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FOCUS: Future States of the global Coastal ocean: Understanding for Solutions

View from East End of St John Island

Active project

Project start: July 2022  |  Project end: March 2026
Funder: NERC
Principal Investigator: Professor Steve Widdicombe
Other participants from PML: Andrew Edwards-Jones, Dr Helen Findlay, Dr Yuri Artioli, Dr Tim Smyth, Dr Shubha Sathyendranath, Dr Ana Queiros, Dr Olivia Rendon, Prof Jerry Blackford

The Future states Of the global Coastal ocean: Understanding for Solutions (FOCUS) project is working to understand how climate change and human activities are impacting coastal seas worldwide.

The FOCUS project brings together experts from the National Oceanography Centre and Plymouth Marine Laboratory to tackle challenges facing the global coastal ocean.

Over 4 years, FOCUS will investigate the impacts of climate change and human activities on coastal habitats worldwide. Researchers will study rising sea levels, warming waters, ocean acidification and pollution in key regions including Southeast Asia and the Caribbean.

Advanced models and datasets will be combined with field observations and remote sensing to map stressors and vulnerabilities. The aim is to find solutions towards resilience, adaptation and mitigation.

FOCUS aligns with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Outcomes will help coastal communities adapt to climate threats like flooding. The work also explores nature-based solutions such as conserving blue carbon habitats to mitigate climate change.

The multidisciplinary team includes physical oceanographers, biogeochemists, ecologists and modellers. Their expertise spans the NW European shelf seas to the tropics. Partnerships with international networks will ensure findings effectively inform policy and management globally.


FOCUS will generate knowledge to guide resilience and adaptation for the almost 600 million people living near coasts.  It will pioneer new approaches to understanding interconnected social and environmental change in the coastal ocean. The results will provide evidence to guide urgent action for climatically resilient, productive and healthy coastlines worldwide.