CONICET.
Lic. María Cielo Risoli
CONICET doctoral scholarship
Risoli, M. C., Baldoni, A., Giménez, J., & Lomovasky, B. J. (en prensa). Age and growth variability of the yellow clam (Mesodesma mactroides) in two populations from Argentina: implications under climate change. Canadian Journal of Zoology.