Show advancements in the past year
While the intensity and scale of ocean uses has reached unprecedented levels and traditional ocean industries have been joined by emerging and new sectors,1 the tools and resources available to us to scientifically explore this dynamic environment are also unprecedented. Ongoing science, monitoring technology and innovations in bio-prospecting mean that we are gathering unprecedented amounts of ocean data that can be put to a wide variety of uses, from supporting conservation policy to developing exciting new biotechnology applications ranging from the development of pharmaceuticals to the creation of novel bioremediants and enzymes.
Yet despite tremendous technological advances and achievements, the ocean science and innovation landscape is highly uneven. Few countries have the capacity to observe how ocean temperatures, currents, oxygenation, sea life, and ocean plastic vary across depths and over time. At a global level, large gaps exist in understanding around these issues, and technological and resource allocation limitations are substantial hurdles. Likewise, the connection between people and the ocean — whether in small communities or megacities — is rapidly changing in many places, and is a key component of understanding changing perceptions of ocean stewardship. What is known about changes in ocean conditions and humanity’s relationship with the ocean underscores an urgent need for new paradigms of ocean stewardship alongside efforts to achieve a truly equitable and sustainable “blue economy” for the future.2,3
Selection of GESDA Best Reads and further key reports
The 2020 report on the Ocean Genome from Blasiak et al is a result of efforts to help meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and describes the state of understanding associated with equitable and sustainable use of the ocean’s genetic resources in order to assist policymaking.4 It has also been used as the basis for a scientific review paper.5 In 2019, Levin et al reported on the urgent need for ocean observation at depths greater than 200m.6 Also in 2019, Rabone et al surveyed best-practice examples associated with the genetic resources found in marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.7