Increasing pressure on nature due to anthropogenic drivers is leading to a reduction of global biodiversity and its associated benefits at the planetary scale. In coastal environments, the most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss are: fishing, land and sea use, climate change and pollution. These drivers have accelerated in the last 50 years (IPBES, 2019) and they are predicted to continue (Leclère et al, 2020), despite international efforts in the last decades (Convention on BioDiversity, CBD, Aichi targets).
In order to guide further action, it is therefore urgent and important to develop “fit-for-purpose” observation tools. These observations should be capable of assessing and monitoring how the community structure and function of coastal ecosystems will respond to the anthropogenic and natural drivers in a changing climate. This overarching topic translates into high priority research questions such as (Muller-Karger et al., 2018):
- How will biodiversity change with land and sea uses and pollution compounded with climate change?
- How will these changes affect the ecology and biogeochemistry of coastal habitats?
- What are the relationships between the biodiversity and coastal ecosystem function and services?
- Which regions are hot spots of resilience or sensitivity to the aforementioned drivers?