“The Olympic Coast as a Sentinel: Tribal Communities at the Forefront of Ocean Change” Premiers September 24 at the River & Ocean Film Festival

Trailer for “The Olympic Coast as a Sentinel: Tribal Communities at the Forefront of Ocean Change,” produced by Washington Sea Grant in partnership with Hoh Tribe, Makah Tribe, Quileute Tribe, Quinault Indian Nation, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Olympic National Park, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab, UW Applied Physics Lab, UW Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, and University of Connecticut. Jan Newton, co-director of EarthLab member organization Washington Ocean Acidification Center, is affiliated with this film.

The worldwide premier of this film will be held on September 24, 2020 at the Washington Sea Grant’s 7th Annual River and Ocean Film Festival. Registration is encouraged! Register here.

This year, the festival be presented as an online event starting on September 17. Streaming episodes will be posted online for viewing from the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere you happen to be with your favorite internet-connected device. This collection of short films highlight the human and natural dimensions of the West End of the Olympic Peninsula.


Memorial University professor part of global effort to better understand our relationship with the oceans

Gerald Singh is a geography professor at Memorial University. — Contributed

 

Gerald Singh and others from MUN contributing to international project involving researchers from 21 countries

An international multimillion-dollar research project exploring societal issues emerging from our interactions with the ocean will receive valuable input from faculty and students at Memorial University, working towards the goal of ensuring more sustainable oceans.

The Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center at the University of Washington’s EarthLab is a new 10-year, $32.5-million US research partnership between the University of Washington and the Nippon Foundation of Japan. Researchers from 21 universities around the world will contribute to the multidisciplinary collaborative project, including MUN geography professor Gerald Singh.

“The reason it’s called Ocean Nexus is it’s really trying to understand the ocean not just as a biophysical entity, but basically how the ocean intersects the nexus between people and the ocean environments,” said Singh.

“Our research program is really about doing highly interdisciplinary research trying to understand… how humans affect the ocean, but also how we’re affected by it.”

A new international research project will explore ways to prioritize the sustainable development of the oceans’ many resources. — SALTWIRE NETWORK FILE PHOTO

A former Nippon Foundation fellow who worked on its Ocean Nereus Program, a predecessor of sorts to the Ocean Nexus Center, Singh will work on the project alongside PhD students and post-doctoral researchers at MUN to examine Canadian ocean governance. This work will take into consideration what the policies hope to achieve and will assess their ability to respond to climate change.

“I’m, at heart, an interdisciplinary researcher,” said Singh, whose research interests include the economy, sustainable communities and climate change. “Doing collaborative work like this across institutions, across different parts of the world, is to me the most interesting, as well as the most rewarding kind of work I can do. Especially since a lot of the work I do, I try to connect with federal and international government agencies. That would be difficult to do outside of a large network like this.”

 

Fishery, offshore components

The project has five primary themes — ocean and human health; ocean economy and livelihood; ocean people and society; equitable ocean governance; and ocean climate and extreme events.

Specific to Newfoundland and Labrador, Singh and his colleagues will look at how Canadian ocean policy relates to the management of fisheries, investigating whether it adequately addresses the impacts of climate change. He’s also hiring a post-doctoral researcher through the project specializing in environmental impact assessments for offshore oil and gas development.

“Doing collaborative work like this across institutions, across different parts of the world, is to me the most interesting, as well as the most rewarding kind of work I can do.” — Gerald Singh

“One thing we hope to really do together in the Newfoundland context, and maybe beyond, is think about how environmental impact assessment … how it operates to try to ensure sustainable development,” Singh said. “Is it maybe too focused on the development side of it, or is it more focused on the environmental protection side, and whose voices are really being heard in making those decisions?”

Singh acknowledges there are overriding narratives often put out there suggesting the ocean is simply a resource or needs to be conserved at all costs. The project takes the approach of honing in on sustainable and equitable development, looking to strike a balance between those narratives.

“We’re much less interested in just pursuing one of those sides versus the other,” he said. “One of the big reasons the Ocean Nexus program came about is because we do see in some circles more of a lack of critical perspectives across those topics.”

Through this project, MUN will become part an existing network of over 30 institutions located throughout the world.

