As well as providing ongoing technical support to the CBD’s EBSA process, GOBI partners are involved in a number of scientific projects and activities that contribute valuable data and information to the wider marine conservation agenda.
At present, GOBI’s central project is a 5-year programme of work started in 2016 and funded by Germany’s International Climate Initiative. This work comprises a range of activities coordinated the the GOBI Secretariat and carried out by GOBI partners CSIRO, Duke University, MarViva Foundation, BirdLife International and the Tethys Research Institute. The project’s overarching objective is to use EBSA descriptions as the basis for promoting environmental protection and management for specific areas of the global ocean.
The programme of work is split into six themes:
- Biogeographies for the SW Pacific and Indian Oceans
- Ecosystem connectivity and area-based planning in ABNJ
- The Costa Rica Thermal Dome
- Seabird data integration
- Hydrothermal vent ecosystems
- Important Marine Mammal Areas
This work will help determine the strengths, challenges and limitations of available marine ecosystem data, whilst generating new data and synthesis to fill identified gaps. The approach includes the marriage of established and emerging techniques, evolving methodologies and expert knowledge across diverse disciplines. In data-deficient regions, predictive modelling of the occurrence, abundance, range and movement of species – and of ecosystem features – will play an important role. With this work, GOBI will be able to contribute towards the fulfilment of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and associated Aichi Biodiversity Targets, by working up detailed biological information, ocean biogeographies and by integrating data on migratory species and hydrothermal vent ecosystems. As the project yields its results, these will inform the development and refinement of new post-2020 conservation agenda.