Oceans are complex systems and problems preventing a sustainable future require complex solutions. This can be achieved through innovative blends of natural and social sciences, with input from stakeholders. There is growing expectation that early career researchers (ECR), especially conservationists, should be more than natural scientists. ECR are expected to have skills in several domains, not all important to the quality of their work. Scientific skills range from knowledge of complex statistics to programming, and experience in different scientific fields. It is not only impossible to master all such tasks in a lifetime, much less as an ECR, but most importantly, attempting to do so means an ECR cannot master any single skill. This is especially true for minorities, non-native English speakers, and those who must juggle doing science with little or no funding, while having other jobs and family commitments. ECR are also expected to participate in activities that, while important for conservation, do not necessarily improve their scientific skills. These are social skills and range from policy engagement to science communication. This can contribute to developing mental health issues as it hinders having a healthy work-life balance. This expectation of engaging in extracurricular activities can overwhelm people with social anxiety and other difficulties with social interactions (e.g., people in the autism spectrum). Through collaborations, we can effectively draw on the more specialized skills of various people. Building an inclusive scientific community for ECR, therefore, calls for seeing diversity of skills, thoughts, and personality traits as its strength.
Food for Thought
Humans have been exploiting marine resources along the Levantine coast for millennia. Advances in biomolecular archaeology present novel opportunities to understand the exploitation of these taxa in antiquity. We discuss the potential insights generated by applying collagen peptide fingerprinting, ancient DNA analysis, and stable isotope analysis to groupers (Serranidae) and sea turtles (Chelonia mydas and Caretta caretta) in the Levant. When combined with traditional zooarchaeological techniques, biomolecular archaeology offers utility to further investigate human impacts on marine ecosystems.
Marine ecosystems contain over 80% of the world’s biodiversity, and many of these organisms have evolved unique adaptations enabling survival in diverse and challenging environments. The biodiversity within the world’s oceans is a virtually untapped resource for the isolation and development of novel compounds, treatments, and solutions to combat human disease. In particular, while over half of our anti-cancer drugs are derived from natural sources, almost all of these are from terrestrial ecosystems. Yet, even from the limited analyses to date, a number of marine-derived anti-cancer compounds have been approved for clinical use, and several others are currently in clinical trials. Here, we review the current suite of marine-derived anti-cancer drugs, with a focus on how these compounds act upon the hallmarks of cancer. We highlight potential marine environments and species that could yield compounds with unique mechanisms. Continued exploration of marine environments, along with the characterization and screening of their inhabitants for unique bioactive chemicals, could prove fruitful in the hunt for novel anti-cancer therapies.
Artificial intelligence is an exciting technological frontier for the coral reef remote sensing community, especially the emergence of machine learning algorithms for mapping and detecting features from aerial images of coral reef environments. Machine learning algorithms are finding uses in environmental remote sensing applications that are principally founded on three technological advances.
Life in the Pacific is characterised by interconnected, fast and slow socio-ecological change. These changes inevitably involve navigating questions of justice, as they shift who benefits from, owns, and governs resources, and whose claims and rights are recognized. Thus, greater understanding of perceptions of environmental justice within communities will be crucial to support fair adaptation. We contend that an environmental justice approach offers a theoretical foundation to help illuminate key concerns and trade-offs as communities navigate global change. Here, we apply an empirical environmental justice lens to the use and customary management of coastal resources in Papua New Guinea. Through two case studies, we examine perceptions of distributional, procedural and recognitional justice. We find similarities and differences. There were common concerns about the injustice of unequal fishing pressure and destructive methods, but in one case, concerns about people’s material needs overrode concerns about non-compliance and unequal costs. In the other case, deliberative decision-making served as a platform for not only negotiating and re-defining the distribution of costs and benefits, but also airing grievances, thereby strengthening recognition of different people’s values and concerns. In addition, we find that recognitional aspects of justice, such as respect, can confer or undermine the legitimacy of procedures for governing resources and thus making fair decisions about distribution. The heterogeneity of justice criteria in our cases emphasizes the need to elicit and understand plural justice perceptions in different contexts.