“I would say through MUN, we’re leading a lot of the analysis on ocean governance and its relation to the global sustainable development goals,” Singh said, who is also a part of the Ocean Frontier Institute, a research network connecting universities in Atlantic Canada.

This article was originally published by The Telegram


Ocean Nexus Releases Report: Adapting Research Methodologies in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Download the report

Ocean Nexus Center investigators have collaborated in the creation of a new resource for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers whose work is being affected by the COVID-19 virus, entitled, Adapting Research Methodologies in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The new report was led by investigators from the University of Technology Sydney, Dr. Kate Barclay and PhD Candidate Sonia Garcia Garcia, who are part of a group working on the social science of fisheries.

“For people working in the social sciences fieldwork, interviewing people, and observing or participating in research events or policy meetings, are a vital part of our data collection. For PhD students and postdoctoral fellows the pressure is potentially greater, with less experience to draw on in pivoting research methods, and with finding contracts and scholarships being time constrained,” said Professor Barclay. “For that reason we compiled this collection of journal articles and other information on research methods, with a particular focus on qualitative social science research, and an empirical focus on ocean-related research.”

While the primary aim of the report is to support Ocean Nexus ocean equity researchers, the resources contained in the report are intended for all investigators who are involved in social science qualitative or mixed methods research. 

The report includes two sections: an overview of qualitative, semi-qualitative and quantitative methodologies and methods that may provide practical and achievable alternatives for research design and data collection, and a list of online resources on how this adaptation may be taking place in the near future.

“Much of the way we can perform research has changed due to the COVID-19 virus. We do not know how long these necessary mobility restrictions will be in place but we do know that ocean equity issues cannot wait. We must adapt to the new environment and reimagine how we conduct social science research and data collection,” said Yoshitaka Ota, director of Ocean Nexus. “Doctoral and postdoctoral students are receiving a lot of wonderful support from their departments and supervisors right now and we hope that this resource can help them further.”

UW EarthLab recently launched The Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center to develop research over the next 10 years that bridges the gap between decision makers, policy makers and the communities most affected and dependent on the oceans. A main pillar of Ocean Nexus programming includes training early-career scientists who are interested in a human-centered approach to oceans research. 

Researchers from over 20 universities and institutions from around the world, in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and more, have already signed on with Ocean Nexus to co-create research that directly benefits those impacted by misrepresentation and unjust ocean management and development.

Download the report

Note: A 2nd edition of the report was published in December 2020.


D4D Project Launch Under New Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center at UW

This blog was originally posted by the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the UW iSchool.

School of fish
Credit: Doug Finney CC BY-NC 2.0

By: Chris Rothschild Senior Research Scientist at TASCHA and a Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Fellow

We live in a data driven world – a world that is over 70% ocean. Thanks to recent technological developments, massive amounts of environmental data can now be captured and fed into the strategic decision-making processes that govern oceans. The outputs of these decision-making processes significantly impact the lives of coastal communities, whose populations are most directly affected by changes to the marine environment. However, despite the ongoing data revolution, many groups (e.g. those with lower incomes, indigenous communities) remain pervasively underrepresented in the data-driven strategic planning addressing environmental change within their communities. Participation tends to be limited to scientists and government bureaucrats.

The practical implications of this for community livelihoods have been brought into sharp relief by the COVID-19 pandemic, as illustrated in a recent joint opinion piece by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and The Thriving Orcas, Thriving Communities Coalition. Salmon fishing, a deeply ingrained cultural and financial facet of British Columbia’s coastal communities, is being significantly restricted by the government. The authors argue that considering the economic hardship already imposed by the pandemic response strategies, if the Department of Fisheries maintains its decision to tighten salmon fishing requirements without consulting local communities, “the compounded effect will be insurmountable for many.” Indeed, the authors note that it is “imperative that all three levels of government, Indigenous groups, local experts, and business leaders work together to address how these recovery plans are developed.” We believe that to ensure the realities of communities are accurately represented, such collaborative planning processes should discuss not only the planned policies, but the bases upon which the policies were developed – that is the underlying data and how and why they were used to make policy decisions.

It is in response to these types of issues that we have launched a new project aimed at increasing community participation in the creation and use of data for decision-making (D4D) for different marine-related issues. This project builds upon previous work we have done in Myanmar and Costa Rica focused on building meaningful representation in the creation and use of data for decision-making.

