September 2019

Special Issue on PISCO: Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans

Oceanography | September 2019



VOL.32, NO.3, SEPTEMBER 2019




Oceanography | Vol.32, No.3

Oceanography | September 2019


VOL. 32, NO. 3, SEPTEMBER 2019


FROM THE GUEST EDITORS. Introduction to the Special Issue on PISCO:

Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans

By H.M. Leslie, M. Ruckelshaus, and J.D. Witman


PISCO: Advances Made Through the Formation of a Large-Scale,

Long-Term Consortium for Integrated Understanding of Coastal

Ecosystem Dynamics

By B.A. Menge, K. Milligan, J.E. Caselle, J.A. Barth, C.A. Blanchette, M.H. Carr,

F. Chan, R.K. Cowen, M. Denny, S.D. Gaines, G.E. Hofmann, K.J. Kroeker,

J. Lubchenco, M.A. McManus, M. Novak, S.R. Palumbi, P.T. Raimondi, G.N. Somero,

R.R. Warner, L. Washburn, and J.W. White


Quantitative Biogeography: Large-Scale, Long-Term Change in the Rocky

Intertidal Region of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem

By P.T. Raimondi, C.M. Miner, B.A. Menge, C.A. Blanchette, and D.P. Lohse


Integrating Coastal Oceanic and Benthic Ecological Approaches for

Understanding Large-Scale Meta-Ecosystem Dynamics

By B.A. Menge, J.E. Caselle, K. Milligan, S.A. Gravem, T.C. Gouhier, J.W. White,

J.A. Barth, C.A. Blanchette, M.H. Carr, F. Chan, J. Lubchenco, M.A. McManus,

M. Novak, P.T. Raimondi, and L. Washburn


Connectivity, Dispersal, and Recruitment: Connecting Benthic

Communities and the Coastal Ocean

By J.W. White, M.H. Carr, J.E. Caselle, L. Washburn, C.B. Woodson, S.R. Palumbi,

P.M. Carlson, R.R. Warner, B.A. Menge, J.A. Barth, C.A. Blanchette, P.T. Raimondi,

and K. Milligan


SIDEBAR | Empirical Approaches to Measure Connectivity

By J.W. White, M.H. Carr, J.E. Caselle, S.R. Palumbi, R.R. Warner, B.A. Menge,

and K. Milligan


The Dynamics and Impact of Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia:

Insights from Sustained Investigations in the Northern California

Current Large Marine Ecosystem

By F. Chan, J.A. Barth, K.J. Kroeker, J. Lubchenco, and B.A. Menge


Community Responses to Climate-Related Variability and Disease:

The Critical Importance of Long-Term Research

By B.A. Menge, J.E. Caselle, J.A. Barth, C.A. Blanchette, M.H. Carr, F. Chan,

S. Gravem, T.C. Gouhier, J. Lubchenco, M.A. McManus, K. Milligan, M. Novak,

P.T. Raimondi, L. Washburn, and J.W. White


Present and Future Adaptation of Marine Species Assemblages:

DNA-Based Insights into Climate Change from Studies of Physiology,

Genomics, and Evolution

By S.R. Palumbi, T.G. Evans, M.H. Pespeni, and G.N. Somero




Oceanography | September 2019




Oceanography | Vol.32, No.3



The Oceanography Society

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Production of this issue of Oceanography was

supported by core funding from the David and

Lucile Packard Foundation to the Partnership for

Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans.


• HEATHER M. LESLIE, Darling Marine Center &

School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine

• MARY RUCKELSHAUS, Stanford University

• JON D. WITMAN, Brown University


The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO)

is dedicated to understanding coastal processes in the California

Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Consortium research aims to quantify

intertidal and subtidal biogeographic patterns of community structure

and ecological subsidies, create a mooring network to document

inner-shelf oceanic conditions, and conduct coordinated, coast-wide

experiments that evaluate variation in ecological processes. (1) Copper

rockfish, Sebastes caurinus, (2) researchers in the rocky intertidal

zone, (3) Spanish shawl nudibranch, Flabellinopsis iodinea, (4) diver

conducting kelp forest surveys, (5) purple urchins, Strongylocentrotus

purpuratus, and (6) oceanographers deploying instruments. Credits:

Photos 1, 4, and 5: Katie Davis. Photo 2: Heather Fulton-Bennett.

