Nereus fellow Robert Blasiak writes about the negotiations at the United Nations (UN) on conserving biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and the timely appearance of marine genetic resources in the mainstream media.
Nereus fellows Robert Blasiak (Stockholm Resilience Center) and Harriet Harden-Davies (University of Wollongong) both appear in The New York Times article ‘What 13,000 Patents Involving the DNA of Sea Life Tell Us About the Future’. Both fellows attended the United Nations debate earlier in September, about the future global legal framework for genetic resources on the high seas, and were interviewed for the article.
The negotiations on the fate of biodiversity in 46% of our planet, or the high seas, have begun. Since the aftermath of World War II, the distribution and intensity of anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) have been increasing almost continuously. After almost two decades of discussions about the need to better protect the high seas, the international community mobilized.
An international team of researchers has developed a comprehensive set of criteria to help the International Seabed Authority (ISA) protect local biodiversity from deep-sea mining activities. These guidelines should help identify areas of particular environmental importance where no mining should occur.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are an admirable set of targets set out to achieve a better world–but how do they interact with each other? Are some more pivotal to the success of all? Possibly.
A story of marine genetic resources with an unusual set of characters: a fuzzy little five-inch worm, the doomed Roman city of Pompeii, the world’s largest chemical company, and a cosmetic skin cream.
As coastal and surface fisheries are depleted and fishers turn to the deep sea to fill their nets, scientists are developing innovative ways to locate and protect undiscovered deep-sea habitats.
Many marine organisms have evolved unique and rare adaptations to allow them to survive in some of the most extreme and varied environments on earth. The genetic sequences responsible for these traits could have applications in anything from pharmaceuticals to biofuels.
Who controls the narrative on the environment? Nereus researchers have been delving deeper into work on coastal Indigenous fisheries and as they develop relationships with Indigenous community members around the world, some are starting to rethink many of the core concepts of ocean governance.
By Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, Nereus Program Fellow at Duke University
Due to their wide-ranging swimming behaviors, migratory fish, marine mammal, seabird and sea turtle species experience a variety, and an increasing amount, of anthropogenic pressures over the course of their lives. These threats, including climate change, overfishing, and marine pollution, combined with conservation strategies that largely fail to consider spatial connectivity over the life cycle, are resulting in declining populations worldwide.
The mesopelagic zone of the ocean, which includes the 200 to 1000 m below the ocean surface, is poorly understood. Our limited scope of understanding for these areas may become increasingly problematic, as they may be vulnerable to global issues such as climate warming, deoxygenation, acidification, commercial fishing, and seabed mining.
The high seas — also called international waters — comprise 64% of the world’s oceans and 45% of the earth’s surface. They are shared by the world but governed by no one country. That means that the incredible biodiversity of the high seas, from seaweeds to fish to sharks, is not currently protected.
Due to the expansion of fishing practices, fish catches have become stagnant at best while global fishing efforts continue to grow, ultimately creating major stresses on marine resources. Fisheries impacts on both coastal and deep-sea ecosystems are well understood and documented; however, the biological and ecological impacts of fishing on open-ocean systems are not well studied or documented.
In his newly published chapter “Wilderness protection in Estonia“, Richard Caddell, Nereus Fellow at Utrecht University, uses Estonia as a case study for European wilderness management.
Nereus Fellow at Duke University Daniel Dunn attended the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies on Accelerating Progress Towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which took place September 26-29th, 2016 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
‘Aliens’, ‘jelly-balls’, ‘globs’, ‘buckets of snot’, and ‘sea-walnuts’. These are the names media have used to describe salps, as mentioned by Nereus Fellow Natasha Henschke, Princeton University, in her recently published paper “Rethinking the Roles of Salps in the Ocean”.
This year, the Nereus Program will hold a seminar series with UBC’s Green College on “Adapting to global changes in oceans and fisheries.” This series will consist of seven lectures looking at how ocean changes are affecting environments and people.
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released their Methodological Assessment of Scenarios & Models of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services, for which Nereus Director of Science William Cheung was a coordinating lead author, as well as a contributing author for Chapter 5.
The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee related to Marine Biological Diversity Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction took place from August 26th to September 9th at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, United States.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature‘s World Conservation Congress took place in Honolulu, Hawaii, from September 1 to 5.
Nereus Director of Science William Cheung was a plenary speaker at the ‘International Conference on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Support of Decision-Making.’
Open data is critically important for effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Open data enables effective and efficient environmental impact assessments, area-based management, sharing of non-monetary benefits of marine genetic resources and achieving marine technology transfer.
