SAIAB News » SAIAB Seminar Series 2019

SAIAB Seminar Series 2019

Date: Wednesday 15 May 2019

Time: 10.30am

Venue: Lecture Room, SAIAB, Somerset St

Speaker: Dr Eleonora Puccinelli, 

Postdoctoral Fellow, Oceanography Department, University of Cape Town

Title: Ocean ecosystem services in the age of the blue economy: the role of marine coastal biodiversity.

Abstract

Coastal ecosystems are among the most productive systems on Earth, providing a wide variety of services beneficial to humans. Shifts in climate, in synergy with anthropogenic disturbances, can however have profound effects on coastal systems. Increasing the stress on natural systems, either directly through pollution or indirectly through climate change, is likely to yield significant changes in marine biodiversity with repercussions for ecosystem functioning. Benthic filter feeders provide a potential service in coastal areas as they can improve water quality by reducing eutrophication of coastal waters. As such, they are even more important in areas of intense human activity. Along the South African coast, mussels are one of the most common and abundant filter feeders colonising the intertidal zone and they play a key role as bioengineers and habitat forming species. They are also a major food source to many people living near the coast. Here we seek to understand the role of mussels as providers of water purification services to coastal and adjacent systems in order to improve our knowledge of their role as an ecosystem service. Such information is essential for the development of appropriate strategies for coastal environmental management and conservation.