Identifying robust indicators of ocean status and locating their tipping points relative to marine ecosystem functioning are important in predicting or early detection of changes in ecosystem states, and in evaluating ecosystem resilience etc. Such knowledge and analytical tools can be very valuable in ocean management in general, and in placing management of single sectors, such as fishing, into an ecosystem-based approach. Developing and testing robust approaches for locating positive feedback loops and tipping points poses hard scientific questions but is essential to address existing gaps in the ocean science-policy interface.

Coral Reefs sustaining biodiversity in the face of climate change and human impacts

Aldo Croquer (Venezuela)
Invited speaker: Thomas Goreau (Jamaica)

The Coral Reefs are biomes of extreme marine biodiversity. While the primary initiative is to preserve and protect the extensive coral reefs, these regions are also home to over 200 million people, many of them in small island developing states whose population relies on the ocean for their food and income. To better conserve and manage coral reefs we invite papers and discussion of the physical processes, ecosystem structure and the vulnerability to biochemical changes such as ocean acidification and temperature increases on the coral reef communities.

Response of marine biota to human pressures and climate change; its implications for social-ecological systems

Katja Fennel (Canada)
Joaquim Garrabou (Spain)
Invited speaker: Emma Cebrian (Spain) 

Accelerating climate change and expanding human uses exert tremendous pressures on coastal ecosystems. At the same time coastal oceans are of most direct relevance for and, arguably, most vulnerable to human activities. Examples of coastal ocean responses include eutrophication and occurrence of hypoxia, the collapse of fish stocks and increasing risks of inundation and extreme events. The objective of this Session is to explore the latest understanding of the likely effects of climate change on the marine biota of the world’s oceans at the regional, national and global scales, and the likely impact this will have on ecosystems goods and services, and consequently on social-ecological systems. We focus particularly on issues that are of economic, nutritive or cultural importance to humans. We invite presentations that provide insight into the various dimensions of this issue.

Recovery and sustainability of Large Marine Ecosystems around the world

Kenneth Sherman (USA)
Robin Mahon (Barbados)
Invited speaker: David Vousden (South Africa) 

The Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) concept provides a compelling framework for understanding regional threats, status and trends in oceans. The integrity of the 64 World’s LMEs and the livelihoods of billions of people that depend upon them are under threat not only from climate change, but also from overfishing, toxic pollution, nutrient over-enrichment, invasive species, habitat degradation, and biodiversity loss. The large majority of these LMEs are shared by two or more countries, underscoring the need for regional cooperation to advance sustainable LME management. We invite presentations which address cross-sectoral, multi-scale management, and trans-boundary governance processes to meet the ecosystem and sustainable development objectives of LMEs.

Pollution from Land based activities: towards smart cities and healthy oceans

Luiz Drude Lacerda (Brazil)
Sumei Liu (China)
Invited speaker: William Dennison (USA) 

Half of the world’s population lives in cities beside the ocean and over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Coastal cities and populations, together with global agricultural production and energy consumption, have grown faster than our understanding and management of their potential impacts. Recent data on pollutants and new guidance to countries on how to monitor land-based activities affecting the marine environment at the national, regional and global levels are needed. The concept of Smart Cities is helping urban areas to improve water quality by cutting pollution and waste, optimizing the consumption of resource and minimizing the emission of pollutants. This session will combine recent results on coastal pollutants with a social science approach towards the prevention and control of marine degradation caused by land-based activities.

Operationalizing Ecosystem-based Management: the challenges of translating scientific knowledge into decision tools for integrated management

Yvonne Walter (Sweden)
Ana Teresa Caetano (Portugal)
Invited speaker: Rafael Sardà (Spain) 

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been widely discussed in the 21st century, yet few jurisdictions have implemented a fully-fledged EBM. The objective of this session is to explore the challenges and obstacles to implementing EBM, such as limited resources, limited data, integrated management, the need for interdisciplinary approaches, translating science advice into management, cumulative effects and governance structure.