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Expert assessment of risks to ecosystem services from diverse human drivers in the Atlantic deep sea

Armstrong, Claire W.; Foley, Naomi; Needham, Katherine; Ressurreição, Adriana; Vondolia, Godwin K.

ATLAS work package 5 presentation at ATLAS 3rd General Assembly

In order to assess risks of human drivers in the ocean to ecosystem services supplied by the Atlantic deep sea, we carried out an expert risk assessment amongst the ATLAS project members, using a Delphi approach with two rounds. Central human drivers and ecosystem services were elicited, vetted and developed into a survey. The survey was presented at the ATLAS project general assembly in Mallorca in 2017, where the scientists were given an introduction to the concepts of ecosystem services. They were asked to assess the effects and likelihood of human drivers on ecosystem services provided by Atlantic waters. A total of 30 responses were received, analysed, organized and then presented in a new survey which was developed in SurveyMonkey, and distributed to the project members. In this way the experts could in the second round assess the judgement of their peers, and decide whether to adjust their responses. From the second round, a total of 20 responses were received, identifying human drivers posing the most risk to ecosystem services to be pollution, temperature change, ocean acidification, fisheries and cumulative effects. The services most impacted are the provisioning services of fish and shellfish, biodiversity, both as supporting and cultural services, as well as, as the supporting service of habitats. Tourism and blue biotechnology were not seen to provide serious risk to any ecosystem services, as was the case for oil/gas and mining, though the former two provided greater positive effects in relation to ecosystem services than the latter two.

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