“The objective of this post-doc is to develop an integrated EBM and conservation framework for Macaronesia (namely Azores, Madeira, Canaries), with a focus on their shallow habitats (down to the island break), that contributes to optimising MPA planning, monitoring, and management, provides guidance material and informs policy-making.
Macaronesian archipelagos are confronted with unique challenges deriving from their specific geographic, ecological and socio-economic characteristics. Although they differ significantly from continental Europe, characteristics and challenges are comparable within Macaronesia. Thus, this research will define strategies for a common, yet tailored multi-objective (i.e. biodiversity conservation, fisheries sustainability, eco-tourism, conflict reduction) approach to marine spatial management. Generated knowledge will help reducing potential user conflict and creating synergies between different activities and entities. Specific objectives are to1) deliver a clear understanding of the ecology and habitat use of target species, 2) identify suitable biodiversity indicators and surrogates, 3) identify hotspots for conservation efforts, 4) assess MPA performance, 5) produce management scenarios from an island to regional scales, and 7) identify and understand impacts on marine communities and opportunities for multiple use of space.
The resulting framework aims to better inform decision-making processes and guide the development of ecosystem-based marine spatial planning. Ultimately, the aim is to deliver strategies that i) improve knowledge and understanding of how ecological and social information can influence and be integrated in spatial management, ii) support and improve success of marine conservation networks by delivering strategies and decision-support for appropriate management, iii) support education and involvement of stakeholders in planning process, iv) promote the sustainable use of marine resources in Macaronesia, while simultaneously conserving biodiversity, and v) promote blue growth. Findings are relevant for Macaronesia but used methodologies and generated outcomes are generally applicable to MPA management worldwide.
Findings will be presented to the scientific community and to regional stakeholders to facilitate their understanding of marine conservation (e.g. how and why management practices are being adapted). In addition, present initiatives from the Azorean Government to rezone the MPA network profit directly from outcomes of the post doc project. This post-doc offers the unique opportunity to accompany and study this process, and associated ecological and social changes. The proposed project is directly linked to the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. As such, it will provide essential guidance to achieve EU MSFD (e.g. by supporting the establishment of environmental targets and associated indicators to achieve GES by 2020) and CBD objectives.”