General course objectives
To give students an understanding of human impact on aquatic ecosystems, of how ecosystem management balances protection, societal benefits, economics and sustainable use, and how current legislation governs ecosystem management.
Since the industrial revolution human activities on land and at sea have had dramatic effects on natural aquatic ecosystems. Industrialisation, changes in land use and fisheries practices and climate change represent a considerable combined pressure on these systems. However, with increasing knowledge of how ecosystems function and their resilience to our activities, suitable management strategies can be developed and implemented to ensure a balanced and sensible utilisation of resources.
The overall aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the basics of aquatic ecosystem management. We will cover both freshwater and marine ecosystems and students will gain an understanding of current management strategies designed at minimising impact on the natural environment.
The following issues will be addressed:
- basic principles used to protect the aquatic nature, while ensuring optimal use of aquatic resources;
- anthropogenic impacts on aquatic ecosystems, including energy production and use, fisheries and aquaculture, pollution and transport;
- factors which affect the natural tolerance of these ecosystems to human activities;
- legislation and examples of concrete measures to protect and regulate the impact on the aquatic environment;
- rational management actions in light of national and European legislation.
A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:
- Summarise national and international laws on aquatic environment
- Describe the impact of human activities on natural aquatic environments
- Describe the current management tools that are being implemented to restore or protect aquatic ecosystems
- Explain the principles of sensible use of fish stocks and other aquatic living resources
- Account for problems and solutions related to the environmental impact of aquaculture production
- Assess the capacity of natural aquatic environments for production of living resources
- List key stakeholders in aquatic ecosystems management and describe their roles and interests
- Compare issues and strategies in ecosystem management between freshwater, coastal, and marine systems