Biomass is the mass of organisms in an ecosystem or community; it is thought of in terms of energy for the next trophic level – the higher chain in the food web. For example, the biomass of plankton, which may be eaten by herring, which may be eaten by tuna.
This blog explores the collaborative process I followed as a Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program consulting artist. I was commissioned to create 17 illustrations celebrating the beauty and complexity of our planet’s oceans and fisheries.
The International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) took place from July 30th to August 3rd in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. The congress brings together marine conservation professionals and students in order to “develop new and powerful tools to further marine conservation science and policy”.
alps, a type of gelatinous zooplankton, are often confused with jellyfish and while jellyfish research has increased drastically, salps have been ignored. The authors write that there “has been no comprehensive study on the biology or ecological impact of salps in almost 20 years”. This paper looks at four misconceptions about salps, including that salps are jellyfish, salps are rare, salps are trophic dead ends, and salps have a minor role in biogeochemical cycles.
“I wanted to look at contemporary species distributions, arguing that we have so little data and know so little about the distribution of a lot of species that the logical first step is to look at the contemporary distribution,” says Laurens Geffert, Nereus Fellow at Cambridge/UNEP-WCMC.
Nereus Fellow at Princeton University Natasha Henschke attended the 5th International Jellyfish Bloom Symposium from May 30 to June 3 in Barcelona, Spain.
The Nereus Program was created to look at ocean questions that need input from experts on a range of topics from around the world. This past May 30 to June 3, nearly 50 of these experts gathered at the University of British Columbia for the Nereus Program Annual General Meeting.
In our current eco-friendly world, where climate change makes front-page news and the killing of a lion launches thousands of Facebook posts, how can a porpoise be nearing extinction and most of the world not even know of its existence?
Nereus Fellow Daniel Dunn (Duke) attended the Convention on Biological Diversity’s twentieth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice on April 30th in Montreal.
Nereus Fellow Phil Underwood (Cambridge/UNEP-WCMC) gave a presentation at the Friends of Madingley Symposium on May 6th at the David Attenborough Building at the University of Cambridge, which aimed to bring together the community of researchers working on the Madingley Model and to discuss the latest advancements.
Nereus Senior Research Fellow Daniel Dunn (Duke University) attended the workshop “A Conservation Agenda for Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction” hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy, and Natural Resource Governance at the University of Cambridge from May 10 to 11.
Floating marine species and objects can drift from one area in the surface ocean to any other spot across the globe in less than a decade, finds a new study published in Nature Communications by Nereus Program alumnus James Watson, currently a research scientist at Stockholm Resilience Centre.
“Seasonal phytoplankton blooms in the North Atlantic linked to the overwintering strategies of copepods,” co-authored by Nereus Fellow Rebecca Asch (Princeton University), was recently published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.
Richard Caddell, Nereus Fellow at Utrecht, has contributed a chapter entitled “‘Only connect’? Regime interaction and global biodiversity conservation” to the Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law, to be published June 2016.
Nereus Director (Science) William Cheung was invited as a “resource person” at the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Methodological Assessment of Scenarios and Modelling of Biodiversity and Ecosystem services, in De Bilt, The Netherlands, from January 25 to 27.
Nereus research reported on in the Washington Post, the Vancouver Sun, CTV News, Global News, NPR, Hakai magazine, The Tyee, Times Colonist and Vancouver Observer.
Climate change could affect temperatures all over the world, but what may not be immediately apparent is that climate change will affect ocean temperatures.
From November 20 to December 11, leaders from more than 195 countries will meet in Paris to discuss the future of the planet. But will oceans be on the agenda?
Water spills from the edge of a giant, melting iceberg on the cover of the November 2015 issue of Science. The special issue focused on the effects of climate change on our ocean systems, and highlighted research by Dr. William Cheung, an Associate Professor with the Changing Ocean Research Unit at the University of British Columbia, and Director (Science) of the Nereus Program.
“Boom or Bust: The Future of Fish in the South China Sea” has been published by William Cheung, Director of the Nereus Program (Science), and Rashid Sumaila, Research Director of the OceanCanada Partnership (UBC), for the OceanAsia project.
In A Sand County Almanac, the landmark book on wilderness, ecology, and conservation, we are offered a short anecdote regarding a changing environment:
“I had a bird dog named Gus. When Gus couldn’t find pheasants he worked up an enthusiasm for Sora rails and meadowlarks. This whipped-up zeal for unsatisfactory substitutes masked his failure to find the real thing. It assuaged his inner frustration.” – Aldo Leopold (1949).
William Cheung, Director of the Nereus Program (Science), and Gabriel Reygondeau, Nereus Fellow (UBC), are co-authors of a chapter on The Southern Ocean, published in the Ocean and Climate Platform’s Scientific Notes.