Research capability gaps hinder understanding of the impact of climate change on ecosystem services in the Latin American Pacific coast

Research capability and ecosystem services in Latin America

  • Luis E. Calderon-Aguilera
Palabras clave: Brecha de conocimiento, calentamiento global, desastres naturales, pobreza, seguridad alimentaria


Background. Coastal communities are highly dependent on ecosystem services, but the benefits and livelihoods people derive from natural ecosystems are directly and indirectly affected by climate change. The need for a mechanistic understanding of how components of climate change translate into measurable impacts on ecosystems and society is fundamental to the ability to manage, plan and mitigate for the most likely environmental futures, yet progress in this area in tropical and subtropical countries is frustrated by a lack of research capacity at the local and regional level. Objectives. Here, we investigate the research capacity of the countries along the Pacific coast, between Mexico and Chile, a region with an extensive coastline (23,191 km) that spans 11 countries of varying socio-economic development status and anticipated to be especially vulnerable to climate change. Methods. Specifically, our focus was to explore how the effects of climate change on ecosystem services (provision, regulation and cultural) may relate to research capacity and gross domestic product (GDP) in each country along the Pacific coast of the Americas. Results. We find that, since 1980, the number of peer-reviewed scientific studies relevant to this topic strongly correlates with GDP (r = 0.90, p < 0.05) and that research effort is an order of magnitude lower along the Latin American Pacific coast (13.8 studies 1000 km-1) than in the neighbouring Californian coast (103 studies 1000 km-1). Conclusions. Our results highlight the need to better develop the research in the Latin America Pacific, and for more work on the key links between climate change and ecosystem services.


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Agostini, S., B.P. Harvey, S. Wada, K. Kon, M. Milazzo, K. Inaba & J.M. Hall-Spencer. 2018. Ocean acidification drives community shifts towards simplified non-calcified habitats in a subtropical-temperate transition zone. Scientific reports 8(1):1-11.
Asmus, M.L., J. Nicolodi, L.S. Anello & K. Gianuca. 2019. The risk to lose ecosystem services due to climate change: A South American case. Ecological Engineering 130:233-241.
Balvanera, P., M. Uriarte, L. Almeida-Leñero, A. Altesor, F. DeClerck, T. Gardner, J. Hall, A. Lara, P. Laterra, M. Peña-Claros, D. M. Silva Matos, A. L. Vogl, L. P. Romero-Duque, L. F. Arreola, Á. P. Caro-Borrero, F. Gallego, M. Jain, C. Little, R. de Oliveira Xavier, J. M. Paruelo, J. E. Peinado, L. Poorter, N. Ascarrunz, F. Correa, M. B. Cunha-Santino, A. P. Hernández-Sánchez & M. Vallejos. 2012. Ecosystem services research in Latin America: The state of the art. Ecosystem Services 2: 56-70.
Balvanera, P., N. Pérez-Harguindeguy, M. Perevochtchikova, P. Laterra, D. M. Cáceres & A. Langle-Flores. 2020. Ecosystem services research in Latin America 2.0: Expanding collaboration across countries, disciplines, and sectors. Ecosystem Services Elsevier B.V. 42: 101086. DOI:10.1016/j.ecoser.2020.101086
Barange, M., G. Merino, J.L. Blanchard, J. Scholtens, J. Harle, E.H. Alli son, J.I. Allen, J. Holt & S.Jennings. 2014. Impacts of climate change on marine ecosystem production in societies dependent on fishe ries. Nature Climate Change 4(3):211-216.
Cabral-Tena, R.A., A. López-Pérez, H. Reyes-Bonilla, L.E. Calderon-Aguilera, C.O. Norzagaray-López, F.A. Rodríguez-Zaragoza, A. Cupul-Magaña, A. P. Rodríguez-Troncoso & A. Ayala-Bocos. 2018. Calcification of coral assemblages in the eastern Pacific: reshuffling calcification scenarios under climate change. Ecological Indicators 95:726-734.
CEDLAS (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales). 2018.Socio- Economic Database for Latin America and the Caribbean (CED LAS) and The World Bank, Online. La Plata, Argentina.
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). 2018. The World Factbook, World-Facts B.
