Project: EAStern Tropical Pacific reef fish on the MOve: biodiversity reorganisation and societal consequences (EASMO)

Acronym EASMO (Reference Number: BiodivClim-452)
Duration 01/04/2021 - 31/03/2024
Project Topic Species are “on the move” throughout the planet escaping hostile climatic conditions. These movements have advanced four times faster in the ocean than on land, causing dramatic ecosystem-level changes and redistributing fishery resources across borders. The ecological, food security, and governance implications are obvious. Yet, two persistent gaps hinder our capacity to effectively manage coastal social-ecological systems to safeguard both fisheries and human wellbeing in the face of such challenges: i) studies documenting recent species redistributions regionally have not quantified the societal repercussions together with changes in multiple biodiversity facets, ecosystem services, and climate feedbacks, and ii) future projections have mapped expected catches and metrics of socio-economic impact (e.g. fisheries revenue) globally and using coarse resolutions, unfitting to support local or regional decision-making. Fish redistributions are particularly concerning, as three billion people depend on them for 15% of their animal protein intake and essential nutrients to tackle malnutrition. Although fish range shifts should therefore be urgently investigated in countries of the Global South, studies have focused disproportionately on wealthy parts of the world. EASMO will close all these gaps by investigating for the first time the impact of climate change on the distribution of reef fish throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) while considering cascading effects on biodiversity, ecosystem function, reef’s contributions to people, climate feedbacks, and socio-economic wellbeing. Our outputs will guide local and regional policy makers in applying adaptive transboundary governance approaches thus propelling actions for meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 Zero hunger, 13 Climate action, and 14 Life below water. EASMO brings together six disciplines, 12 countries, and 14 institutions, including collaborating stakeholder representatives. Connected to an efficient project management engine and a sound science-to-policy transfer strategy, EASMO will produce i) recent and future (1996-2055) climate information at high spatio-temporal resolution integrating interannual-to-long-term atmospheric-oceanic variability, ii) an unprecedented compilation of ETP fish biodiversity data and state-of-the-art species distribution models that predict future assemblages and key characteristics of potential reef catches (e.g. nutritional value, revenue), iii) a quantitative assessment of societal responses differentiated by social, economic and demographic characteristics, and iv) a clear pathway for making governance arrangements more flexible and adaptive to climate-driven redistributions, carved by an exceptional constellation of legal expertise. EASMO is profoundly policy-oriented and will be key in illuminating future reefs that can support healthy reefs, abundant and nutritious fisheries, and prosperous social-ecological systems in the ETP.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
EASMO will investigate for the first time the impact of climate change on the distribution of reef fish throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP) considering cascading effects on biodiversity, ecosystem function, reefs’ contributions to people, climate feedbacks, and socio-economic wellbeing. Ultimately, it will deliver several layers of new scientific knowledge that can be directly integrated into decision-making tools, support adaptive transboundary governance approaches, and propel actions for meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 Zero hunger, 13 Climate action, and 14 Life below water.
Website visit project website
Network BiodivERsA3
Call 2019-2020 Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research Coordinator Germany
2 University of Hawaii at Manoa Observer United States of America
3 Norwegian Research Centre Partner Norway
4 MarViva Foundation Observer Costa Rica
5 Fundacion ECOMARES and Universidad del Valle Observer Colombia
6 Universidade Nova de Lisboa Partner Portugal
7 Stockholm University Partner Sweden
8 University of Tasmania Observer Australia
9 University of New South Wales Sydney Observer Australia
10 Lancaster University Observer United Kingdom