PEGASuS 2: Ocean Sustainability

Principal Investigator(s): 

Nic Bax, Daniel Dunn, Patricia Miloslavich, Fiorenza Micheli


People depend on oceans, but some of the ways we use and interact with oceans result in complex challenges to sustainability, such as biodiversity loss and the threat of food insecurity. Viable solutions to such problems require collaborations between multiple realms of innovation, including science, policy, business, and civil society.

PEGASuS 2: Ocean Sustainability is an effort to bring together scientists and other experts to develop science-based solutions that will benefit oceans and people. It is a partnership between NCEAS, Future Earth, and the Global Biodiversity Center at Colorado State University. Learn more about PEGASuS.

Two working groups are working to address multifaceted challenges to ocean sustainability.


Defining the Observing System for the World’s Oceans - From Microbes to Whales

Ocean resource use and coastal development occur at a rapid pace, which has made it challenging to compile up-to-date information on the status of marine resources. To meet this need, this working group is developing a global monitoring system to assess how ocean biodiversity and ecosystems are responding to these human pressures.

The team will design the monitoring system to incorporate long-term climate change scenarios, existing monitoring capacities in the biological and social sciences, and guidelines from 24 international environmental agreements, including the Convention on Biological Diversity 2050 Vision, Agenda 2030, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Working group members will then use this monitoring system to accomplish the following:

  1. Map global ocean resource use. This will highlight where ocean resource use is occurring, which resources are being used, which regions could benefit most from the monitoring system, and which ocean ecosystems appear to be less healthy.

  2. Address specific, pressing questions facing ocean managers and policy makers.

  3. Develop a timeline that ensures the monitoring system will support compliance with international agreements to the maximum extent possible.

Principal Investigators: Nic Bax (University of Tasmania), Daniel Dunn (Duke University), Patricia Miloslavich (Universidad Simón Bolívar)


Managing Ocean Change and Food Security: Implementing Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary

Many coastal communities are vulnerable to food and nutritional insecurity due to climate change and resource use, and some are taking a proactive approach to mitigating these threats. The island nation of Palau is one example. At the request of Palau’s government, this working group is developing science-driven strategies to manage long-term food security in the country. To achieve this, they will conduct the following activities:

        1.  Synthesize existing research on Palau’s marine resources.

        2.  Assess how the country’s National Marine Sanctuary is affecting its marine resource use and food security.

        3.  Compile policy and management options that take sustainable ocean resource use and food security into account.

The advising committee will include leaders from multiple Pacific Island nations to ensure that this project meets regional needs.

Principal Investigator: Fiorenza Micheli (Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University)