Cinner, J. E., J. Zamborain-Mason, G. G. Gurney, N. A. J. Graham, M. A. MacNeil, A. S. Hoey, C. Mora, S. Villéger, E. Maire, T. R. McClanahan, J. M. Maina, J. N. Kittinger, C. C. Hicks, S. D’Agata, C. Huchery, M. L. Barnes, D. A. Feary, I. D. Williams, M. Kulbicki, L. Vigliola, L. Wantiez, G. J. Edgar, R. D. Stuart-Smith, S. A. Sandin, A. L. Green, M. Beger, A. M. Friedlander, S. K. Wilson, E. Brokovich, A. J. Brooks, J. J. Cruz-Motta, D. J. Booth, P. Chabanet, M. Tupper, S. C. A. Ferse, U. R. Sumaila, M. J. Hardt & D. Mouillot. 2020. Meeting fisheries, ecosystem function, and biodiversity goals in a human-dominated world. Science 368: 307-311.
Cruz-Garcia, G.S., E. Sachet, M. Vanegas & K. Piispanen. 2016. Are the major imperatives of food security missing in ecosystem services research?. Ecosystem Services 19:19-31.
Dangles, O., J. Loirat, C. Freour, S. Serre, J. Vacher & X. le Roux. 2016. Research on Biodiversity and Climate Change at a Distance: Collaboration Networks between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. PLOS ONE 11(6): e0157441. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0157441
Enwright, N. M., A. S. From, M. L. McCoy & J. L. McLeod. 2017. Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century. Nature Climate Change Nature Publishing Group 7:142-147.
FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). 2018. Fisheries and Aquaculture Information and Statistics Branch, Online. (2018). Fisheries and Aquaculture Information and Statistics Branch (downloaded December 14, 2018).
Frölicher, T.L. & C. Laufkötter. 2018. Emerging risks from marine heat waves. Nature communications 9(1):1-4.
Gabler, C. A., M. J. Osland, J. B. Grace, C. L. Stagg, R. H. Day, S. B. Hartley, Gazeau, F., L.M. Parker, S. Comeau, J.P. Gattuso, W.A. O’Connor, S. Martin, H.O. Pörtner & P.M. Ross. 2013. Impacts of ocean acidification on marine shelled molluscs. Marine biology 160(8): 2207-2245.
Haines-Young, R. & M. Potschin. 2018. CICES V5. 1. Guidance on the Application of the Revised Structure. Fabis Consulting 53.
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2018. Summary for Policy makers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the con text of strengthening the global response to. Geneva, Switzerland,he threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Geneva, Switzerland, pp. 1-32. Also available at:
Laterra, P., L. Nahuelhual, M. Vallejos, L. Berrouet, E.A. Pérez, L. Enrico, C. Jiménez-Sierra, K. Mejía, P. Meli, A. Rincón-Ruíz & D. Salas. 2019. Linking inequalities and ecosystem services in Latin America. Ecosystem Services 36:100875.
Manzello, D.P. 2010. Coral growth with thermal stress and ocean acidification: lessons from the eastern tropical Pacific. Coral reefs 29(3):749-758.
MEA (Millenium Ecosystem Assessment). 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-beings: Wetlands and Water. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. 68 p.
Mora, C., D. P. Tittensor, S. Adl, A. G. B. Simpson & B. Worm. 2011. How many species are there on Earth and in the ocean? PLoS biology Public Library of Science 9: e1001127.
Muñoz-Sevilla, N. P. & M. Le Bail. 2017. Latin American and Caribbean regional perspective on Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) of Large Marine Ecosystems goods and services. Environmental Development 22(November 2016):9-17. DOI:10.1016/j.envdev.2017.01.006
Norzagaray-López, C.O., J.M. Hernández-Ayón, L.E. Calderon Aguilera, H. Reyes-Bonilla, C. Chapa-Balcorta & A. Ayala-Bocos. 2017. Aragonite saturation and pH variation in a fringing reef are strongly influenced by oceanic conditions. Limnology and Oceanography 62(6):2375-2388.
Pecl, G.T., M.B. Araújo, J.D. Bell, J. Blanchard, T.C. Bonebrake, I.C. Chen, T.D. Clark, R.K. Colwell, F. Danielsen, B. Evengård & L. Falconi. 2017. Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being. Science 355(6332): p.eaai9214.