The D4D project is being conducted under the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center at UW EarthLab, a 10-year, $32.5 million partnership between UW EarthLab and The Nippon Foundation, which seeks to study changes, responses, and solutions to societal issues that emerge in our relationship with the oceans.

The project will investigate organizational and community needs, interests, and cultural considerations; and undertake desk and field research for insights on the experiences coastal communities have had with previous data-related projects. Based on the findings, we will co-develop content and pedagogical approaches for D4D tools and resources for community organizations to support their communities to participate in decision-making processes on a more equal footing with scientists and policymakers. Project outputs will be designed with and for local organizations such as nonprofits and public libraries, who are uniquely placed to provide insights on local context, customs, and priorities.

We approach D4D from a broad perspective, moving beyond data and statistical literacy to include the full range of research and activities that go into decision-making (research design, data collection, data analysis, and using data for decision-making). The outcome of this will be D4D tools that are created using participatory methods and draw upon principles of knowledge democracy to

— anticipate a broad range capacities needed for participation at different levels of the decision-making process;
— be appropriate for incorporation into the practices of diverse community organizations;
— have pedagogical approaches and skill and subject matter content that is most relevant for decision-making by coastal communities engaged in marine activities; and
— allow for additional adaptation for local relevance (content priorities, examples, context) to the cases of specific communities.

Dr. Yoshitaka Ota, Director of the Ocean Nexus Center and a Research Assistant professor in the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, notes:

The Ocean Nexus Center focuses on placing social equity at the heart of ocean governance, to recover and restore our societal relationships with the oceans. By doing so we hope to close the disparity between those who benefit from the oceans and those who depend on them. This calls for more evidence and tools for communities to be independent from the external influences that would lead to less stewardship of the environment and identity. The D4D project provides a platform to reconsider appropriate processes to use data for decision-making in ways that do not undermine the value and needs of communities, and avoid those external influences naively deployed in decision-making without addressing legitimacy.

We are starting work in two locations, Hawaii and Japan, and will consult with global researchers across multiple disciplines. Our goal is for project outputs to be open and practically adaptable for other locations.

We are interested in hearing from as many voices as possible. Are you currently working in a community (coastal or otherwise) that is creating or using data to improve the livelihoods of its people? What have your experiences been so far? Do you agree that community voices are not heard enough in knowledge creation and use for decision-making? Why do you think that is? What can help change this?

Contact Chris Rothschild


UW EarthLab and The Nippon Foundation launch Ocean Nexus Research Center

The University of Washington and The Nippon Foundation today announced the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center, an interdisciplinary research group that studies changes, responses and solutions to societal issues that emerge in relationship with the oceans. The Center will bring uncompromised critical voices to policy and public conversations to enable research and studies equating to $32.5 million spread across 10 years.

“The sustenance of humanity depends on our mother ocean,” said Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation. “And so today, I am happy to announce this new partnership with the University of Washington to embark on a long-term commitment to ensure our ocean’s health, 10,000 years into the future. As an NGO that brings together diverse stakeholders to address the complex challenges facing our oceans, we felt that partnering with the University of Washington, a world leader in not only the ocean and environment, but in multidisciplinary collaboration and research, was a perfect fit. I am excited that the next generation of thought leaders will be emerging from this center to share their research findings to guide the world toward ocean sustainability.”

Based on the philosophy of passing on sustainable oceans to future generations, The Nippon Foundation has been working for over three decades, with governments, international organizations, NGOs, and research institutions to foster 1430 ocean professionals from 150 countries. The Ocean Nexus Center will be housed in UW EarthLab, an institute established in 2015 to connect UW research with community partners to discover equitable solutions to our most complex environmental challenges.

“Ocean Nexus exists to bridge the gap between decision makers, policy makers and the communities most affected and dependent on the oceans,” said Yoshitaka Ota, the Center’s director and an assistant professor in UW’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. “This is a chance to do something bold and really push the boundaries of understanding our relationship with oceans, and that’s what I’m excited to do.”

The Center aims to build the next generation of ocean thought leadership by offering opportunities, networks and training for early-career interdisciplinary scholars. The research is global and seeks to embrace cultural diversity and community sovereignty. Current UW partners include the School of Public Health, The Information School and the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.

“Without EarthLab we couldn’t have done this,” Ota said.

