Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rating the Planet’s Oceans

01.10.2014

UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis helped produce the first Ocean Health Index that includes all the Earth’s oceans

The most comprehensive assessment conducted by the Ocean Health Index rates the Earth’s oceans at 67 out of 100 in overall health. In addition, for the first time, the report assessed the Antarctic and the 15 ocean regions beyond national jurisdiction (high-seas areas) — all critical regions for maintaining a healthy climate, safeguarding biodiversity and providing sustainable food sources.

In the third annual update of the index, a partnership led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Conservation International (CI), the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean region scored 72, while the average score of the high seas was 67 out of 100. These distant areas had not been included in earlier assessments because they required additional data.

Together with the 220 exclusive economic zones (EEZs) measured in 2012 and 2013, the index now measures all of the oceans on planet Earth. The overall score for global EEZ, accounting for modification and updates of data and methods, was 67 in the first two years and 68 in 2014. These EEZs along with the inclusion of the high seas and Antarctica and the Southern Ocean assessments begin to provide a more complete picture of ocean health, even though most of those areas are not yet adequately studied.

“During our first two years, we were able to show the health of the oceans within 200 nautical miles of coastlines, but it was like doing a jigsaw puzzle where you put the edges together first,” said Ben Halpern, professor at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and an NCEAS associate. “Filling in the rest of the puzzle with Antarctica and the high seas completes the picture and is a major step toward better understanding the state of our entire oceans.”

For the Antarctic and Southern Ocean the eight goals assessed were Food Production (55), Natural Products (29), Coastal Protection (99), Economies and Livelihoods (83), Tourism and Recreation (55), Sense of Place (46), Coastal Protection (99), Clean Water (100) and Biodiversity (94).

“The Antarctic’s biodiversity score of 94 out of 100 is encouraging, but it is based on data from only 132 species that have been formally assessed,” said Catherine Longo, project scientist at NCEAS and lead scientist of the Antarctica assessment.

“Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are protected by distance from many of the threats caused by human populations, such as chemicals, excessive nutrients, and pathogens and trash,” noted Greg Stone, chief scientist and executive vice president of the Moore Center for Science and Oceans at Conservation International. “That’s why we see a very high score in a goal like Clean Water.”

“The score of 100 that is set as a target for each goal reflects a status that is feasible to achieve and can sustainably produce maximum benefits now and in the future,” added Steve Katona, managing director for the Ocean Health Index. “Any score below 100 means there is room for improvement.”

The high seas assessment included three goals and subgoals: Fisheries, Iconic Species and Biodiversity (measured as the threat of extinction to all assessed species). “The high seas are home to important fisheries for species such as tuna and provide habitat or migratory pathways for iconic species such as whales, sharks and sea turtles,” said Elizabeth Selig, conservation scientist with CI and the lead scientist on the high-seas assessment. “Like the Antarctic assessment, the vast size and remoteness of the high seas has limited our ability to study all of the habitats and organisms present, so the biodiversity scores for these regions were based only on species whose populations have been formally assessed.”

The Western Indian Ocean and Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean scored highest overall at 79 and the Northwestern Pacific Ocean scored lowest at 53. The Eastern Central Atlantic Ocean had a Fisheries score of 81 out of 100, followed by the Western Indian Ocean with 80, making them the highest-scoring sectors for fisheries. At 7, the Northwestern Pacific Ocean had the lowest Fisheries score because, among other things, its stocks were farthest from the biomass that provides maximum sustainable yield.

In addition to this third global update of the Ocean Health Index, two regional assessments were issued this year: one that evaluated ocean health of Brazil’s 17 coastal states and a second measuring the health of the United States West Coast. The next global assessment is planned for September 2015.


Humpback whale, Antarctica.

Photo Credit: Levi S. Norton


This high seas sector map shows rankings out of 100 for each area of Earth's oceans.

Contact Info: 

Julie Cohen
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu
(805) 893-7220

Julie Cohen | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/014421/rating-planet-s-oceans

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>