Perevochtchikova, M., G. de la Mora, J. Á. Hernández-Flores, W. Marín, A. Langle-Flores, A. Ramos-Bueno & I. A. Rojo-Negrete. 2019. Systematic review of integrated studies on functional and thematic ecosystem services in Latin America, 1992-2017. Ecosystem Services Elsevier36: 100900.
Pérez-Maqueo, O., M. L. Martínez, F. C. Sánchez-Barradas & M. Kolb. 2018. Assessing nature-based coastal protection against disasters derived from extreme hydrometeorological events in Mexico. Sustainability (Switzerland) 10(5):1317.
Reyer, C.P., S. Adams, T. Albrecht, F. Baarsch, A. Boit, N. Canales-Trujillo, M. Cartsburg, D. Coumou, A. Eden, E. Fernandes & F. Langerwisch. 2017. Climate change impacts in Latin America and the Caribbean and their implications for development. Regional Environmental Change 17(6):1601-1621.
Sandifer, P. A., A. E. Sutton-Grier & B. P. Ward. 2015. Exploring connections among nature, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being: Opportunities to enhance health and biodiversity conservation. Ecosyste Services 12: 1-15.
Sherman, K. 1991. The large marine ecosystem concept: research and management strategy for living marine resources. Ecological Applications Wiley Online Library 1: 349-360.
Sherman, K. 2014. Adaptive management institutions at the regional level: The case of Large Marine Ecosystems. Ocean & Coastal Management 90: 38-49.
Siddall, M., T. F. Stocker & P. U. Clark. 2009. Constraints on future sea-level rise fro past sea-level change. Nature Geoscience Nature Publishing Group 2: 571-575.
Sperling, E.A., C.A. Frieder & L.A. Levin. 2016. Biodiversity response to natural gradients of multiple stressors on continental mar gins. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 283(1829):20160637.
Steele, J. H., K. H. Brink & B. E. Scott. 2019. Comparison of marine and terrestrial ecosystems: Suggestions of an evolutionary perspective influenced by environmental variation. ICES Journal of Marine Science 76: 50-59.
Sydeman, W.J., M. García-Reyes, D.S Schoeman, R.R. Rykaczewski, S.A. Thompson, B. A. Black & S.J. Bograd. 2014. Climate change and wind intensification in coastal upwelling ecosystems. Science 345(6192):77-80.
UIS (UNESCO Institute for Statistics). 2018. Human Resources in R&D, United Nations Educ. Sci. Cult. Organ. Inst. Stat. 2018. Available online at fs49-human-resources-r 2018-en.pdf (downloaded October 29, 2018).
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). 2020. Human Development Index from United Nations Development Programme, Hdr. Undp.Org/En/Countries (2020). Also Available online at: (downloade February 6, 2020).
UNEP-WCMC and IUCN (United Nations Environmental Program). 2020. Marine Protected Areas, Prot. Planet. (2020). Available online at: (downloaded April 30, 2020)
UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organization). 2020.Country profile inbound tourism, Data Rep. 2018. Available online at: (downloaded May 5, 2020).
Valdés, L. 2017. Global ocean science report: the current status of ocean science around the world.
Weissenberger, S. & O. Chouinard. 2015. The vulnerability of coastal zones towards climate change and sea level rise. In: Weissenberger, S. & O. Chouinard. Adaptation to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 7-31.
Whitfield, S., E. Beauchamp, D.S. Boyd, D. Burslem, A. Byg, F. Colledge, M.E. Cutler, M. Didena, A. Dougill, G. Foody & J. A Godbold. 2019. Exploring temporality in socio-ecological resilience through experiences of the 2015–16 El Niño across the Tropics. Global environmental change 55:1-14.
World Bank. 2018. Gross Domestic Product, Washington, D.C. Available online at: October 31, 2018).
World Bank. 2020.Climate Change Knowledge Portal, Clim. Chang. Impacts.
Cómo citar
Calderon-Aguilera, L. E. (2022). Research capability gaps hinder understanding of the impact of climate change on ecosystem services in the Latin American Pacific coast: Research capability and ecosystem services in Latin America. HIDROBIOLÓGICA, 32(2). Recuperado a partir de
Material suplementario