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Global learning for local solutions: Reducing vulnerability of marine-dependent coastal communities

The project ‘Global learning for local solutions: Reducing vulnerability of marine-dependent coastal communities’ or GULLS, is an international project within the Belmont Forum and G8 Research Councils Initiative on Multilateral Research Funding*. Participants include teams from nine countries: Australia, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The project began in 2013 and ran until 2018, although publications are still being completed.

The project goal is to encourage and assist coastal communities to adapt to climate change and climate variability through a comparative and trans-disciplinary whole-system approach to the characterization, assessment and prediction of the future of coastal-marine resources. It will identify adaptation options and strategies for enhancing coastal resilience at the local level and in doing so will contribute to capacity building and local empowerment. The trade-offs implicit in the need to address food security and conservation goals simultaneously are being assessed. The focus is on regional ‘hotspots’ of climate and social change, defined as fast-warming marine areas and areas experiencing social tensions as a result of change. These areas require most urgent attention and can also be seen as providing natural laboratories for observing change and developing adaptation options and management strategies that can also be applied to other regions. The five marine and coastal hotspot areas selected for study are in the Southern Hemisphere and include south-east Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa (Southern Benguela), and the Mozambique Channel (Western Indian Ocean) and adjacent countries of Mozambique and Madagascar. 

Each of the five coastal marine hotspots is being characterised by identifying primary drivers of change, the associated risks and the current status of adaptation. The similarities and differences between them and the implications of these for global efforts to facilitate adaptation and strengthen resilience in marine and coastal social-ecological systems are being assessed.  A standardized vulnerability assessment framework will be developed based on an array of system models and will be used to assist in understanding the complex processes driving coastal change and the responses to those changes in the hotspot areas. The assessment framework will be used to integrate results from natural, social and economic studies through a multi-sectoral process, and to assist in identifying scenarios for management and options for policy reform. The presentation will describe the tools, how they are being applied in the different regions and progress towards achieving the project goals.

Download the GULLS program summary here.

Link to the GLORIA site here: 

PowerPoint overview of GULLS

Recent Publications
Martins, I. M., L. C. Gammage, A. Jarre and M. A. Gasalla (2019). 
Different but Similar? Exploring Vulnerability to Climate Change in Brazilian and South African Small-Scale Fishing Communities. Human Ecology.

Dutra, L.X.C. et al. 2019. 
Governance Mapping: a framework for assessing the adaptive capacity of marine resource governance to environmental change. Marine Policy.

DOI information: 10.1016/j.marpol.2018.12.011.
Cochrane KL, Rakotondrazafy H, Aswani S, Chaigneau T, Downey-Breedt N, Lemahieu A, Paytan A, Pecl G, Plagányi E, Popova E, van Putten EI, Sauer WHH, Byfield V, Gasalla MA, van Gennip SJ, Malherbe W, Rabary A, Rabearisoa A, Ramaroson N, Randrianarimanana V, Scott L and Tsimanaoraty PM (2019)
Tools to Enrich Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning for Coastal Communities in Data-Poor Regions: Application to a Case Study in Madagascar.
Front. Mar. Sci. 5:505. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00505.
Aswani, S., J. A. E. Howard, M. A. Gasalla, S. Jennings, W. Malherbe, I. M. Martins, S. S. Salim, I. E. V. Putten, P. S. Swathilekshmi, R. Narayanakumar and G. R. Watmough (2018).
An integrated framework for assessing coastal community vulnerability across cultures, oceans and scales.
Climate and Development: DOI: 10.1080/17565529.17562018.11442795.
Ortega-Cisneros, K., S. Yokwana, W. Sauer, K. Cochrane, A. Cockcroft, N. C. James, W. M. Potts, L. Singh, M. Smale, A. Wood and G. Pecl (2018).
Assessment of the likely sensitivity to climate change for the key marine species in the southern Benguela system.
African Journal of Marine Science 40(3): 297-292.
Ortega-Cisneros, K., K. Cochrane and E. A. Fulton (2017).
An Atlantis model of the southern Benguela upwelling system: validation, sensitivity analysis and insights into ecosystem functioning.
Ecological Modelling 355: 49–63 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2017.1004.1009
van Putten, I. E., S. Jennings, A. J. Hobday, R. H. Bustamante, L. X. C. Dutra, S. Frusher, E. A. Fulton, M. Haward, E. É. Plagányi, L. Thomas and G. Pecl (2017)
Recreational fishing in a time of rapid ocean change.
Marine Policy 76: 167-177
van Gennip, S. J., E. E. Popova, A. Yool, G. T. Pecl, A. J. Hobday and C. J. B. Sorte (2017).
Going with the flow: The role of ocean circulation in global marine ecosystems under a changing climate.
Global Change Biology: 10.1111/gcb.13586
Paytan et al 2017
Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin (pdf)
Hobday, A. J., K. Cochrane, N. Downey-Breedt, J. Howard, S. Aswani, V.Byfield, G. Duggan, E. Duna, L. X. C. Dutra, S. D. Frusher, E. A. Fulton, L. Gammage, M. A. Gasalla, C. Griffiths, A. Guissamulo, M.Haward, A. Jarre, S. M. Jennings, T. Jordan, J. Joyner, N. K. Ramani, S. L. P. Shanmugasundaram, W. Malherbe, K. O. Cisneros, A. Paytan, G.T. Pecl, É. E. Plagányi, E. E. Popova, H. Razafindrainibe, M.Roberts, P. Rohit, S. S. Sainulabdeen, W. Sauer, S. T. Valappil, P. U.Zacharia and E. I. v. Putten (2016).
Planning adaptation to climate change in fast-warming marine regions with seafood-dependent coastal communities.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries: DOI:10.1007/s11160-016-9419-0
Popova, E. E., A. Yool, V. Byfield, K. Cochrane, A. Coward, S. Icar, M.Gasalla, S. Henson, A. Hobday, G. Pecl, W. Sauer and M. Roberts (2016).
From global to regional and back again: unifying mechanisms of climate change relevant for adaptation across five ocean warming hotspots.
Global Change Biology: DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13247


The GULLS team at first workshop

The GULLS team – participants at the 1st GULLS workshop, Grahamstown, South Africa, April 2014.


 *The Belmont Forum is a group of high-level representatives from agencies and organizations that have, as a major portion of their responsibilities, funding global environmental change research. The Belmont Forum, in October of 2009, became the Council of Principals for the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA). With that new role, the Belmont Forum/IGFA CoP became the high-level decision making body for IGFA.