Some people may say that this planet belongs to the oceans. It is true to some extent, as oceans cover more than 70% of the global surface, and 40% of the world’s population live in coastal areas. Many aspects of our lives interact closely with the oceans: sea-foods provide important nutrition, a mild climate is moderated by oceans, a coastal town can be a perfect holiday destination, coral reefs and mangrove forest provide protection from storms, to just name a few examples.
All these examples have in common that they are ecosystem services. These are services that nature provides us humans with and can be distinguished into provisioning, regulating and cultural services, respectively. We are enjoying so many of the marine ecosystem’s services without realizing it!
Nowadays, anthropogenic interventions in marine ecosystems is more frequent than ever, and the number and intensity of stressors the marine ecosystems are confronted with keep rising.
Still, in a Life cycle assessment(LCA) context, we know little about the impacts that humans have on marine ecosystem services. My PhD project is part of the ATLANTIS project. I am to develop models to estimate the impact of marine invasive species and marine plastic debris on ecosystem services within the Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) framework and test them in case studies, whose results hopefully can give insight into marine ecosystem protection.
We care for the oceans, and wish our future generations still have the opportunity to enjoy a seafood dinner on the beach, in the breeze.