Christine Gaebel

Christine will be attending the United Nations BBNJ IGC2 in New York between 24 March 2019 and 29 March 2019. She will be conducting interviews to inform the design of a Q-methodology study regarding area-based management in areas beyond national jurisdiction. If you would like to participate in this research, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Q-study will be launched in May 2019 and details for participants will be listed shortly.

Christine Gaebel

Research area: Area-Based Management Tools in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction


Understanding the Science-Policy Interface of ABNJ Governance: Achieving Evidence-Based Management of Area-Based Management Tools at Ocean Basin-Scale 

Research: How can evidence-based management be achieved at ocean basin-scale so area-based management tools can be effectively applied in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)?

Objectives: To understand how scientific evidence influences ABNJ governance and to identify stakeholder perceptions of this science-policy interface to ultimately offer guidance on how evidence-based management can be brought about using area-based management tools in ABNJ.

Methodology: Conclusions will be drawn from a two-part, cross-disciplinary methodology:

I. Policy analysis: A robust analysis of area-based management tools in ABNJ governance will be conducted, including by examining IUCN guidelines and sectoral area-based management tools to critically evaluate to what extent they are informed by current scientific research.

II. Stakeholder analysis: Using structured interviews, qualitative data will be collected at the IGC2 between 24 and 29 March 2019. These data will inform the design of a Q-methodology survey, which will be implemented through an online platform during May 2019 and targeted specifically at a variety of BBNJ expert/stakeholder groups (including inter alia,NGOs, academia/research, sectoral institutions, legislative and policy perspectives). A factor analysis will be conducted on the resulting data to produce composite Q-sorts from which areas of conflict and consensus within the discourse will be highlighted.

Output: Together, the policy and stakeholder analyses will produce recommendations on how evidence-based management can be achieved for ABNJ area-based management. Ultimately, this research will aid in ascertaining best-practice to ensure sustainable and long-term use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

ATLAS will provide the first coherent, integrated basin-scale assessment of Atlantic deep-water ecosystems and their Blue Growth potential.

To achieve this ambition, ATLAS will employ innovative methods and integrate data in new ways across Work Packages (WP). By unifying its research from physical oceanography (WP1) through ecosystem function (WP2), biodiversity (WP3) and connectivity (WP4), the ATLAS consortium sets out a uniquely data-led science plan as the foundation for its socioeconomic (WP5), spatial planning (WP6) and policy integration (WP7) activities. Multi-way dialogue with stakeholders (WP6 and WP9) will transfer ATLAS outputs into policy-making to create a new platform informing both Blue Growth and research agendas (WP7). ATLAS will disseminate knowledge and data through systemic EU and global data infrastructure (WP8), and complement this with pan-EU and international public dissemination and outreach (WP9).


The foundation of ATLAS is improving our understanding of ocean circulation in the Atlantic. Atlantic ocean currents not only connect deep-sea ecosystems, but move vast quantities of heat, salt, and energy across the Atlantic basin. As the Earth’s climate changes we need to understand how this affects the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and what implications this will have for ecosystem functioning, biodiversity, and genetic connectivity.

Understanding how ecosystems function and interact is a major goal of ATLAS. ATLAS is providing ground-breaking new predictive models to map Atlantic ecosystems, their species and how they function at management-relevant spatial scales. The models will also allow us to predict how these ecosystems will adapt in a future of rapidly changing climate, carbon flux and deep ocean resource exploitation.

ATLAS is studying the biodiversity and biogeographic patterns of sensitive deep-water ecosystems and species. Forecasting changes to these ecosystems and species under future climate change scenarios will strengthen the evidence base for unlocking sustainable Blue Growth opportunities along with the protection of the marine environment. ATLAS scientists are using a combination of techniques to study the biodiversity and biogeographic patterns of sensitive deep-water ecosystems and deep-sea fish in the North Atlantic and forecast changes under future scenarios of water mass structure and ocean currents. Where benthos and fish species data are quality assured separate basin-scale biogeographic syntheses will be conducted.

ATLAS is providing new models to identify critical source areas of marine genetic resources. Exploring how these resources are connected on regional and basin scale levels will help ATLAS understand their vulnerability to climate change and human activities. Adaptive ecosystem-based management needs new models to identify critical source areas of marine genetic resources, including those that could be exploited under Blue Growth. Policies also need to maintain basin and regional connectivity, and fully understand the vulnerability of genetic resources to N Atlantic circulation change and human activities.

Ecosystem service valuation is the practice of assigning an economic value to the benefits humans obtain from an ecosystem or its services. These values can help to justify and set priorities for programmes, policies, or actions involving these ecosystems and their services. Assessing the many ecosystem services the Atlantic area provides to society (supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural) allows ATLAS to establish firm foundations upon which Blue Growth and conservation scenarios can be evaluated and balanced.

With the increasing number of stakeholders and activities occurring on the high seas, managing and planning across such open spaces is more important than ever. Fully integrated spatial planning products on basin and regional scales allow stakeholders to explore, and respond to, various scenarios of ocean dynamics and cross-sectoral Blue Growth. The Monitoring and Evaluation of Spatially Managed Areas framework is being used to develop an adaptive Atlantic Marine Strategic Planning approach within ATLAS.

Managing cross-cutting issues in policymaking requires the integration of scientific evidence into effective policy. Translating ATLAS' scientific findings to policy and practice will ultimately inform national and international agreements regarding Blue Growth and systematic conservation planning. Such agreements spanning areas across and outside of national jurisdictions are key to sustaining and managing marine resources effectively and in an equitable manner.

Making environmental data from the ocean surface, water column to the seafloor fully available to stakeholders is a significant challenge, but overcoming this would improve business productivity, stimulate innovations and facilitate policy implementation including the Marine Knowledge 2020 strategy. The integration of different data formats spanning national to small local systems into a coherent portal, the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), tackles this challenge by making data and products available and downloadable for a given area.

Effective external communication, dissemination and optimal knowledge transfer of ATLAS must lead to the widest exploitation of its research outputs: these should include contributing to the Atlantic Action Plan initiatives on Ocean Literacy and further support development of the European Research Area and the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance.

Supporting all activities, WP10 provides overall co-ordination for ATLAS and manages project reporting through a dedicated ATLAS project management office. WP10 will convene the ATLAS project Steering Committee and Advisory Board. It will ensure ATLAS liaises with relevant tranatlantic initiatives during the course of the project and respond to requests from the EC/EASME to opportunities that enhance project dissemination and synergy in support of the Galway Statement.