COASTFRAG – Open questions and approaches

The overall aim of COASTFRAG is to contribute with the knowledge base needed to safeguard the Blue Forests’ ecosystem services and ensure a long-term sustainable Blue Growth (as stated in the EU Blue Growth strategy and the Norwegian Government’s Updated Ocean Strategy). To do so, we will study how pressures, individually and together, impact seaweed communities across Europe. More specifically, COASTFRAG will perform fragmentation field studies in four European regions selected to cover different temperature and water quality regimes: the Norwegian Sea, the Baltic Sea (Estonia), the Scottish Atlantic Ocean (UK) and the Mediterranean Sea (Spain). Additionally, mesocosm experiments will be carried out in Norway. The findings will be communicated to a wider audience, including to support regional and habitat specific management strategies.

COASTFRAG will address four main research questions:

  • Q1. Fragmentation, global stressors and scale. How does habitat fragmentation impact seaweed communities under different climate regimes and at different spatial scales?
  • Q2. Fragmentation, environmental conditions and local human pressures. How does environmental conditions, local human pressures and habitat fragmentation interact to impact coastal seaweed communities and the potential for regime shifts?
  • Q3. Fragmentation and species interactions. How do different predatory and grazing pressures modify the effect that habitat fragmentation has on seaweed communities?
  • Q4. Predicting the future. What changes will we see in seaweed communities facing climate change?

The project is structured into 6 work packages (WPs). WP1 will be responsible for compilation of data and data management, coordination of Master and Postdoc activities and the sampling design. WP2-4 will be responsible for the fragmentation and clearing experiments and the analyses across Europe (to answer Q1-Q3). WP5 will perform modelling and climate change projections and predict the future of seaweed communities (to answer Q4). WP6 will extract the knowledge from all WPs and communicate this to a wider audience, including management strategies to decision makers and stakeholders.

Download the detailed description
of the COASTFRAG project here