“Without EarthLab we couldn’t have done this,” Ota said. “This is a very complex operation. We’re taking a quite unorthodox approach to environmental issues. But that’s why this is a perfect fit for EarthLab, because they’re lightning focused on collaborations that can lead to equitable change.”

“We know that the world’s oceans are in trouble and that the communities that rely on oceans the most for life and livelihood are more likely to suffer and need to be engaged,” said Ben Packard, EarthLab executive director. “We are thrilled to partner with The Nippon Foundation to support the Ocean Nexus Center to build capacity for transdisciplinary research and bring an equity and justice lens to ocean governance.”

Researchers already know that environmental changes, such as pollution and ocean acidification, can cause health and economic impacts on communities.  But scientists and decision makers still do not have all of the information to implement solutions that take into account those most in need.

The Center will leverage the natural science-oriented network created through the Nippon Foundation Nereus Program, an international initiative comprising an interdisciplinary team of 20 institutes. To date, researchers from 13 other universities from around the world, in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Malaysia and more, have already signed on to new interdisciplinary projects with Ocean Nexus. Topics cover a range of issues including ocean acidification adaptation, sustainable development of oceans, equitable allocation of transboundary fisheries, and gender in ocean governance, to name a few.

As the policy director of the Nereus Program, Ota brings more than a decade of experience exploring ways to take a human-centered approach to resolving ocean issues. Unfortunately, class and power determine who benefits from the ocean and who does not, he said.

“What’s the gap?” he asked. “With the right evidence and policies, we can bridge that gap equitably and create shared and classless oceans for all.”

This article was originally published on UW News.


Changing the narrative on fisheries subsidies reform: Enabling transitions to achieve SDG 14.6 and beyond

Researchers at the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Center at EarthLab have published a new report in ScienceDirect. Changing the narrative on fisheries subsidies reform: Enabling transitions to achieve SDG 14.6 and beyond provides evidence-based options for reform that highlight equity needs while reducing environmental harm.

Abstract

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is in the final stages of negotiating an agreement to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies, thereby achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6. An effective agreement should be viewed as an opportunity for nations to proactively transition towards sustainable and equitable fisheries and pave the path for other SDGs. Supporting fishers does not require harmful subsidies, and we provide evidence-based options for reform that highlight equity needs while reducing environmental harm. Subsidy reforms need clear goals, co-design, transparency, and fair implementation. An agreement on SDG 14.6 could be a turning point for the oceans and for the well-being of those that depend on the oceans for livelihoods and nutrition. Responsible seafood production will require international cooperation not only at WTO, but among governments, fisher organizations, civil society, and the wider public.

Download the full report


Are fishers poor? Getting to the bottom of marine fisheries income statistics

New research reveals fishers’ incomes are below national poverty lines in over one third of countries with data

The links between fishing livelihoods and poverty are often discussed in both marine conservation and international development conversations, such as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Blue Economy. Yet, the lack of fishing income data impedes sound management and allows biased perceptions about fishers’ status to persist. 

A research team comprised of scientists from EarthLab and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington, the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, Northeastern University, and the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University, has published a new study in the peer-reviewed journal Fish and Fisheries to identify the drivers of income inequality in marine communities. ‘Are fishers poor? Getting to the bottom of marine fisheries income statistics’ reveals startling discrepancy amongst fishers by geography and other factors. Findings include:

  • Fishers’ incomes are below national poverty lines in 34% of the countries with data; 
  • Fishing income in the large-scale sector is higher than the small-scale sector by about 2.2 times, and in high-income versus low-income countries by almost 9 times; 
  • Boat owners and captains earned more than double that of crew and owner-operators. 

“While we find that it is not universally the case that fishers in a given nation belong to the lowest income group, we also find large variation in fishers’ income within a given nation,” said Yoshitaka Ota, research assistant professor of the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs and faculty advisor to EarthLab at the University of Washington. “These findings do not undermine previous work that connect fishing livelihoods and poverty, but it does show we have a long way to go to really understand how fisherfolk are making ends meet.” 

For the purposes of this paper, ‘fishers’ is a gender-neutral term used to describe people whose livelihoods depend on fishing. This paper uses standardized data drawn from international and national labor datasets, as well as published case studies examining fishing incomes in coastal communities. 

