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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

From the many millions of people who count on ocean fisheries for their food and livelihoods, to the cultural and spiritual connections people have with marine species, to the uncounted lives saved by intact coral reefs during the 2004 Asian tsunami, people all over the world depend upon healthy oceans. But how healthy are our oceans? A newly developed measurement tool, the Ocean Health Index, answers that question for every coastal country in the world. The Index provides a uniform way with which to measure the health of ocean ecosystems around the world. The Index provides an important tool for advancing comprehensive ocean policy. The Ocean Health Index evaluates the condition of marine ecosystems according to 10 human goals, which represent the key ecological, social, and economic benefits that a healthy ocean provides. The framework for the Ocean Health Index was first published in the journal Nature in August 2012. Researchers found that global oceans have an overall score of 60 out of 100 with a large variation between regions. Current activities involve annual recalculation of the global scores, regional applications at national and sub-national scales, support of other governments and NGOs developing regional applications of the Index, and a software toolbox to allow easy calculation and exploration of the Index and its results.

Principal Investigator(s)

Benjamin S. Halpern

Project Dates

Start: April 1, 2010



James Boyd
Resources for the Future
Roger M. Cooke
Resources for the Future
Baruch Fischhoff
Carnegie Mellon University
Steven D. Gaines
University of California, Santa Barbara
Benjamin S. Halpern
University of California, Santa Barbara
Catherine S. Longo
University of California, Santa Barbara
Karen L. McLeod
Oregon State University
Andrew A. Rosenberg
Conservation International
Mary Ruckelshaus
NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Ussif Rashid Sumaila
University of British Columbia


  1. Journal Article / 2017

    Improving estimates of population status and trend with superensemble models

  2. Journal Article / 2020

    The importance of open science for biological assessment of aquatic environments

  3. Journal Article / 2021

    The Baltic Health Index (BHI): assessing the social-ecological status of the Baltic Sea

  4. Journal Article / 2016

    Overview of integrative assessment of marine systems: The ecosystem approach in practice

  5. Journal Article / 2014

    A regional-scale Ocean Health Index for Brazil

  6. Journal Article / 2016

    Mapping Uncertainty Due to Missing Data in the Global Ocean Health Index

  7. Software / 2016

    ohicore R package

  8. Journal Article / 2012

    An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean

  9. Report or White Paper / 2013

    Ocean Health Index 2013: Results summary

  10. Journal Article / 2014

    Assessing the health of the U.S. west coast with a regional-scale application of the Ocean Health Index

  11. Report or White Paper / 2014

    Ocean Health Index results 2014: The 2014 Antarctica regional assessment

  12. Report or White Paper / 2014

    Ocean Health Index results 2014: The 2014 high seas regional assessment

  13. Report or White Paper / 2014

    Ocean Health Index results summary: 2014 Ocean Health Index global assessment

  14. Journal Article / 2015

    Patterns and emerging trends in global ocean health

  15. Book Chapter / 2016

    Chapter 7.8: Ocean Health Index for the world's large marine ecosytems

  16. Journal Article / 2017

    Drivers and implications of change in global ocean health over the past five years

  17. Journal Article / 2019

    Recent pace of change in human impact on the worlds ocean

  18. Report or White Paper / 2017

    Navigating the seascape of ocean management: waypoints on the voyage toward sustainable use

  19. Journal Article / 2013

    Exploring patterns of seafood provision revealed in the Global Ocean Health Index

  20. Journal Article / 2017

    Using the Ocean Health Index to Identify Opportunities and Challenges to Improving Southern Ocean Ecosystem Health

  21. Journal Article / 2016

    Assessing the performance of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in Brazil: A test using two regional-scale indices related to coastal and marine ecosystem conservation

  22. Journal Article / 2019

    Quantifying uncertainty in the wild-caught fisheries goal of the Ocean Health Index

  23. Journal Article / 2021

    Ocean health in the Northeast United States from 2005 to 2017

  24. Journal Article / 2017

    Aligning marine species range data to better serve science and conservation

  25. Journal Article / 2020

    Changes in ocean health in British Columbia from 2001 to 2016

  26. Report or White Paper / 2015

    Best practices for assessing ocean health in multiple contexts using tailorable frameworks

  27. Presentations / 2016

    Better science in less time using data science tools

  28. Presentations / 2016

    Improving reproducibility, collaboration and communication in marine science using open science tools

  29. Software / 2016

    ohirepos R package

  30. Presentations / 2016

    The Ocean Health Index and Shiny

  31. Journal Article / 2017

    Our path to better science in less time using open data science tools