Present and future of aquatic sciences: The perspective of AIOL scientific community for a priority roadmap over the next five years
Water issues represent an increasing societal challenge, since the 70% of Planet Earth is covered by water. The intensive use of the hydrosphere is changing the structure and functions of aquatic ecosystems and their ability to produce goods and services that are useful to humans. It is therefore necessary that the scientific community makes citizens aware of the results of scientific research on these issues and informs them about the need to intensify the study of the mechanisms that underlie the ongoing changes in aquatic ecosystems. To help meet this need, within the 23rd Congress of the Italian Association of Oceanology and Limnology (AIOL; http://www.aiol.info/), entitled "Functioning, alteration and recovery of aquatic ecosystems: the aquatic sciences to understand global change and to make the citizens aware of it" (Cagliari, Italy, 26-29 September 2017), all participants, among which some renown experts in the field of aquatic sciences, were invited to give their contribution, via a shared and bottom-up built questionnaire, in assessing a set of actions needed to achieve an adaptive and proactive management of changes that the aquatic sciences are going to face in the next five years. The results of this survey allowed us to identify a set of priorities that funding agencies should include in their economic and financial planning in the next future. Among all, we pinpoint that there is an urgent need in: (i) promoting sustainable food production by exploiting aquatic systems; (ii) diffusing an opportune spatial planning integrating ecosystem-based management approaches; (iii) developing recovery/remediation plans for contaminated sites; iv) promoting conservation of ecosystems by assessing their conservation status, first of all the water/ecosystem quality; (v) fostering the technological development of sustainable and integrated tools and procedures for environmental monitoring; (vi) developing a better forecasting capacity, particularly of extreme events, by implementing long-term research networks; and, ultimately, (vii) supporting a wider society learning processes and a more effective transfer of knowledge from science to society.
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Copyright (c) 2018 Francesca Alvisi, Domenico D'Alelio
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