Although it is clear that both
human and climate variation have the capability of affecting natural systems,
we are currently facing the pressing uncertainty on what the responses of
specific ecosystems will be, given the imminent increase in pressure by humans
and climate variations and how we can timely identify and assess them. To
deal with this difficult task, modern ecology, approaches, tools, and more
diverse disciplines have been incorporated in the last decades. From the
retrospective analysis of the research schedule of the last three years as a work
group, two important questions arose:
- Up to what extent are we
capable of measuring biodiversity in marine ecosystems?
- To what extent can we
predict the role biodiversity plays in the good working order and vulnerability
of the coastal ecosystems in Northwest Mexico?
From these questions, the proposal for a project
integrating biodiversity and vulnerability in coastal marine ecosystems emerged
to allow integrating efforts and optimizing resources and academic accomplishments
of a multidisciplinary group (seven researchers, two young researchers, seven
technicians, ten graduate students, and four bachelor students) dealing with an
innovative topic at international level, particularly for marine ecosystems.
We consider that having
five ecosystems (mangrove, submarine mountain, coral reef, exposed rocky
system, and coastal lagoon) generally subjected to low exploitation by humans
(compared to totally modified regions), under similar environmental variability
levels (due to their proximity), and for which there is a good number of
previous ecological records, grant us a privileged experimental opportunity. We
are convinced that we can provide important elements for such a difficult topic.