Most of the world’s population lives within 100km of the ocean, and nearly 75% of all large cities are located on the coast. However, for centuries, this human dependence on ocean and coastal ecosystems has resulted in the gradual modification of these ecosystems through direct and indirect pressures. In particular, island ecosystems are often biodiversity hotspots that are acutely sensitive to disturbances and are experiencing rapid increases in tourism and other key anthropogenic pressures including biological invasions, marine debris, coastal development, marine pollution, and climate change, all of which have diverse and significant consequences on biodiversity.
MARE-Madeira is focused on documenting the interactions among multiple anthropogenic pressures and their impacts on oceanic island coastal ecosystems, using Madeira and Macaronesia as a model system. For this purpose, MARE-Madeira researchers are examining historical data, conducting field experiments and mesocosm trials, implementing long-term monitoring, and engaging with citizens and stakeholders.