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The Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN)---(continuation) - ME5305

Summary Objective

The MECN is a focal point for scientists wanting to integrate, compare and standardise their measurements at large spatial and temporal scales. MECN phase 3 looked at the issue of how datasets can be analysed to show changes over long-term time-scales (“MECN Long-term Datasets Analysis”; report to Defra, 2009; + Spencer et al. 2010, Marine Ecology). Phase 4 will take this work forward in the further development of novel approaches for analyses and in targeted workshops addressing the comparability of the datasets and monitoring methodologies.The MECN is unique in the breadth and type of sustained observations encompassed within the network. The long-term, spatially extensive nature of MECN time series (many are multi-decadal and the oldest are over 100 years old) is, therefore, crucial in allowing analysis to be undertaken to separate natural fluctuations from global (climate change), regional (e.g. eutrophication, fishing) and local (e.g. point source pollution, aggregate extraction) anthropogenic impacts. A specific question that has come in to focus as a result of CP2 is “how do we utilise information on trends to understand impacts and state”? This issue is of particular relevance to new assessments such as that required by the EU Marine Strategy Directive. The MECN will work with HBDSEG to develop the work needed to address these issues.

Key Customer Purpose

The aim of the MECN is to “ensure that information from the network is provided to policy makers and other end-users to enable them to produce more accurate assessments of ecosystem state and gain a clearer understanding of factors influencing change in marine ecosystems”. MECN science makes an overall contribution to the UK`s ability to provide assessments delivered via UKMMAS.The MECN also recognises the value of long-term data in answering questions relating to climate change (see POST, 2004: ‘long-term changes, such as those of climate change, can best be understood using long-term data sets, which can be costly and require long-term investment’). The MECN will, therefore, continue to be instrumental in coordinating the transfer of information from MECN researchers to MCCIP, UKMMAS and the wider EU community.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2013

Cost: £190,850
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Marine Biological Association of the UK