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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>