The month of July has been an exciting month for the MBON community. Marine scientists celebrate two agreements: one aiming to coordinate biological observations in the Southern Ocean, and other aiming to share capacity and preserve data about life in the sea.
“It was with great pleasure that we committed to a collaboration to support the international science and operations community”, says Joana Soares, Executive Secretary of MBON and Project Officer of the AIR Centre. “This will help find solutions to conserve coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystem services around the world”.
Coordinating the observation of biodiversity in the sea around Antarctica: A collaboration spanning the Southern Ocean
The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), and the SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Portal share a common vision to build and coordinate a global ocean biodiversity observation system to address the needs of society. The common goal is to systematically assess the state and trends in the ocean’s biodiversity, including biological resources and ecosystems, and forecast how these will change in the future.
The observing system will provide the data, information and knowledge that people need to effectively conserve and sustainably use marine life. The Southern Ocean, the ocean basin around the Antarctic continent, and all ocean water beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of nations represent a “commons” to humanity. Information on these waters from the surface to the abyss, and especially on the diversity, abundance and distribution of life in these areas, will inform progress towards safeguarding the environment and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem surrounding Antarctica. These are requirements of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living resources (CCAMLR), the global 2030 targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (including SDG 14) and the UN Ocean Decade, and the new 2050 targets and indicators of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The agreement between MBON, SCAR, and the SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Portal recognizes an ongoing cooperation to reinforce ocean biodiversity observing capacity, and to make use of the best available resources and expertise. The entities agree to collaborate looking for mutual benefit and sharing results, to strengthen the exchange of ideas, and to better coordinate with global marine data initiatives such as the Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS), the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS), Marine Life 2030, and others.
International collaboration to share in capacity development and training to observe and preserve data on life in the sea
An agreement between MBON and LifeWatch European Research Infrastructure Consortium (LifeWatch-ERIC) was signed, further extending the goal to preserve life in the sea. Both entities recognize the importance of interoperable and open-access information on biodiversity variables, to highlight trends in biological diversity and ecosystem functioning, with direct impacts on the well-being and development of today’s society. Understanding the evolution and functions of biodiversity and ecosystem services is now of crucial importance to meet the demand from policymakers, managers, and stakeholders.
The agreement between MBON and LifeWatch-ERIC builds global capacity for data collection, management and open publication by sharing best practices, publishing manuals and guides, and strengthens the exchange of ideas and integration with global marine data initiatives such as the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), the Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS), and others.