Millennium Nucleus UPWELL


UPWELL means to surge. Eastern Boundary Upwelling Systems (EBUS), are specific regions of the ocean where deep and nutrient-rich waters rise to the surface through the action of the wind. This process generates productive marine ecosystems that sustain the biggest fisheries on the planet.  The Humboldt Current System (HCS) -which occurs in front of the Chilean coast- is one of the most important EBUS’s in the world.

EBUS’s are changing globally due to anthropogenic climate change, generating profound social and economic impacts on populations. We approach this problem through the history of the HCS as a study case, and develop an interdisciplinary perspective to understand how HCS biophysical and socio-cultural systems have coevolved and established feedback relationships over the last  12000 years. We plan to generate relevant scientific knowledge to help promote adaptive strategies for EBUS’s socio-ecological systems.

Archeological hook from the north coast of Chile

Our logo

Our logo symbolically fuses essential aspects of Nucleus UPWELL: the upwelling phenomenon, coastal ecosystems and societies that have dwelled these ecosystems. The figure in the center of the logo is inspired by the movement of the deep and cold waters that emerges along the coast, and by shell fishhooks that can be found in archaeological sites from Arica (18° S) to Guanaqueros (30° S). Upwelling phenomenon is also represented by the colored waves around the hook.

Both fishhooks and the upwelling phenomenon, are and have been key elements in the natural and cultural history of Chile, and of the American Pacific coast.

Working packages

With the purpose of creating frontier science on the co-evolution between biophysical and social systems of the Humboldt Current System (HCS), we organized ourselves into five working packages that generate interdisciplinary scientific knowledge to answer our research questions:

  1. What were the directions, chronology, magnitude and effects of past changes  in  upwelling dynamics of the north coast of Chile?
  2. How did coastal ecosystems and social systems respond to these changes?
  3. What are the human impacts on the structure/functioning of HCS biophysical systems?
  4. How did the dynamic between biophysical and social systems vary at different spatiotemporal scales, cultural backgrounds and/or under contrasting climate scenarios?