REPICORE - Resilience of South Pacific coral reef social-ecological systems in times of global change

The Pacific Islands are a region where societies are closely linked to the coral reef ecosystems surrounding them. At the same time, the region’s reefs are strongly threatened by global environmental and socio-economic changes. The close social-ecological connectedness in the area potentially reinforces these threats and results in a situation where environmental change can have particularly severe consequences for local societies. Yet, research into the resilience of these linked social-ecological reef systems in the face of global changes is in its infancy.

Project Objectives
REPICORE uses a decidedly interdisciplinary approach for a research project that includes collaboration with international experts and partners from the region. It combines social and natural sciences in the conception and implementation of the project to achieve a more holistic understanding of coupled social-ecological systems. It examines marine resource use and coastal livelihoods across three Melanesian countries in conjunction with field assessments of reef fish and benthic communities. This is combined with an analysis of one of the largest sets of reef fish community and associated socio-economic data assembled to date. The overall aim is an improved understanding of social-ecological feedbacks that erode or strengthen resilience. The project constitutes the first assessment of this kind and scale for the region. It will thus provide important and much-needed information and use it to develop strategies to strengthen the resilience and sustainable use of Pacific Island coral reef systems. The project provides excellent conditions for the qualification of young researchers and their integration into international scientific networks.It brings together leading international experts on social-ecological resilience assessment, links up with institutions within the Pacific Islands, and thus forms a strong basis for strengthened international scientific collaboration that will continue beyond the duration of the project. While the Pacific Island region and its societies are likely to bear the brunt of global change, it still does not receive the necessary scientific attention to adequately understand and address the social-ecological consequences of global change. REPICORE constitutes a timely and response-oriented research project to significantly advance the understanding of one of the most urgent, but least understood issues related to global change.

Project Management
Dr. Sebastian Ferse
Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) GmbH
Fahrenheitstr. 6
28359 Bremen
Tel: +49 421 23800-28
Fax: +49 421 23800-21


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