Research Topic

Future Directions in Research on Marine Megafauna

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About this Research Topic

Marine megafauna are iconic and charismatic. The threatened or endangered status of many species, the great economic importance of some taxa and their frequent role as keystone species in ecosystems has resulted in many becoming flagships for research by both professional and citizen scientists.

The ...

Marine megafauna are iconic and charismatic. The threatened or endangered status of many species, the great economic importance of some taxa and their frequent role as keystone species in ecosystems has resulted in many becoming flagships for research by both professional and citizen scientists.

The body size and mobility of marine megafauna means that their populations tend to be spread across wide ranges, multiple management jurisdictions and national boundaries. In contrast, research efforts are often compartmentalized, separated by both geography and approach. These barriers to progress have begun falling away in recent years, as researchers recognize the imperative to pool data and resources into collaborative studies. As these efforts begin to gather momentum, it is now an appropriate time to look forward to the key research directions that these new efforts are taking, the ground they have covered and the goals to which they aspire. We invite researchers working on different components of the fauna to identify future directions in research for each of the species or groups of similar species that are encompassed by the term marine megafauna. This includes marine mammals, marine reptiles, birds and fishes. The aim of this Research Topic is to provide a consensus on a roadmap for future research, to identify pitfalls and shortcuts and to accelerate progress towards key goals that are informed by and tailored to the needs of the community of researchers working on the biology and ecology of these animals.

Photo Credit: Wayne Osborn


Keywords: innovation, relevance, conservation, management, science


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