15 December 2020
By Dr Ana Queirós, Plymouth Marine Laboratory. 

Project 11 aims to inform the co-development of climate-smart strategies for the spatial management of human activities in the case-study regions of Blue Communities, though the spatial meta-analysis of climate modelling data.

Despite the pandemic and the renewed challenges of analysing very large modelling datasets from home, we have been fortunate enough to be able to continue working throughout and to be able to continue to engage with our colleagues in the case-study regions and in the UK. Luckily for us, this strand of Blue Communities did not stop. We have made great progress in the delivery of the Project 11 analyses, which takes as input products from several other parts of the programme.

Project 11 workflow
The first preliminary results are starting to emerge. For instance, we have been working with our colleagues in the Western Philippines University, applying Project 11 methodologies, to analyse the ERSEM model projections to identify how best to protect coral habitats at the heart of marine protected areas in Palawan in future ocean conditions. Project 11 analyses of ERSEM modelling projections (P10) around Palawan – co-developed by Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Western Philippines. Green (negative M) indicates areas where the ecosystem habitat characteristics that drive coral distribution exhibit climate-driven trends in 2060-2069, relative to the present decade (2011-2020) under the higher emissions scenario RCP8.5. Light blue are coral distributions (P7). Purple are marine protected areas. Black dots indicate areas where changes are most extreme, affecting most waters surrounding Palawan, except the SE coast.Project 11 has several strands across the programme, and similar assessments are being carried out for Tun Mustapha Park with our colleagues at the University of Malaya, and with our colleagues at the Cu-Lao Cham UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve (Vietnam).

Since 2018, we have worked with our colleagues in the case-study regions to promote techniques to analyse climate modelling data for the marine environment and co-developed our strategies for engagement in their networks of impact. Other activities have included the inclusion of our Vietnam partner Prof Hoang Tri in a  proposal for a Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research working group; the invitation of Dr Amy Then from Malaysia to join activities related to transboundary marine spatial planning issues in the Working Group on Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (workshop planned for early 2021);  added value research being delivered by Plymouth Marine Laboratory & University of Exeter student, Catherine Lee Hing, who is analysing the global distribution of microplastics alongside climate change to inform the development of more effective blue whale conservation; working with colleagues in Project 12 to best understand how psychology methods can be used in the analysis of ocean climate change, to name a few.

So I am happy to report that we have made great strides in Project 11, not the least since our Post Doctoral researcher, Dr Liz Talbot, joined the team in late 2019. Liz and I are very much looking forward to continued collaborations across the programme.

Dr Ana Queirós and her son Luca.As a truly human research project, the first delivery was actually the birth of my son Luca during the first year of Blue Communities. It was so nice to receive so much empathy and best wishes from colleagues in our network; so much understanding about the new challenges brought about by a full-time research career and being the parent of a young baby. It turns out that these challenges are also global. It has been great to work with all the Blue Communities team members and we are looking forward to a very productive 2021.

To return to Blue Communities News December 2020, please click here.
  • Project 11 training on spatial meta-analysis of climate modelling projections using Jupyter Notebooks. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, August 2019.
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