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Global Research Highlights 2015: IMBER

More than 20 global research projects have transitioned, or are in the process of transitioning, to Future Earth from three previous global environmental change programmes: the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimension Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) and DIVERSITAS. For years and, in many cases, decades, these projects have generated critical research on the planet's land, oceans and atmosphere and its past and current climate and peoples. They will continue to produce valuable knowledge about the globe under Future Earth.

Over the next weeks, Future Earth will publish a series of posts to highlight some of the research and successes that emerged from these projects in the past year. Check back in often to learn about pollution in the Arctic, small-scale fisheries around the globe, worldwide disaster risk and more.

Today, we feature the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) project.

What’s new with IMBER?

A major outcome outside of our research publications is the development of “IMBER into the Future,” our Science Plan and Implementation Strategy for research in 2016-2025. The basis of the strategy was developed during our Future Ocean conference in Bergen, Norway, in 2014 where the participants provided considerable input on research questions and direction for the next decade of IMBER research. Members of our science steering committee and our staff in our International Project Office in Bergen, Norway, developed these ideas further. The strategy was produced in consultation with the larger marine research community who provided extensive comments and reviews that were incorporated into the final draft. In our new strategy, there is a stronger focus on integrating natural and social sciences toward “Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society.” In the following years, IMBER will tackle several grand and innovative challenges to achieve our vision; some of these are described in our article in Science about human impacts and responses to the impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans.

IMBER’s societal partners include

The key users of IMBER science are other marine scientists and fisheries managers, and our science and analysis has a direct impact on these communities and industries. Contributions to our new strategy came not only from marine scientists but also social scientists, economists and people involved in small-scale fisheries. We partnered with a project called Too Big To Ignore that focuses on how small-scale fishing communities around the world are responding to global environmental change. We also take our evidence to experts in policy who are paying increasing attention to the health of the oceans and the food and other natural services that they provide to us. We were present at the United Nations climate summit in Paris where we provided evidence and information on ocean acidification to politicians, including by making a film about ocean acidification and giving advice on marine monitoring services to the European Union Marine Framework Directive.

What is IMBER doing next?

We are currently co-designing a new research project for the Arctic Ocean with a broad set of Japanese stakeholders from across the fishing industry, fisheries management, weather prediction services and transportation. We have a Summer School in Brazil and a range of other workshops and meetings that will focus on the research questions arising from our new strategy. In line with the objectives of Future Earth around achieving impact, we are also improving our external engagement through opinion pieces and public outreach. We are, of course, providing a lot of input to the new Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on oceans.

Some of IMBER’s 2015 publications

IMBER scientists published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in 2015.

Allison E.H. and Basset H.R. 2015. Climate change in the ocean: Human impacts and responses. Science 350(6262): 778-782. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8721.

Liu K.-K., Emeis K.-C., Levin L. A., Naqvi W. and Roman M. 2015. Biogeochemistry – ecosystem interaction on changing continental margins in the Anthropocene. Journal of Marine Systems 141: 1-2. DOI 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.07.020

Hofmann E., Bundy A., Drinkwater K., Piola A.R., Avril B., Robinson C., Murphy E., Maddison L., Svendsen E., Hall J. and Xu Y. 2015. IMBER – Research for marine sustainability: Synthesis and the way forward. Anthropocene 12: 42-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2015.12.002

Gattuso J.-P., Magnan A., Billé R., Cheung W.W.L., Howes E.L., Joos F., Allemand D., Bopp L., Cooley S.R., Eakin C.M., Hoegh-Guldberg O., Kelly R.P., Pörtner H.-O., Rogers A.D., Baxter J.M., Laffoley D., Osborn D., Rankovic A., Rochette J., Sumaila U.R., Treyer S. and Turley C. 2015. Contrasting futures for ocean and society from different anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios. Science 349(6243). DOI 10.1126/science.aac4722

Bundy A., Chuenpagdee R., Cooley S.R., Defeo O., Glaeser B., Guillotreau P., Isaacs M., Mitsutaku M. and Perry R.I. 2015. A decision support tool for response to global change in marine systems: The IMBER-ADApT Framework. Fish and Fisheries. DOI: 10.1111/faf.12110

Further information on IMBER

Contact: Lisa Maddison


Twitter: @imber_ipo

Oceans Knowledge-Action Network

IMBER is coordinated globally from the Institute of Marine Research in Norway.