The ocean forms a globally connected ecosystem and highly dynamic environment of physical, chemical, and biological interaction.
It maintains a great diversity of life, exchanges mass and heat with the atmosphere and controls our climate. The ocean, including coastal and nearshore areas, thus provide services essential for life on earth and to the history, culture, and livelihoods of people across the globe.
However, the ocean is also facing multiple challenges from climate change, overfishing, acidification, de-oxygenation, and pollution. Accordingly, the United Nations referred to the importance of a healthy ocean in several of their Sustainable Development Goals.
The Future Earth Ocean Knowledge-Action Network seeks to address these challenges. We’re supporting solutions-oriented research, engagement with stakeholders from diverse sectors and regions, and working with the strong fundamental research and innovative agendas of international marine projects in and beyond Future Earth.
We must generate the knowledge that decision-makers need to preserve and enhance the health and value of the ocean. This will require defining the problems facing the ocean and its interfaces with the adjacent land and overlying atmosphere, understanding associated mechanisms, impacts, and consequences, and directing research towards their solutions.
High-level key questions include:
- How do human activities, combined with natural variability, affect the health of the ocean, coasts, and their environmental and socio-economic services?
- How can detrimental effects on ocean health be avoided?
- How can ocean health and services to people be preserved or restored?
Engagement of a broad range of researchers and societal partners is central to the work of the Ocean Network.
As such, Future Earth will facilitate transdisciplinary research that can be used by policy-makers, businesses and communities to achieve sustainable interactions of humans with the ocean at large. We will also work to build scientific capacity to empower researchers and societal partners worldwide to assess the state of the oceanic and coastal domains and improve their management and governance.