MOANA: Marine climate change refugia for insular mesophotic ecosystems in the south pacific ocean


Mesophotic coral ecosystems are described as warm water light-dependent corals and associated communities that inhabit depths from 30 m to over 150 m in tropical and subtropical regions. These ecosystems have high ecological relevance as they can act as potential re-seeding areas for shallow ecosystems, harbor endemic and rare species, and provide suitable habitats to support the populations of many species of fishes and crustaceans.

MOANA will address the knowledge gaps in how these ecosystems respond to climate-related stressors in the remote South-Pacific oceanic islands and seamounts by providing maps of future refugia and vulnerable areas for a selection of ecologically and socio-economically relevant species. The innovative approach envisaged in MOANA, uses global high-resolution Earth System Model outputs, combined with Species Distribution Models and  will provide essential information to assist in the implementation of adaptation and mitigation policies in South Pacific areas through the potential creation of marine protection tools as Mobile Marine Protected Areas and/or Blue corridors.

Moreover, MOANA methodology and tools could be easily applied to assist other ecosystem preservation in similar areas, such as the Small Island Developing States (e.g., Caribbean Islands, North Pacific Islands), large-scale systems from the North Pacific (Marquise Islands- American Samoa - Hawaii - Japan), middle scale systems from the Atlantic basin (Azores, Madeira, Canarias) and even smaller scale systems from the Mediterranean (Baleares, Corse, Sicily, Cerdenya, Malta).Two leading Research Centers will be involved in the project, the Host Institution, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC, Spain), and the Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands, (ESMOI, Chile), a research center focused on biodiversity and local management of the southeast Pacific islands.

MOANA video: