Knowledge domain and research lines

Interactions Human-Technology-Environment in coastal and marine systems Coastal and marine regions are environments with particular environmental and social aspects that interact through complex processes involving the five Earth System dimensions: Anthroposphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere, and Lithosphere.

These regions harbor ecosystems rich in biodiversity and provide different environmental services. On the other side, the coastal and marine areas also experience high pressure due to human activities linked to port trading, industrial facilities, and urban expansion, in addition to the presence of several traditional populations. The  domain of knowledge area of PPG-ICTMAR integrates three complementary research lines based on an interdisciplinary approach to the Marine Sciences. All of them aim at expanding the frontiers of knowledge, promoting technological development and innovative methodologies, taking into account the natural and anthropic processes in coastal and marine environments.




1) Environmental monitoring and diagnosis in coastal and marine regions 

The relationship between the environment and human beings (at the individual, populational, and societal levels) is the result of a complex mixture of negative (e.g., urbanization, pollution, and contamination) and positive factors (e.g., the well-being of people, coastal life, marine resources, energy sources). The interaction between such factors needs to be qualified and quantified, reported, and weighted in all dimensions. Thus, the investigation and monitoring of these complex interactions require interdisciplinary approaches that recognize the human being as a member of the coastal and marine ecosystems, in contrast to the idea that humans are an external agent of disturbance that destabilizes ecological systems.

Understanding the perspective for maintaining the stability of the ecosystems and human well-being is one of the most significant challenges of this research line. Efforts will be employed to produce interdisciplinary research focused at understanding the interactions between humans and the environment. This research line also embraces investigation work to support the technological development for data acquisition, environmental analysis, and resource management of coastal and marine environments.

The expected results should promote and support sustainable socio-environmental management in the coastal and marine areas as a broad governance process that considers both the diversity of public and private actors regarding the ecological dynamics and different socioeconomic activities of use of the territory. The research efforts should articulate with the other two research lines, either by supporting the development of public and private policies and strategies for the prevention and recovery of coastal and marine environments (Research line 2) or by the critical tools for the development of strategies and technologies for the sustainable use of  cosystem resources and services in coastal and marine environments (Research line 3).

2) Strategies for risk prevention and recovering of coastal and marine environments

Coastal and marine regions are highly vulnerable to environmental and socioeconomic impacts generated by critical events (as in the case of environmental disasters)  and anthropic processes (such as the release and waste disposal without treatment) that alter biogeochemical cycles and the energy balance of the marine and coastal system. Such changes directly impact human health, lead to a reduction in biodiversity, and are related to global changes on a regional and global scale.

The PPG-ICTMAR considers it is essential to propose strategies to prevent, mitigate, adapt, or recover the environmental quality and human well-being considering the economic activities occurring in coastal and marine regions. Also, estimating their associated costs is a fundamental need in the creation and implementation of  public policies for the environment.

Innovation is a fundamental driving force to promote such strategies for coastal and marine environments since several strategies will depend on new technologies that are or not yet fully developed and tested, and must be modeled in terms of energy, exergy and mass balances. The analysis of possible barriers to implementing the new technologies and the learning curves are crucial. This research line encompasses interdisciplinary studies aimed at developing theories, practices, and technologies applied to the emission control of pollutants, the minimum generation of waste, and maximum efficiency of energy usage.

3) Sustainable exploitation of ecosystem resources and services in coastal and marine environments

Demands of anthropic origin must be met considering the fair distribution of ecosystem goods and services, as well as the biophysical dynamics of the environment. The sustainability of human activities in the oceans and coastal regions depends on maintaining the integrity and health of marine ecosystems.

The PPG-ICTMAR assumes that knowledge production, technology development, and capacity building to prepare researchers and professionals to understand the interdependence between the use and conservation of the Sea and its resources is an essential activity to promote sustainability in coastal and marine regions. The conscious and effective use of natural resources requires synergistic efforts by public and private agents. The sustainable exploitation of ecosystem resources and services provided by the oceans is a research topic and technological development at several academic institutions with a steady partnership from management  organizations, national and international agencies, and government decision-makers.

This research line is aligned with the objectives of the Brazilian Sectorial Plan for the Sea Resources (PSRM), and it aims at producing solid knowledge and innovative strategies and technologies to support the sustainable exploitation of mineral resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in coastal and marine environments. In this sense, this research line is complementary to the former research lines, since the diagnosis, monitoring, impact prevention, and recovery of ecosystems are intrinsically related to the sustainable use of resources.