Azorean Biodiversity Group (cE3c) SCIENTIFIC STRATEGY

Azorean Biodiversity Group (GBA) strategy is in general the same of the Centre of Ecology Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c), i.e. is engaged in a concerted, transregional and transnational research effort addressing major threats to sustainability: i) loss of biodiversity with potential impact on ecosystem services, ii) climate and land-use changes, iii) biological invasions, and iv) lack of societal awareness and policy to effectively address these issues.

Oceanic islands have long been of special scientific interest for their mechanisms of formation and development, their means of biotic colonization, their development of uniquely evolved biotas and ecosystems, and, recently, the extensive loss of endemic species due to land-use changes, invasive species and environmental change. The Island Ecology & Environmental Risks (IEER) Thematic Line forms a unit both for its research expertise within the Ce3C’s, but also because of their geographic location, being situated on the Azores Islands, one of the outermost regions of Europe and part of the Macaronesian Islands. Within the Ce3C they investigate ecological and evolutionary processes on oceanic islands, contributing to the Centre’s vision and mission of understanding the response of biodiversity to global changes at multiple temporal and spatial scales. In addition, IEER’s interdisciplinary expertise enables also research in environmental risk assessment and pest control, and provides support for decision-making and outreach, and effective conservation planning strategies in island ecosystems.

The main strategic objectives are as follows, aiming to establish an internationally recognised Island Ecology Laboratory (see also

  1. Use the Azores as a model system to investigate ecological and evolutionary mechanisms responsible for shaping island biotas;
  2. Collect long-term ecological data to evaluate species distributions and abundance at multiple spatial and temporal scales;
  3. Identify pathways that influence oceanic indigenous assemblages under global change for conservation purposes;
  4. Improve and ensure the protection of island ecosystems and human health with multi-faceted research on environmental risks (natural and anthropogenic);
  5. Develop strategic approaches for risk communication and societal awareness of risks;
  6. Perform robust and cost-effective environmental characterization, assessment and management to assist decisions on island environmental policy.