The ocean plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Earth System and in the provision of vital goods and services. The United Nations (UN) declared 2021–2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Roadmap for the Ocean Decade aims to achieve six critical societal outcomes (SOs) by 2030, through the pursuit of four objectives (Os). It specifically recognizes the scarcity of biological data for deep-sea biomes, and challenges the global scientific community to conduct research to advance understanding of deep-sea ecosystems to inform sustainable management. In this paper, we map four key scientific questions identified by the academic community to the Ocean Decade SOs: (i) What is the diversity of life in the deep ocean? (ii) How are populations and habitats connected? (iii) What is the role of living organisms in ecosystem function and service provision? and (iv) How do species, communities, and ecosystems respond to disturbance? We then consider the design of a global-scale program to address these questions by reviewing key drivers of ecological pattern and process. We recommend using the following criteria to stratify a global survey design: biogeographic region, depth, horizontal distance, substrate type, high and low climate hazard, fished/unfished, near/far from sources of pollution, licensed/protected from industry activities. We consider both spatial and temporal surveys, and emphasize new biological data collection that prioritizes southern and polar latitudes, deeper (> 2000 m) depths, and midwater environments. We provide guidance on observational, experimental, and monitoring needs for different benthic and pelagic ecosystems. We then review recent efforts to standardize biological data and specimen collection and archiving, making “sampling design to knowledge application” recommendations in the context of a new global program. We also review and comment on needs, and recommend actions, to develop capacity in deep-sea research; and the role of inclusivity - from accessing indigenous and local knowledge to the sharing of technologies - as part of such a global program. We discuss the concept of a new global deep-sea biological research program ‘Challenger 150,’ highlighting what it could deliver for the Ocean Decade and UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Relating the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 for Ocean and Life Below Water to the 16 remaining SDGs in the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda. A holistic approach that embraces sustainable Ocean stewardship informed by best available science, data and services to support society and the economy is required to create the ‘Future We Want’. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is an essential foundation to achieve this objective.
• The implementation of evidence in policymaking requires a guideline referenced by scientists and political makers.
• Five perspectives cover the points that should be considered in the process of producing and using evidence.
• Institutionalization via the science-policy interaction prescribes a way of evaluating the process of producing and using evidence.
• Reference framework promotes evidence-based policymaking and its implementation.
• Case study on mercury pollution proves how the framework provides specific guidance that can promote evidence-based policy and practice.
To generate innovative solutions for marine sustainability challenges, scientists, policymakers, and funders are increasingly calling for interdisciplinary research that transcends disciplinary boundaries. However, challenges associated with doing interdisciplinary research persist and undermine progress toward tackling the complex challenges faced by marine social-ecological systems. One barrier for engaging in effective interdisciplinary research is a lack of understanding about the institutional capacities that support interdisciplinary knowledge production. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews with members of the Centre for Marine Socioecology in Australia, we identify five principles that underpin effective interdisciplinary research organizations. The principles are: (1) support female leadership; (2) forge partnerships outside of academia; (3) develop impact-based performance metrics; (4) focus on long-term funding; and (5) cultivate a visible brand. Going forward, these principles could be used to inform organizational design that transforms institutional barriers into enablers of innovative interdisciplinary research for more sustainable, desirable, and equitable futures.
Male fin whales sing by producing 20 Hz pulses in regular patterns of inter-note intervals. While singing, fin whales may also alternate the frequency ranges of their notes. Different song patterns have been observed in different regions of the world's oceans. New song patterns suddenly emerging in an area have been hypothesized to either be indicators of new groups of whales in the area or signs of cultural transmission between groups. Since the status of fin whales around Hawaii is unknown and visual surveys are expensive and difficult to conduct in offshore areas, passive acoustic monitoring has been proposed as a way to monitor these whales. We used passive acoustic recordings from an array of 14 hydrophones to analyze the song patterns of 115 fin whale encounters made up of 50,034 unique notes off Kauai, Hawaii from 2011 to 2017. Fin whale singing patterns were more complicated than previously described. Fin whales off Hawaii sang in five different patterns made of two 20 Hz note types and both singlet and doublet inter-note interval patterns. The inter-note intervals present in their songs were 28/33 s for the lower frequency doublet, 30 s for the lower frequency singlet, 17/24 s for the higher frequency doublet, 17 s for the higher frequency singlet, and 12/20 s for the doublet that alternated between both note types. Some of these song patterns were unique to these fin whales in Hawaiian waters, while others were similar to song patterns recorded from fin whales off the U.S. west coast. Individual fin whales often utilized several different song patterns which suggests that multiple song patterns are not necessarily indicators of different individuals or groups. The dominant song pattern also changed over these years. Cultural transmission may have occurred between fin whales in Hawaiian waters and off the U.S. west coast, which has resulted in similar songs being present at both locations but on lagged timescales. Alternatively, groups occupying the Hawaiian waters could shift over time resulting in different song patterns becoming dominant. This work has implications for the population structure and behavior of Hawaii fin whales.