Marine organisms have evolved in adaptation to the natural light conditions in the ocean, in terms of the amount (intensity), the colours (spectral composition) and the natural cycles (periodicity) of light. Over the last century, however, marine lightscapes in oceanic and coastal regions have changed in two fundamental ways:

Firstly, some regions have experienced a long-term reduction in water clarity, referred to as Coastal Darkening, with large-scale drivers notably connected to effects of climate change and eutrophication.

Secondly, some coastal regions are experiencing a brightening of the night-time light environment due to Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) linked to urbanisation, on- and offshore infrastructures, fisheries, and shipping.

The drivers of change, their interactions and the responses are not fully understood, making it difficult to develop effective management strategies. Consequently, there is an urgent need to understand the impact of changes in marine lightscapes on the marine environment.

The scope of this call results from a yearlong scoping process involving scientists nominated by JPI Oceans member countries. The scoping resulted in a Concept Paper that was approved by the JPI Oceans Management Board in April 2023.

Based on the scientific input to the Concept Paper and exchanges among the participating countries in the Joint Call, the following scope has been agreed for the call:  

Proposals should address one or more of the following consequences of changing marine lightscapes:

  • Biodiversity, biogeography, and biogeochemistry, including primary production
  • Photobiology and ecophysiology, including light-induced seasonal timing of organismal behaviour
  • Ecosystem functioning and food web architecture, and ecosystem services including sustainable fisheries

Furthermore, projects should explore mitigation measures using approaches such as marine and maritime spatial management tools, strategies for monitoring and mitigating changes in marine lightscapes, technological innovations, and/or novel policy interventions.

Proposals may also:

  • include observations of light changes (field work or previously collected knowledge) in the marine environment, e.g., spatiotemporal changes in the intensities, spectral characteristics and cycles of marine lightscapes, approaches for measuring changes in marine lightscapes and/or novel approaches to predict future marine lightscapes; and
  • discuss causes of light changes such as changes in land-ocean interactions, climate change and ocean-atmosphere interactions, and/or urbanisation, extensive port activities and maritime industries.

The projects are expected to carry out dedicated dissemination activities about the consequences for marine ecosystems, covering the drivers of changing lightscapes, possible mitigation measures, and policy implications.

Proposals should describe how the project will contribute to one or several of JPI Oceans’ priority areas (Ocean health, ocean productivity, and ocean stewardship & governance), the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy and the European Green Deal priorities, specifically “putting Europe’s biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030”,  “Protecting our biodiversity and ecosystems” and improving monitoring and implementation of relevant ​​​​EU policy frameworks, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Water Framework Directive (WFD), and Maritime Spatial Planning.

Project proposals submitted to the JPI Oceans Joint Action on Changing Marine Lightscapes are expected to deliver knowledge that contributes to several of the following outcomes, when applicable:

Scientific and technological outcomes:  

  • Better knowledge basis of drivers and spatiotemporal variation in changing marine lightscapes
  • Ability to predict and model future changes in marine lightscapes
  • Improved tools and technologies to support relevant policy frameworks

Policy and societal outcomes:  

  • Roadmap for implementation of changing marine lightscapes as an indicator in management policies and monitoring programmes (MSFD, WFD) and as an Essential Ocean Variable of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)
  • Decision support systems and scenarios for stakeholders and policy makers
  • Improved understanding of implications for ecosystem services and restoration actions

Please note that the information provided here is provisional. Changes may occur in the official call announcement.


  • Call publication: 2 April 2024
  • Deadline for submitting proposals: 30 May 2024 – 17:00 CEST
  • Selection of full proposals: Q4 2024
  • Start of projects: Q1/Q2 2025

Funding partners:

  • The Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
  • Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Greece
  • Marine Institute, Ireland
  • The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), Malta
  • The Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway
  • The National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), Poland
  • Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), United Kingdom

Please note that the listed funding partners are still preliminary. A definitive list of funding partners will be available in the call launch foreseen on 2 April 2024.  


Each application must involve eligible research partners and/or industry partners from at least two participating countries (countries of the FUNDING PARTNERS); no maximum number of partners is specified. Applicants from countries not funding this call may participate as ASSOCIATE PARTNER with their own resources (cash or in-kind).

Find out more about this opportunity and apply here.

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