The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is the marine thematic branch of the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON), supported by 110 member countries, to grow a global community of practice, to develop and share best practices and standards on how to collect and share data about life in the sea. The MBON is a “coalition of the willing”, who agree to share knowledge and know-how to assess changes of biodiversity in the ocean, including data, products, protocols and methods, data systems and software, to inform and support ecosystem-based management and the long-term health and use of marine ecosystems. This network has its Executive Secretariat at the AIR Centre headquarters, on Terceira Island, as the result of a protocol signed in November 2018, between the MBON, the AIR Centre and the Azores Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT).


This partnership seeks to promote scientific knowledge and the development of technology-driven solutions based on Earth Observation (EO) to contribute to effective management policies for ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services, locally in the Azores and internationally, for the Atlantic and globally. As Portugal is a maritime nation and a leader in the development of goals and targets for the International Convention on Biological Diversity, it has been committed to assist in the organization of MBON activities. This partnership has also been instrumental in contributing to the advancement of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
A major challenge of MBON is to highlight how Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) can be used to track changes in the abundance, distribution, and diversity of organisms in the ocean. Using common methods to monitor these biodiversity variables in the ocean is critical to understanding how changes at a given location are related to changes over larger areas, including at a regional and global scales, over time.
During 2022, the partnership between the MBON and the AIR Centre was essential to frame the several winning proposals, like for example: the Coordinated Support Action (CSA) BlueMissionAA – and the Innovation Action (IA) Atlantic-Artic Agora (A-AAGORA), as both proposals focus on the preservation and restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity. Likewise, MBON played a leading role in framing the European Commission study- MarBioME, which assessed the current state of marine biodiversity monitoring in the European Union and adjacent marine waters to support European Union legislation and policies on marine biodiversity, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
At the international level, the MBON secretariat co-coordinates the Marine Life 2030 programme (, endorsed by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, contributing, and playing a key role in the Ocean Decade. Globally, the consolidation of MBON activity was recognized by the Portuguese Government, which points to MBON in its National Strategy for the Sea for 2021- 2030 to lead the international efforts in marine biodiversity conservation projects.

Acronym: MBON
Title: Marine Biodiversity Observation Thematic Network
Start-End: December 2019 – December 2023
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This initiative is financed by: