Research Topic

Ocean research priorities and prioritizing ocean research

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What science is needed to support and facilitate effective ocean governance? Given the magnitude and diversity of the challenges that are today affecting oceans, how can the natural and social sciences help decisions-makers and the public better understand those threats, why they are important, and the ...

What science is needed to support and facilitate effective ocean governance? Given the magnitude and diversity of the challenges that are today affecting oceans, how can the natural and social sciences help decisions-makers and the public better understand those threats, why they are important, and the possible solutions that can be crafted to ensure ocean health and sustainability?

In recent years a variety of ‘big question’ and horizon scanning exercises have more generally identified areas of research important for environmental sustainability. In a recent synthesis of those exercises in Frontiers in Marine Science (Scientists' perspectives on global ocean research priorities, Frontiers in Marine Science 1: 36 [10.3389/fmars.2014.00036]), 67 research questions potentially important for supporting the development of effective ocean policy and management were identified. The questions were drawn from the physical, ecological and social sciences, representing input from the thousands of scientists who participated in 22 different big question and horizon scanning exercises from 2006. Those 67 were ranked by almost 2200 scientists who participated in the survey.

In this Research Topic collection, our goal is to solicit submissions that could elucidate what science is needed to fill the gaps that currently constrain effective ocean policy. Specifically, we are encouraging submissions that: (1) more fully examine the current status of ocean challenges and emerging research opportunities; (2) explore how important questions may vary by region and for particular ecological, social and governance contexts; and (3) improve our understanding how cross-disciplinary science can contribute to policies supporting sustainable ocean use and governance.

We would welcome a variety of types of contributions to this Research Topic, potentially including mini-reviews or reviews, opinions, perspectives, or other contributions. We encourage submissions that focus specifically on the 67 existing research questions, that compare and contrast those ‘bottom-up’ priorities with priorities identified by national or regional organizations, or that explore opportunities for improving the communication and uptake of ocean science by policy-makers, business organizations, and the public.

Our hope is that submissions to this Research Topic will act as a catalyst for stimulating broad discussions about the science needed to help societies respond to global environmental change in marine environments. Further, we hope that the submissions help advance thinking about how ocean research needs can be identified, tracked, and prioritized in the future.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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