The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development seeks to link stakeholders and researchers in hopes of catalyzing the science needed to improve ocean ecology function and human well-being. Image credit: Vanessa González-Ortiz (artist).

Opinion: We need a global movement to transform ocean science for a better world

Linwood Pendleton, Karen Evans, and Martin Visbeck

The ocean is our planet’s largest life-support system. It stabilizes climate; stores carbon; produces oxygen; nurtures biodiversity; directly supports human well-being through food, mineral, and energy resources; and provides cultural and recreational services. The value of the ocean economy speaks to its importance: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that by 2030, $3 trillion USD will be generated annually from ocean sectors such as transportation, fishing, tourism, and energy (1). Unsustainable resource extraction, pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction are on the rise and affecting many parts of the world’s oceans (2). The ocean is rapidly changing, and yet the ways in which these changes will play out are not yet clear.