Centro de Investigación: Dinámica de Ecosistemas marinos de Altas Latitudes (IDEAL)

Gonzalez, Humberto; Paschke, Kurt; Vargas, Luis; Cárdenas, Leyla; Guillemin, Marie-Laure


The creation of a new FONDAP Center dedicated to Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic oceanographic research is proposed: “Research Center: Dynamics of High Latitude Marine Ecosystems (IDEAL acronym in Spanish for Centro de Investigación: Dinámica de Ecosistemas marinos de Altas Latitudes). The proposed Center IDEAL is a multidisciplinary, synergetic and highly integrated research proposal that agglutinates different issues such as forefront scientific and social research, excellence in human resources formation, and solid commitments with relevant environmental, social, economic and policy issues for Chile. Participants in this initiative are: Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) as the sponsoring institution, associated with the Universidad de Concepción (UdeC) and the Center CEQUA in Punta Arenas, in collaboration with the Patagonian Ecosystem Research Center (CIEP) in Coyhaique and the Center for Advanced Studies in Arid Zones (CEAZA) in Coquimbo. The Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACh) will provide the logistic support. Our international partner is the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany, and other collaborators include scientists from world-renowned oceanographic institutions (e.g. Scripps-USA, KOPRI-Korea, NOAA-USA, SCAR, SOCCOM-USA, ICTA-UAB Spain). IDEAL’s scientific/operational headquarters will be located in Punta Arenas while the administrative branch will be in Valdivia. The creation of a Center of Excellence such as IDEAL represents a natural development of Chile’s ocean research needed to consolidate Antarctic and sub-Antarctic investigation and education to face new pressing demands of national and international significance. National partners will include most Patagonian research centers/universities and the newly financed Governmental Antarctic Center. Our final goal is to have IDEAL become a world-renowned center in high latitude marine ecosystem research, and to place Punta Arenas and Chile as one of the world leader cities and countries in Antarctic research. The IDEAL Development Plan identifies two strategic geographical areas: the Chilean Southern Patagonia (CSP) and the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). These constitute regions that face relevant threats due to their vulnerability under a scenario of exacerbated global warming and anthropogenic impact. Possible consequences are predicted to impact at a global scale, through continental ice melting and coastal floods, and at local scale such as the loss of Chile’s largest freshwater reserve in Patagonian Ice Fields. Other important consequences include strong impacts in regional and local climate regimes, unknown shifts in key species (including species of economical importance) and in turn, changes in ecosystems structure and functioning. All these concerns imply social, political and economic impacts across sub-Antarctic and Antarctic ecosystems. Within the two geographical areas, the Center IDEAL identifies four tightly interrelated topics that can only be addressed successfully with a broad and interdisciplinary approach: (1) Connectivity between Antarctic Peninsula and Chilean Southern Patagonia: The general belief is that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is an effective barrier for plankton and benthos, generating local adaptative responses in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic areas. On the other hand, the ACC is important for an understanding of global palaeoclimate and ocean circulation. (2) Modulation of the biological interactions triggered by environmental stress in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic systems. Key components in ecosystem functioning (i. e. biomass flux) are those whose intensity depend on highly variable environmental forcing in high latitude systems. (3) Global Change impacts at different levels from species (ecophysiology of key species from the benthos and plankton) up to marine communities (dynamics): Global change effects on marine ecosystems include various stressors, largely temperature, salinity (freshening), acidification and hypoxia; how the organisms react to these stressors and how their interactions would modulate the structure and function of these ecosystems are key questions. Whether species from narrow thermal variation would be more vulnerable to future global warming or whether the rapid regional warming of the AP during the last decades may enable new taxa to establish populations in Antarctica, needs to be addressed. (4) Human dimension of the socio-ecological marine and coastal systems. This addresses issues such as the links between the costal ecosystem, ecosystem services they provide (i. e. fisheries, aquaculture, biofuels, climate regulation, nutrient cycling, recreation opportunities, tourism, research and education, esthetic benefits, spiritual and cultural services), and the vulnerability and human well-being of local and distant populations. Five research programs (RPs) converge in addressing the main topics mentioned above from a multidisciplinary point of view, promoting an active interaction among teams and thus contributing significantly to the integration of results, and generating scientific information of excellence on the structure and dynamics of such complex marine environments with focus on the human dimension. The Research Programs proposed are: RP1) Marine Productivity in a changing ocean; RP2) Physiological capabilities of marine species: A comparative eco-physiological and genetics approach; RP3) Comparative structure and function of plankton; RP4) Comparative structure and function of benthos; and RP5) Coastal and marine socio-ecological systems, ecosystem services, and human well-being. All research programs are interconnected through a modeling and synthesis effort (centered in RP3 and RP4 with feedback from all RP’s), in charge of summarizing and performing analysis of large volumes of information at different levels, from individuals (i. e. growth, mortality) to community (i. e. predation, resource competition) and ecosystem (e. g. carbon flux). Our Center IDEAL will contribute to the Antarctic science program (called PROCIEN) whose final objective is to produce high-quality Chilean Antarctic science, worthy of international recognition. In terms of capacity building, IDEAL will make a significant contribution to the development of advanced human resources. Our strategy commits to the formation of undergraduate and graduate students as well as the inclusion of young postdoctorate scientists. In addition, we expect to increase the number of active students in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic research and to implement exchange programs with foreign universities and institutes. Several IDEAL researchers are full Professors in the PhD programs of the UACh (Doctoral degree in Marine Biology, Aquaculture and Ecology and Systematic) and the UdeC (Doctoral degree in Oceanography). These programs, together with several master degree and undergraduate careers, will be the platform in terms of advanced human training and education. The Universities included in the IDEAL have been the pioneers in the education of young Chilean and Latin-American oceanographers and marine biologists, as well as in the achievement of tight international collaborations. Finally, IDEAL will make a contribution under the precept of “science bonded to society”. We will aim at creating stable communication channels with different society groups, such as schools, public and private institutions from productive and governmental sectors, etc. to communicate our advances in Antarctic/Sub-Antarctic research. We believe in the reciprocal relationship between science and society; under this philosophy, our Outreach Program will be based on three strategic lines: (i) Effective scientific communication able to amaze and trigger interest and awareness; (ii) Knowledge transfer that includes an effective mechanism of feedback between IDEAL scientists and the public at large; and (iii) Environmental education of the different sectors of the society that begins with an opinion-forming process going up to generate understanding of the scientific and social issues of the AP and CSP.

Más información

Fecha de publicación: 2015
Programa: FONDAP
Año de Inicio/Término: 2015-2021
Financiamiento/Sponsor: CONICYT
Rol del Usuario: COINVESTIGADOR(A)

FONDAP 15150003