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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00395

A response to scientific and societal needs for marine biological observations

  • 1CSIRO Oceans and Atmopshere, Australia
  • 2Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • 3Departamento de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela
  • 4College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, United States
  • 5Pacific Community (SPC), New Caledonia
  • 6Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (Belgium), Belgium
  • 7CPR Survey, Marine Biological Association, United Kingdom
  • 8Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Italy
  • 9Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa), Italy
  • 10Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany
  • 11Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan
  • 12United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), United Kingdom
  • 13Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, United States
  • 14Smithsonian Institution, United States
  • 15Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, United States
  • 16Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO), Kenya
  • 17Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • 18International Water Management Institute (Laos), Laos
  • 19Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France
  • 20Marine Mammal Commission, United States
  • 21University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

Development of global ocean observing capacity for the biological EOVs is on the cusp of a step-change. Current capacity to automate data collection and processing and to integrate the resulting data streams with complementary data, openly available as FAIR data, is certain to dramatically increase the amount and quality of information and knowledge available to scientists and decision makers into the future. There is little doubt that scientists will continue to expand their understanding of what lives in the ocean, where it lives and how it is changing. However, whether this expanding information stream will inform policy and management or be incorporated into indicators for national reporting is more uncertain. Coordinated data collection including open sharing of data will help produce the consistent evidence-based messages that are valued by managers. The GOOS Biology and Ecosystems Panel is working with other global initiatives to assist this coordination by defining and implementing Essential Ocean Variables. The biological EOVs have been defined, are being updated following community feedback, and their implementation is underway. In 2019, the coverage and precision of a global ocean observing system capable of addressing key questions for the next decade will be quantified, and its potential to support the goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development identified. Developing a global ocean observing system for biology and ecosystems requires parallel efforts in improving evidence-based monitoring of progress against international agreements and the open data, reporting and governance structures that would facilitate the uptake of improved information by decision makers.

Keywords: Essential Ocean Variables (EOV), Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), capacity development, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ocean observing, Un decade for sustainable development

Received: 21 Dec 2018; Accepted: 25 Jun 2019.

Edited by:

Marlon R. Lewis, Dalhousie University, Canada

Reviewed by:

Stanley K. Juniper, University of Victoria, Canada
Robert Blasiak, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden  

Copyright: © 2019 Bax, Miloslavich, Muller-Karger, Allain, Appeltans, Batten, Benedetti-Cecchi, Buttigieg, Chiba, Costa, Duffy, Dunn, Johnson, Kudela, Obura, Rebelo, Shin, Simmons and Tyack. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Nicholas J. Bax, CSIRO Oceans and Atmopshere, Hobart, 7004, Australia,
Dr. Patricia Miloslavich, University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Australia,