The current PhD project focuses on the effects induced by the recent ecological and related socioeconomic changes taking place in Arctic ecosystems and particularly in the Arctic marine environment.
The focal point is on the stewardship of arctic marine resources threatened by marine invasive species as a result of the many economic and ecological changes developing in the region.
Invasive species and their interactions with the economy have so far concerned the scientific community mostly regarding warmer environments, where ecological and economic costs have already become expensive. However, the rising temperatures together with other ecological disturbances experienced during the last decades, and anticipated to continue or accelerate in coming years, are expected to substantially assist in the expansion of non-indigenous species northward.
Of major concern is that the thawing Arctic waters will encourage increased shipping activity as well as give space for other potentially disruptive activities, related principally to resource exploitation, to bloom. Hence, along with the growing human activity and the worldwide climate change effects, there arises a severe risk for future invasions and their ecological and economic consequences in relatively pristine Arctic waters.
One crucial problem is the lack of knowledge about the potential invasions, and yet the need to act on little information. A second major concern is that the institutional structures in place for combating invasive species have many gaps.
Invasive species are generally externalities to trade and economic development, and as such require regulatory intervention, frequently across political boundaries that require incentive-compatible cooperation. Such cooperation may be particularly difficult in light of imperfect information about the net benefits of prevention of invasive species that are also unequally distributed according to bio-economic conditions.
For more information on the PhD project, please contact PhD student Melina Kourantidou, email@example.com