“Often fishers get lumped together as a single group, but this research shows that in fact there are rich fishers and poor fishers. We need to pay more attention to this heterogeneity and in terms of management, not assume that all ‘Fishers’ have the same interests,” said Lydia Teh, research associate at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia.

While this study has resulted in many interesting findings, it is clear that more research is needed to gain a deeper understanding of income inequality in ocean fishing communities.

“These findings raise a compelling set of new questions, such as, what are the conditions that can lead to poverty in fisheries and what contextually appropriate strategies can be designed to support fishers in those cases?” said Andres Cisneros-Montemayor, research associate at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. “This paper shows that it isn’t as simple as ‘fishing equals poverty’ and that opens up many interesting questions. In the meantime, it’s clear that we need much more detailed income statistics if we want to support socioeconomic development on our coasts.”

 

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Are fishers poor? Getting to the bottom of marine fisheries income statistics


Washington leads: connecting ocean acidification research to people who need it most

At the helm of EarthLab’s Washington Ocean Acidification Center are two experienced ocean scientists, but what they are trying to do is something entirely new. Terrie Klinger and Jan Newton are Salish Sea experts – one an ecologist, one an oceanographer – and they are addressing one of the biggest emerging threats to our environment today, ocean acidification.

Jan Newton and Terrie Klinger lead the Washington Ocean Acidification Center.

“When we first were funded by the legislature to stand up the Washington Ocean Acidification Center, there was no precedent. We were starting from zero,” says Klinger. Born from a Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel, the Center was established by the legislature at the University of Washington to make sure actions to combat ocean acidification have a strong backbone in science. Along with colleagues and collaborators, it was up to Klinger and Newton to bring the new Center to life, making sure it serves the needs of Washington citizens.

Ocean acidification is a global phenomenon. Worldwide, the ocean plays an invaluable service to the planet by absorbing nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity. Yet this also drives a series of reactions that change seawater chemistry, and as a result the oceans are becoming more acidified, which poses a suite of problems to some marine organisms.

Ocean Acidification Challenges in Washington

In Washington, ocean acidification’s threat became visible in the state’s extensive shellfish industry. Corrosive seawater compromises the ability of shellfish to form their shells, especially in the animal’s early days. In years where seawater conditions are persistently harsh, shellfish farmers failed to raise any new oysters to marketable size, and livelihoods were at stake.

Answers began surfacing when the Washington Ocean Acidification Center connected with shellfish growers and other partners, helping solve what initially seemed like an intractable problem. Now the industry has new tools to manage corrosive water – like monitoring water conditions at the hatcheries, adding buffering agents to incoming seawater, or tracking forecasts of unfavorable water conditions through LiveOcean. In many cases, these tools have allowed shellfish – and business – to continue thriving.

Over the years, the Center’s approach to research has become even more sophisticated, all while remaining “grounded on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations to sustain observations, modeling, and biological experiments relevant to ocean acidification,” says Newton. They now can start telling the much deeper story of how ocean acidification threatens ocean food webs, which underpins the eye-popping amount of wildlife and productivity in Puget Sound.

“We’re trying to use the lens of ocean acidification to help solve bigger problems,” says Klinger. “We’ve really grown over our six years and are moving from just a focus on, let’s say shellfish, to include salmon, forage fish and other parts of our ecosystem that are really important to the region.” Expanding focus matters because it can answer questions at a larger scale, helping decision-makers create conservation strategies that support the tiniest creatures all the way up to the big ones, like the southern resident orca whales.

Asking challenging, big-picture questions has always been a part of the Center’s vision and mission. On the research docket now is an investigation into how ocean acidification affects small schooling fish that feed and fuel so many of the Salish Sea’s iconic residents, like salmon, rockfish and marine mammals. Acidifying waters have already been shown to have adverse effects on a fish called the sandlance on the east coast – a species that is also present in the Salish Sea. There is new evidence that shows how increasingly acidified waters affect the ability of young salmon to detect predators, and concern that it may also affect their ability to make their way back to their natal streams where they eventually reproduce.

Sharing the Science of Ocean Acidification with Society

The Washington Ocean Acidification Center stands as a prime example for how EarthLab and its member organizations approach science’s role in society. Placing people at the center, EarthLab is designed to leverage the intellectual resources at the University of Washington and from community partners to co-produce and deliver science-based solutions to the greatest environmental challenges we face as a society.

