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Open Access Looking to the future: Searching for sustainable solutions for marine ecosystems

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Humans dominate the natural environment globally. Most activities that we perform, from food and waste production to modifying landscapes for our use, impact the environment. With populations growing globally, especially in coastal regions, these impacts already exceed the capacity of the natural environment. What is desperately needed are solutions to supporting the ever-increasing demand for resources in an environmentally sustainable way. The Marine Futures Laboratory at The Swire Institute of Marine Science, The University of Hong Kong, are developing ways to combat human impacts on marine ecosystems and instil more sustainable practices for utilising marine resources. They cover a diversity of species, from microbes to grazers and filter feeders, across a geographic range that spans from Australia to Japan. The team's focus includes investigating the effects of climate change, particularly the impact of ocean warming and acidification and how this will affect key species and their associated ecosystems. They are working to restore degraded ecosystems in a manner that is beneficial to both the environment and human activities. A logical extension to this research is increasing the sustainability of the aquaculture industry, through integration across trophic levels, to ensure a reliable protein supply for current and future populations. When combined, this research is redefining the relationship between human populations and the marine resources on which they depend.
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Keywords: CLIMATE CHANGE; MARINE ECOSYSTEMS; OCEAN CONSERVATION; SUSTAINABLE AQUACULTURE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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