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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.

The excitement around Sustainable Development Goals has faded somewhat since the United Nations meeting in 2015, and now comes the less inspiring dirty work of analysis and policy-setting to achieve them.

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.

September 27, 2017 | BiodiversityEcology

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.

August 15, 2017 | BiodiversityEcology

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.

June 21, 2017 | BiodiversityEcology

Madingley is a global computational model. To a broad approximation, the Madingley model represents all (most) forms of life.

November 22, 2016 | Ecology

Spatial differentiation of marine eutrophication damage indicators based on species density” was recently published in Ecological Indicators, co-authored by Nereus Alumnus Miranda Jones (UNEP-WCMC) and Nereus Director of Science William Cheung.

November 4, 2016 | CoastalEcology

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.

October 26, 2016 | BiodiversityEcology

Nereus Director of Science William Cheung gave a keynote entitled “Applying macroecology to project future marine ecosystems under climate change” at the British Ecological Society’s Aquatic Macroecology Meeting in London on September 30, 2016.

October 1, 2016 | Climate ChangeEcology

This chapter explores recent and future impacts of rapid temperature changes in the North Sea, identified as a ‘hot spot’ of climate change, with respect to biological, operational, and economic concerns in fisheries.

‘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.

Nereus Alumni at ETH Zurich Thomas Fröelicher attended The Royal Society’s meeting on ‘Ocean Ventilation and Deoxygenation in a Warming World’ on September 12 and 13, in London, United Kingdom.

September 15, 2016 | Climate ChangeEcologyFisheries

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.’

September 14, 2016 | BiodiversityEcology

Explaining Ocean Warming is a comprehensive report produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) looking at the impacts of warming on ocean life, ecosystems, and goods and services. The report is the work of 80 scientists from 12 countries, launched during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, September 1-10 in Hawaii. Nereus Program research was contributed to two chapters within the report.

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.

August 24, 2016 | BiodiversityEcology

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.

August 22, 2016 | BiodiversityEcology

Nereus Fellow at UBC Muhammed Oyinlola attended the ClimEco5 Summer School organized by the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research project (IMBER), titled ‘Towards more resilient oceans: Predicting and projecting future changes in the ocean and their impacts on human societies’. The summer school took place from August 10 to 17, in Natal, Brazil.

August 19, 2016 | Climate ChangeEcology

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.

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 Program Fellow at Princeton University Natasha Henschke attended the ICES/PICES 6th Zooplankton Production Symposium “New Challenges in a Changing Ocean” from May 9-13 2016, in Bergen, Norway.

May 17, 2016 | Ecology

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.

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in 2013 and 2014, highlighted the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation of marine systems to climate change and ocean acidification.

Climate change is expected to have major impacts on the ocean, the species that live there, and the people who rely it for their food and livelihood. Since the beginning of the 20th century, CO2 emissions from human activities have altered physical and chemical properties of the ocean. The ocean has become warmer and, in some areas, less oxygenated, which has caused changes in the productivity and distribution of marine species.

For three days from January 18th to 20th, Monterey, California, has become an aggregation hotspot for more than 100 of the world’s foremost experts on the conservation and management of the three bluefin tuna species that inhabit our global ocean.

January 27, 2016 | EcologyFisheries

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.

Based on the current trajectory of human-induced impacts on the environment, it is clear that we are pushing the oceans and marine ecosystems to unprecedented limits.

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?

Colleen Petrik, Senior Nereus Fellow at Princeton, visited the Stockholm Resilience Centre at the University of Stockholm from October 26 to 30 to collaborate with former Nereus Fellow James Watson.

November 25, 2015 | Climate ChangeEcology

Gabriel Reygondeau, Nereus Fellow (UBC), has co-authored a paper entitled “Reliability of spatial and temporal patterns of C. finmarchicus inferred from the CPR survey” in the Journal of Marine Systems.

November 23, 2015 | Ecology

The fourth Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) IMBIZO (a Zulu word meaning ‘meeting or gathering’) workshop took place at the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia and Geofisica (OGS) in Trieste, Italy, from October 26 to 30th, 2015.

November 20, 2015 | Ecology

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.

New media coverage from Science, BBC News, South China Morning Post, International Business Times, Undercurrent News and more.

November 13, 2015 | Climate ChangeEcologyFisheries

“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.