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By John Lynham
PhD student Adrian Amaya and UHERO Research Fellow John Lynham recently started working on a new NSF-funded $1.6 million project entitled “Pathways and constraints to adaptation in coastal social-environmental systems”. The project is a collaborative research endeavor, both across institutions and academic disciplines: it brings together marine biologists, oceanographers, economists, anthropologists, and community organizers from UH, Stanford University, University of Georgia, El Colegio de Michoacán, Universidad de Los Andes, and the Mexican NGO Comunidad y Biodiversidad.
The project focuses on small scale fisheries (which produce two thirds of the seafood consumed annually and are critical to the food security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people). The research will illuminate the processes and conditions that promote the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems to global change. This knowledge is crucial for supporting adaptation to change, and for effective decision-making under risk and uncertainty. In particular, the project plans to test whether adaptation to shocks (climate, health, economic) is context-specific or whether the capacity for adaptation depends on intrinsic community characteristics.
It is hoped that the project will inform adaptation and resilience to climate, social, market and political change in coastal communities around the world and will provide a generalizable model for participatory co-production of knowledge and its application to marine and coastal management and adaptation. It has been a long journey to get the proposal funded. Lynham and his colleagues first applied for funding for this project from NSF in 2016. The proposal was rated very highly but was ultimately unsuccessful. The team tried again in 2018, twice in 2019, and were finally successful at the end of 2021. Moral of the story: never give up!