Island ecosystems: a coastal protection tool
Climate action is the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13th and the core of the Fourth International Seminar organized by The Center for the Sustainable Development Goals for Latin America and the Caribbean (CODS for its acronym in spanish) from Universidad de los Andes and The University of West Indies. During the 4th and 5th of March of 2020, the Corporation Center of Excellence in Marine Sciences attended the event with participation of Andres Osorio executive director of corporation, and Guillermo Jimenez, Gordon Wilmsmeier professors at Universidad de los Andes. The purpose of seminar was to enhance the networks between the Latin American researchers working on sustainable development issues, and to share and deepen knowledge regarding renewable energies, climate services, adaptation and resilience.
Currently, one of the main challenges in coastal research is to understand the benefits or services that island ecosystems provide such as beaches, seagrasses, mangrove forests and coral reefs. It turns out that coastal ecosystems are not only important for economic activities, but they work also as barriers against extreme ocean events which in turn, represent a protection tool for coastal infrastructure and communities. However, in recent decades, they have been subject to strong natural and anthropogenic pressures, as well as to climate change (Osorio Cano et al., 2019). To face the social and ecological challenges including the new trends in extreme oceanic events over a region, it is necessary to understand the association between physical processes (threats) and ecosystem responses (vulnerability) (Bernal et al., 2016). Currently, in the Colombian Caribbean Sea, case studies have been developed to quantify specific ecosystem services associated to wave-transformation processes and energy dissipation under normal and extreme coastal events. They include a multidisciplinary approach aiming to combine results from hydrodynamic studies (variables directly measured and numerically modelled) with biological factors.
To contribute in this multidisciplinary approach, the CEMarin Corporation, with its 98 researchers and the institutional capacities of each of the universities that comprise it, and which are highly recognized in marine sciences in Colombia, it becomes an ideal institution to contribute and fulfill with the purpose not only of the SDG “action for the climate” but also with others concerning “zero hunger”, “affordable and clean energy” “industry, innovation and infrastructure”, “life below water”, and “life on land”.