GOBI wishes all its partners, associates and followers a happy World Oceans Day. To mark the occasion, here’s a summary of the latest results from our ongoing research programme.
Our colleagues at CSIRO, Australia, are forging ahead with the development of novel statistical approaches to identify and delineate biogeographic units in the Indian and southwestern Pacific Oceans. Dedicated workshops have been convened to engage with local stakeholders (data holders, scientists and marine resource managers), and preliminary results are being developed and assimilated.
The Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University, USA, has developed the Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) knowledge portal, which it is also populating with geospatial data on migratory species acquired through an ambitious and ongoing data-mining programme. The MiCO portal has been recognised as an important tool by the CMS and will be of value during the negotiations of a new conservation treaty on BBNJ.
The MarViva Foundation in Costa Rica has been busy raising awareness of the Costa Rica Thermal Dome, both nationally and internationally. A documentary has been published showcasing a recent research expedition to the Dome, and an article in the academic press has highlighted the occurrence of microplastics. Political support of this work is growing thanks to MarViva’s ongoing dissemination campaigns.
BirdLife International continue to amass data records on their Seabird Tracking Database, thanks to their concerted efforts in reaching out to experts and data holders through dedicated workshops, the latest of which held in Tanzania. With such data, BirdLife is able to re-evaluate IBAs, which will in turn strengthen their value to regional decision-making processes such as, for example, the Nairobi Convention. They also underpin proposals for designation of MPAs in the High Seas.
Also at Duke University, progress is being made in the understanding of the potential risks posed by deep-sea mining to affected species and habitats. Publications in high-impact journals on such risks and impacts have contributed to the ongoing debate surrounding the exploitation and regulation of deep-sea mining. Supporting research on larval and genetic connectivity along mid-ocean ridges is also yielding useful results.
The Tethys Research Institute, Italy, is on track with its intensive programme of identifying Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans. Two out of five IMMA workshops have been completed, and their outputs are undergoing international peer review before designation. The IMMA process has also been recognised by the CMS with the adoption of the ‘IMMA resolution’ during CMS COP12.
Lastly, GOBI itself has reason to celebrate as it marks its 10th anniversary in 2018. GOBI hosted a popular exhibition booth with the CBD at the recent World Congress on Marine Biodiversity, and continues to support the CBD in its efforts to maintain momentum behind the successful EBSA process as it evolves in scope.