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Integrated Marine Biosphere Research project - IMBeR

Published 28.08.2020 - Updated 28.08.2020

New Irish IMBeR endorsed project: NUTS&BOLTS – Importance of Physico-Chemical Cycling of Nutrients and Carbon in Marine Transitional Zones

IMBeR is delighted to announce its latest endorsed project: NUTS&BOLTS – Importance of Physico-Chemical Cycling of Nutrients and Carbon in Marine Transitional Zones.

NUTS&BOLTS is a four-year project undertaken by Prof. Peter Croot and colleagues at the National University of Ireland Galway, funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Marine Institute.

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Published 05.06.2020 - Updated 05.06.2020

Past and Future Grand Challenges in Marine Ecosystem Ecology

Marine Ecosystem Ecology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, has a renewed scope. The Specialty Chief Editor and the Associate Editors of the journal, have discussed the main challenges in marine ecosystems ecology for coming decade, deserving research and have identified six main challenges, ranging from understanding of interaction among diversity and ecosystem processes, structure and function, to ecosystem shifts, biodiversity and habitat loss, restoration, sustainability strategies for human activities in the ocean, including the assessment of ocean health, cumulative human impacts and climate change, as drivers of shifts, or marine conservation.

Eight secondary challenges include the links between ocean health with human health, impacts of alien species, loss of natural coastlines and ecosystem services, impacts on the deep ocean, impacts in the land-ocean continuum, the ‘holobiont’ paradigm, ecosystem-based management, and emerging pollutants. As governance and social priorities, the editors identified some major challenges: meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals, new methods into decision support tools for policy frameworks, climate-ready Marine Spatial Planning and MPAs, transnational observation strategies, engaging society more effectively in ocean science, and the role of fake news. Finally, some methodological priorities are: developing molecular tools for marine applications, addressing problems multidimensionally, promoting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies, use of big data and machine learning, modelling and developing thresholds/targets to assess current and future ecosystems health. Download the paper

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Published 05.06.2020 - Updated 05.06.2020

In Memoriam: Dr. Ron O’Dor

It is with great sadness that IMBeR, and particularly the CLIOTOP community, received the news of the passing of Dr. Ron O’Dor. Many came to know Ron during his time as Chief Scientist of the Census of Marine Life and leader of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). Our thoughts are with his family and friends in this very sad time. A memoriam has been posted on the OTN’s website.

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Published 28.04.2020 - Updated 28.04.2020

Transforming ocean science for a better world

Great progress has been made in measuring and monitoring the ocean, understanding of ocean and ecosystem processes and their role in maintaining the climate and food systems, forecasting and predicting ocean related impacts to coastal communities and implementing management and conservation frameworks that reduce threats and restore some key ecosystems. However, the basic benefits that people derive from a healthy ocean are in decline.

In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, CLIOTOP Co-chair Karen Evans and colleagues Linwood Pendleton and Martin Visbeck argue that a transformation in ocean science is needed in order to arrest this decline and achieve the ocean we need for the sustainable future we want. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) provides an opportunity to create a new movement that brings together the many disciplines of science, other disciplines (e.g. arts, humanities, engineering, law) and stakeholders from all relevant ocean sectors to generate new processes for informing policies that ensure a well-functioning, resilient and sustainable ocean that continues to provide benefits for all. They argue that the success of the Ocean Decade in achieving a sustainable future ocean will require an approach that is inclusive, participatory, and global in its ability to plan, implement, and deliver the required science in innovative ways that makes it accessible to and useable by all. 

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Published 02.04.2020 - Updated 02.04.2020

Study the Twilight Zone before it is too late

The oceans’ twilight zone is the area just below 200m from the surface ocean down to 1000m. It plays a major role in removing and storing CO2 from the atmosphere, and is home to the largest and least exploited ocean fish stocks. It is also the zone through which the massive migration of fish and zooplankton move towards the surface to feed each night, before retreating back down at dawn. Yet  despite its importance, the zone is physically, biogeochemically and ecologically poorly understood. It is a difficult region to study for a variety of substantial reasons, leaving many critics to suggest that coastal and near-shelf waters are more deserving of study, because of the significant environmental impacts there, and their importance to societies. Unfortunately, widespread environmental damage to these inshore regions can often not be avoided, so research efforts and local policies must aim to mitigate the worst effects. By contrast, the twilight zone is almost pristine, and as much of it lies beyond national jurisdiction, it is of common interest and responsibility, and global agreement is necessary to manage it.

This paper outlines the steps needed to ensure that enough is known about this complex global ecosystem to inform decisions about the impacts of climate change and potential future exploitation. We call on the international marine research community to focus its attention on the twilight zone during the upcoming United Nations Decade of the Ocean, and to seize the opportunity to establish a global policy that will protect this vast ecosystem for present and future generations.

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Published 25.03.2020 - Updated 25.03.2020

Marine biodiversity offsets: Pragmatic approaches toward better conservation outcomes

Biodiversity offsets, as the last stage of the mitigation hierarchy, provide an opportunity to promote a more sustainable basis for development by addressing residual impacts and achieving “no net loss” for biodiversity. Despite debate around their effectiveness, biodiversity offsets are seeing increasing application on land but remain a rarely used tool in the marine environment. In this paper, we assess how offsets can be applied in the marine environment to achieve better biodiversity outcomes, and identify implications for conservation policy and practice.

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Published 04.02.2020 - Updated 04.02.2020

Applying an Organizational Psychology Model for Developing Shared Goals in Interdisciplinary Research Teams

Developing shared goals within interdisciplinary marine research teams can enhance success, both in terms of knowledge production processes, and efforts to link that knowledge to decision-making processes. However, there is very little guidance available for how best to develop shared goals that reflect the values and perspectives of all team members. In a new Perspective Paper just published in One Earth, Chris Cvitanovic and colleagues explore the utility of an organisational psychology model – the ASPIRe model – for developing shared goals within interdisciplinary marine research teams. They do so by applying the model to the Centre for Marine Socioecology in Tasmania, Australia – a group that brings together marine experts from a number of organisations and with varied disciplinary expertise including physics, law, economics, biology, sociology and governance. The full paper is Open Access and can be found here

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