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Ecological and Economic impacts of the intensification of extreme events in the Benguela Upwelling System.


Ecological and Economic impacts of the intensification of extreme events in the Benguela Upwelling System.




  • Ongoing


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Feb 2020 - Feb 2023

Type of action

Joint Call


Ecological and Economic impacts of the intensification of extreme events in the Benguela Upwelling System

The Benguela Upwelling System (BUS) of South Africa, Namibia, and Angola is one four Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems globally. It is bordered with warm tropical water of the Angola Benguela Front Zone in the north and by the Agulhas Current in the south. Changes in the coupled atmosphere-marine climate, natural or anthropogenic, both within the BUS and beyond, affect ecological and socio-economic important sub-systems, potentially affecting millions of people—residents of the coastline and those who derive their livelihoods and resources from the BUS. Our aim in the EXEBUS project is to understand the drivers of change in the BUS and its contribution to the changing variability of the system, with an emphasis on extreme events. Given that both natural- and human-induced changes to the functioning of the BUS occur at a range of time and space scales (and are also interdependent), we seek to understand the changing envelope of variability, extremes of this variability, and their impact.

EXEBUS undertakes an Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) to establish the roles, trends, and range of variability and the extremities of natural and anthropogenic geophysical, biological, governance, socio- economic features and phenomena, and assess their impact on ecological, sociological, governance, and macroeconomic systems and processes in the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) of South Africa (SA), Namibia, and Angola. The goal is to strengthen the rational basis for management on relevant spatial and temporal scales (up to 2070).

The work is undertaken by trans-disciplinary consortium of international researchers, practitioners, and representatives of the private sector and civil society proposed here brings unique and complementary perspectives for both understanding the changes in this dynamic system, applying, and communicating the importance of these findings. This will enable the development of an Ecosystem-Based Management framework for application in the region.

Project consortium

Principal Investigator(s)

Albertus Smit, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Johann Augustyn, South African Deep-Sea Trawling Industry Association, South Africa
Stewart Bernard, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Francois Alwyn Engelbrecht, Wits University, South Africa
Sarah Margaret Gaines, The University of Rhode Island, United States
Marek Ostrowski, Institute of Marine Research, Norway
Christo Rautenbach, South African Weather Service, South Africa
Mathieu Rouault, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia, Canada
Behera Swadhin, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan
Neville Anthony Sweijd, Alliance for Collaboration on Climate and Earth Systems Science, South Africa
Ben Van Zyl, Benguela Current Convention, Namibia


The Research Council of Norway, Norway
National Research Foundation, South Africa
National Science Foundation, United States