“Mission Atlantic” launched to map and assess sustainable development of the Atlantic Ocean
International ocean experts from Europe, Brazil, South Africa, Canada and the USA have joined forces to map and assess the current and future risks from climate change, natural hazards and human activities to Atlantic ecosystems.
Press release: 30 September 2020
Funded by a €11.5M grant from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, MISSION ATLANTIC will be the first initiative to develop and systematically apply Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) at Atlantic basin scale.
This unique IEA approach engages scientists, marine stakeholders, and resource managers, integrating all components of the ecosystem, including human activity, into the decision-making process. In this way, managers and policy makers informed by science, can balance the need for environmental protection with secure, sustainable development, thereby ensuring a positive future for the Atlantic Ocean and its peoples.
Using high-resolution ocean models, artificial neural networks, risk assessment methods and advanced statistical approaches, MISSION ATLANTIC will accurately assess pressures imposed on Atlantic marine ecosystems, identifying the parts most at risk from natural hazards and the consequences of human activities.
The team will combine existing data from global ocean monitoring programmes with new observations collected using advanced marine robots and acoustic sensors. A truly multidisciplinary approach, these tools will be used to explore plankton and fish distribution in unknown waters, including sub-Arctic and Tropical regions in the Atlantic Ocean.
Maritime Robotics' contribution, as a leading provider of innovative unmanned solutions for maritime operations and data acquisition, will be piloting a Wave Glider mission that will follow the Mid-Atlantic Ridge from the Azores to Ascension Island.
In addition to expanding scientific knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean, MISSION ATLANTIC will focus on improving education and professional development opportunities in countries bordering the North, South and Tropical Atlantic Ocean. Regional stakeholder platforms will act as “science to governance” interfaces in these areas, enabling local communities to engage with their representatives and stimulate effective policies.
Through co-creation of management recommendations, MISSION ATLANTIC, will contribute to the commitments outlined in the Belém Statement on Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Cooperation between the European Union, Brazil and South Africa, and as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science (2021-2030), supporting society in achieving a sustainable ocean.
MISSION ATLANTIC (“Towards the Sustainable Development of the Atlantic Ocean: Mapping and Assessing the present and future status of Atlantic marine ecosystems under the influence of climate change and exploitation”) is a research and innovation action funded under the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, grant No. 862428.