Two New Working Groups to Advance Solutions for Ocean Sustainability

We are pleased to welcome to our community two new working groups that will advance science-driven solutions to ocean sustainability.

They are supported by our partnership with Future Earth and the Global Biodiversity Center at Colorado State University through a program called PEGASuS 2: Ocean Sustainability. This program aims to accelerate transformations to a more sustainable and equitable planet by drawing on the collective knowledge of not just researchers, but also innovators in policy, business and civil society to ensure the science meets society's needs.

Learn about the challenges the two working groups will tackle:

Project 1: Defining the observing system for the world’s oceans - from microbes to whales

A globally coordinated and sustained ocean observing system is urgently needed to systematically assess the status of the ocean's biodiversity and ecosystems and how these are responding to increasing resource use, including coastal development under long-term climate change scenarios. Based on a set of measurable biological characteristics or “biological essential ocean variables" derived from the requirements of 24 multilateral environmental agreements, existing monitoring capabilities and scientific and societal impact, scientists at NCEAS will design a monitoring network to answer specific scientific questions on high priority global phenomena in response to calls for guidance from policy makers and managers. By mapping the current spatial extent of observations for these essential variables, from microbes to whales and coastal ecosystems to the deep sea, the scientists will identify how to capitalize on what is already being achieved and what remains to be done to develop a globally coordinated, fit for purpose, and sustained ocean observing system. Scientists will also develop a roadmap to ensure that products maximally support monitoring progress against the Convention on Biological Diversity 2050 Vision, Agenda 2030 and other critical international agreements including scientific platforms related to climate change, biodiversity, and ecosystem services as well as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The roadmap will include where current indicators can be updated to make better use of scientific information and impact the future development of scientific priorities.

Principal investigators: Nic Bax (University of Tasmania), Daniel Dunn (Duke University), Patricia Miloslavich (Simon Bolivar University)

Project 2: Managing Ocean Change and Food Security: Implementing Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary

One of the most acute challenges for ocean nations and coastal communities is food and nutritional security, including sustaining wild capture fisheries in a time of rapid and profound change in the oceans and in the global food sector. Palau’s commitment to protect ocean ecosystems and resources for its people, demonstrated in a policy to close 80% of its EEZ in 2020, provides an unprecedented opportunity to take a systems approach to tackling this complex and urgent challenge. The Government of Palau has asked us to convene a working group to synthesize existing research and create a portfolio of policy and management options supporting food security and marine resource sustainability in the context of the new closure. The proposed working group will be guided by a policy committee of ministers and other senior government policymakers from Palau and other Pacific Island nations to ensure that its work meets the needs and priorities of government decision-making, and develops avenues for impact at scale, within the broader western Pacific region.

Principal investigator: Fiorenza Micheli (Stanford University)

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Posted on November 14, 2018