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] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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It’s been three months since the March for Science, when over a million people, in over 600 cities, with almost 300 partner organizations took to the streets to champion science for the common good. It was an incredible day. From the stage at the DC march, I looked out on the crowd – well over 100,000 people were standing there in the rain. It blew my mind.

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Coming off the heels of the Hawai‘i Conservation Conference, I am left with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was even more devastated than usual by the evidence experts laid bare about the seemingly insurmountable problems facing our natural world, our oceans in particular. On the other hand, I encountered some of the most passionate, optimistic and – this is what makes all the difference – radical thinkers, that I slowly began to feel a small stirring of hope. But still, I feel that it is going to take more than that to help lift me out of my state-of-the-environment depression. I have become quite jaded over the years, and I have been all too aware that I was becoming frighteningly despondent, nearly giving in and giving up. Just like much of the world.

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Posted on July 19, 2017 - 12:41pm, by SeaSketch

To create a strategic, ecosystem-based marine spatial plan, the Swedish government has developed the Symphony analytical tools using an integrated cumulative impacts framework. Modeling cumulative impacts allows them to better understand how multiple stressors affect a mosaic of ecosystems with varying vulnerability across space, and thus plan strategically to reduce impacts. Bridging the gap from synthesis science to informed decision-making requires the novel analysis to be incorporated into a planning conversation. By embedding the Symphony analysis in the SeaSketch platform, we are able to give a broad set of participants the ability to sketch zoning plans, evaluate the cumulative impacts, compare hypothetical zoning scenarios to a baseline of impacts, and co-develop a marine spatial plan informed by sophisticated science.

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The Ocean Tipping Points collaborative launches new science-based guide, tools and resources to support management of a changing ocean

From the coral reefs of Hawaii to the kelp-strewn coasts of British Columbia, scientists and ocean managers have been working together for the past several years to understand ecosystem tipping points in an effort to learn how to prevent or reverse them. The Ocean Tipping Points team is excited to launch a new web portal of practical tools, resources and in-depth research to help marine managers and stakeholders predict, prevent or recover from dramatic ecosystem changes. (continued after video)

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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.

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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:

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Posted on April 10, 2017 - 4:42pm, by nwehner

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.

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Posted on March 28, 2017 - 4:57pm, by nwehner

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.

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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.

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Posted on December 10, 2016 - 6:53pm, by SeaSketch

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.