New questions to ask, and new capabilities to answer them, emerge as the Center continues to grow, build more partnerships and make inroads with new communities. By listening to people’s needs and leveraging work from other partner institutions – like crab research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, salmon research coming from Washington Sea Grant, and real-time data serving from the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems – the Center is better able to address various needs stemming from many communities.

“I think what’s really lovely about the Center is that it really did originate in the Blue Ribbon Panel, which was comprised of a large and diverse group of people,” says Klinger. “That set the tone for us to build a broad bench of partnerships to work on these projects. When you are trying to do something big, it’s nice to have a lot of minds contributing. And that way, more people feel a better ownership to it as well.”

A local community of practice has developed, with federal, tribal, state, industry and private partners. “We simply could not do this work without this diverse input and expertise,” adds Newton. “And our work here in Washington is well-linked to national and global efforts too.”

Employing cruises and buoys, and working in collaboration with partners, the Center obtains data from Washington waters on water chemistry and plankton, and is investigating new approaches to observing biology in the field. “When we have a multi-year record of what we’re seeing in the environment, we can understand the food web effects much more broadly. We can use the observing data to continue to refine the model and give people information that’s useful for many purposes,” says Newton.

Creating Smarter Data and Valuable Insights

The Center’s history with this region is an asset for decision-makers. Long-term datasets allow scientists to look back in time and discover important environmental trends, which in turn supports policymakers, managers, businesses and NGOs to develop smarter strategies towards sustainability. But if the data don’t exist, then decision-makers are left in the dark.

“The value of the Center just increases over time. Staying the course is really important to get the greatest benefit, and that allows us to build relationships with people, which is really important,” adds Klinger.

Washington’s marine environment connects to people and community in many ways – culturally, economically and scientifically. Having roots in this region, Newton and Klinger want to make sure the Salish Sea continues to be vibrant. “I do this work because I care,” says Newton. “The ocean changes that are happening are large and have potentially big consequences. As I have gained knowledge over my career that can be put towards understanding this better, I think that’s a responsible and important thing to do.”


More about LiveOcean

Parker MacCready is a physical oceanographer who works primarily on estuaries and coastal systems. With funding from the Washington Ocean Acidification Center and Washington Sea Grant, among others, Parker and his colleagues created LiveOcean, a model that predicts when Washington’s waters are particularly corrosive. Using a suite of model inputs – like ocean currents, weather, water temperature and salinity, oxygen levels, and more – LiveOcean issues a three-day forecast of ocean conditions that are useful to numerous communities, including shellfish farmers. By checking the forecast, farmers can decide if the conditions are favorable to set out baby oysters to start growing in the ocean or if they should wait until conditions improve.

Read more about Live Ocean, and listen to a recent interview with MacCready on Coastal Café.


Human well-being related to marine protected areas: a global research synthesis

Point Lobos marine reserve in central California.

In the June 2019 issue of Nature Sustainability, EarthLab’s Sara Breslow and researchers from 10 other institutions share their insights gleaned from 118 peer reviewed journal articles of the effects of marine protected areas (MPAs). But their inquiry differed from most studies about MPAs – what, they asked, are the effects MPAs on human well-being? The literature is full of examples that document the ecological effects of marine protected areas, but information is lacking on the overall effects MPAs have on the human communities connected to them.

Their findings indicate that the majority of the measured effects of MPAs have a positive effect on people, while about one-third have a negative effect. Most studies focused on economic and governance aspects of an MPA, and thus many of the social, health and cultural effects remain unexplored. Their synthesis was global, including all populated continents, with the majority of studies coming from Europe and Asia.

Read more on the University of Victoria website

Read the study on Nature Sustainability


2019 Ocean Acidification Symposium

The Washington Ocean Acidification Center will convene its Third Biennial Science Symposium on Thursday, May 30 at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle, WA. This day-long symposium will consist of invited presentations from regional experts. Presentations will focus on new results from research relevant to ocean acidification in Washington waters, including field observations, biological experiments and modeling. Presentations will be followed by plenary discussions and will offer numerous opportunities to enhance communications and strengthen regional communities of practice.

There is no fee to attend, but registration is required.

Please see the draft agenda for the symposium.