For many of us jaded New Yorkers, the United Nations is merely a reason that traffic is periodically terrible on the Upper East Side, when world leaders gather. Perhaps now, after the US Administration has announced it will take steps to pull the United States out of the UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change, we can appreciate that the snarled traffic symbolizes something incredible – hundreds of countries coming together to grapple with humanity’s greatest challenges, from war, to climate change, and now to ocean conservation.
OpenChannels has a team of dedicated bloggers addressing targeted aspects of ocean planning and management, including communication, technology, ocean uses, and more. Our bloggers are experts in the field, drawing from their own knowledge and experience.
The OpenChannels community can also benefit from your knowledge and experience. We appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this field and welcome the use of OpenChannels for sharing these views. Do you have a perspective on ocean planning you would like to share? We'll help you do that right now: just click the button above and follow the prompts. If you are interested in blogging but have questions, please email Raye Evrard at raye [at] octogroup.org. We look forward to your contribution!
The OpenChannels Team
Curious about implementing SeaSketch and mapping tools to solve sustainability challenges with remote communities? For the past four years, PhD Candidate Kitty Currier has been putting some serious thought into how SeaSketch and other mapping technologies can help people work together collaboratively. Her field work took her to a small community in Bali, Indonesia, where locals used SeaSketch over a cellular data connection. We asked Kitty a few questions when she returned from her year in the field:
Planning a new research or restoration project with openness in-mind from the start ensures you’ll have the funding and time to broadly share your results.
Open Science is a multi-headed hydra of concepts and jargon that can mean many different things to different people and organizations. There are basically two main pillars of Open Science: reducing barriers to access and increasing transparency. For a quick starter to the many facets of Open Science, the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Horizons magazine covered this topic in their September 2016 issue (PDF).
This blog will address some of the core tenets of Open Science, why they are important, and how to plan a project with Open Science principles from the start.
Results from the March 2017 OpenChannels Literature Library Survey
On March 21st we launched a survey to subscribers of the OpenChannels Literature Update to solicit feedback on how we could make the service more valuable to our members. In addition, we wanted to know how many of our subscribers have access to pay-walled content. That is, academic research that requires a subscription or per-article fee to read the full-text. The following blog gives an overview of how our subscribers access pay-walled content, and the changes we're making to the Literature Library and the Literature Update newsletter because of these results.
We have a lot of data about the ocean, but much of it is in obscure databases – unintegrated, unanalyzed, and largely inaccessible for the public. There is so much we could do with all that information if it was easy to visualize and interpret. At our fingertips, we could have alerts about the presence of water pollution and jellyfish at beaches. We could track seafood and make sure it is fresh, sustainable, and the supply chain is free of the human rights violations that currently proliferate. We could have an early warning system for ocean acidification, before it decimates oyster aquaculture.
Here we summarize new research exploring how scientific data in decision support tools, like MarineMap or SeaSketch, come to be seen as credible by stakeholders and considers what happens in participatory decision making when a designated “authoritative” data source does not match stakeholders’ experiential knowledge. Amanda and her co-author Nicole Ardoin argue that authoritative data sources should be seen as the outcome of a social learning process, as well as a technological object.
Given the election, it seems wise to relinquish expectations of US federal leadership on ocean or climate policy. Our anti-science (among other deeply concerning antis) president-elect and his appointees have sent clear signals about their disregard for our environment and the ethos of sustainability. Yet, a healthy ocean is critical to food security, a stable climate, and the livelihoods and cultures of coastal communities around the globe.
By Dr. Francine Kershaw and Grace Goldberg
Genetic data is often overlooked and geneticists are rarely at the top of the marine planning party guest list. This results in a significant gap in the protection of evolutionary processes, that are essential for the long-term survival species in the face of environmental change. Genetic tools provide unique information useful for marine protection in a way that complements other approaches, such as satellite tracks and habitat mapping.
So why isn’t genetics being systematically used in marine spatial protection? Research suggests that genetic data is considered valuable by planners and policy-makers, but because it is generally dispersed, inaccessible, or misunderstood.
Human well-being and human rights are inextricably tied to the health of the ocean, yet ocean conservation work is often isolated. Last month, as the United National General Assembly focused on tackling the grand challenges represented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both the ocean goal (aka Goal 14, “Life Under Water”) and me, as a marine biologist, were a bit lonely.
At one event, guests were asked to put a sticker on their name tag indicating the goal they most supported. Of course, I chose the ocean goal: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” And until a colleague arrived, I was the only one representing the ocean. What was supposed to be a conversation starter turned me into a wallflower. It was a poignant reminder of how misunderstood and marginalized ocean conservation issues often are — and to our global detriment.
The U.S. Department of State is set to host the third annual Our Ocean conference this week. This gathering of political leaders, philanthropists, scientists, diplomats, NGO executives, filmmakers, and private sector leaders, will be focused on the themes of marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, and marine pollution. Many of us in the ocean conservation and policy community are awaiting the outcomes of this meeting with baited breath.
Perhaps the greatest value of the previous conferences is that they served as a deadline and platform for launching important new initiatives for ocean conservation. And given the dire and worsening state of our ocean, commitment to bold actions are sorely needed.