Photo 3: Chris Honeyman. Photo 6: Michael Moses.



Marine Protected Areas Exemplify the Evolution of Science and Policy

By M.H. Carr, J.W. White, E. Saarman, J. Lubchenco, K. Milligan, and J.E. Caselle

104 SIDEBAR | The Science of Marine Reserves: A Series of Booklets and

Graphics Connecting Science, Public Understanding, and Policy

By K. Grorud-Colvert, J. Lubchenco, S. Airamé, M. Pessino, and S.D. Gaines

106 Connecting Science to Policymakers, Managers, and Citizens

By J. Lubchenco, B.A. Menge, J.A. Barth, M.H. Carr, J.E. Caselle, F. Chan,

H.K. Fulton-Bennett, S.D. Gaines, K.J. Kroeker, K. Milligan, S.R. Palumbi,

and J.W. White

116 Planning for Change: Assessing the Potential Role of Marine Protected

Areas and Fisheries Management Approaches for Resilience

Management in a Changing Ocean

By K.J. Kroeker, M.H. Carr, P.T. Raimondi, J.E. Caselle, L. Washburn, S.R. Palumbi,

J.A. Barth, F. Chan, B.A. Menge, K. Milligan, M. Novak, and J.W. White


126 Oleander is More Than a Flower: Twenty-Five Years of Oceanography

Aboard a Merchant Vessel

By T. Rossby, C.N. Flagg, K. Donohue, S. Fontana, R. Curry, M. Andres, and J. Forsyth

138 SIDEBAR | Submesoscale Dynamics Inferred from Oleander Data

By J. Callies

140 SIDEBAR | Acoustic Backscatter Patterns

By J. Palter, L. Cook, A. Gonçalves Neto, S. Nickford, and D. Bianchi



QUARTERDECK. Ten Years of Career Profiles

By E.S. Kappel


FROM THE PRESIDENT. From Knowledge to Value: Connecting the Boxes

By M. Visbeck


RIPPLE MARKS. The DNA They Leave Behind: In a Drop of Water,

New Answers to Questions About Marine Species

By C.L. Dybas


Oceanography Field Course

By S. Boxall

144 BOOK REVIEW. Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans

Reviewed by I. Brosnan

146 CAREER PROFILES. Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator,

NOAA Marine Debris Program/IM Systems Group • Holly Rolls, Owner,

Senior Instructor, and Guide, Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & EcoVentures

Oceanography | Vol.32, No.3

Depth (km)




VOL.32, NO.3, SEPTEMBER 2019




Oceanography | September 2019


Ellen S. Kappel

Geosciences Professional

Services Inc.

t: (1) 301-229-2709


Vicky Cullen

t: (1) 508-548-1027


Cheryl Lyn Dybas


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Oceanography contains peer-reviewed articles that chronicle all aspects of

ocean science and its applications. The journal presents significant research,

noteworthy achievements, exciting new technology, and articles that address

public policy and education and how they are affected by science and tech-

nology. The overall goal of Oceanography is cross-disciplinary communica-

tion in the ocean sciences.

Oceanography (ISSN 1042-8275) is published by The Oceanography Society,

1 Research Court, Suite 450, Rockville, MD 20850 USA. Oceanography arti-

cles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and repro-

duction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appro-

priately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the

changes that were made to the original content. Third-party material used

in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated

otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in

the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission

directly from the license holder to reproduce the material. Please contact

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Claudia Benitez-Nelson

University of South Carolina

Ian Brosnan

NASA Ames Research Center

Grace Chang

Integral Consulting Inc.

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University of California, Santa Cruz

Philip N. Froelich

Duke University

Charles H. Greene

Cornell University

William Smyth

Oregon State University

Kiyoshi Suyehiro

Yokohama Institute for Earth

Sciences, JAMSTEC

Peter Wadhams

University of Cambridge

The Oceanography Society was founded in 1988 to

advance oceanographic research, technology, and

education, and to disseminate knowledge of ocean-

ography and its application through research and

education. TOS promotes the broad understand-

ing of oceanography, facilitates consensus building

across all the disciplines of the field, and informs the

public about ocean research, innovative technology,

and educational opportunities throughout the spec-

trum of oceanographic inquiry.


PRESIDENT: Martin Visbeck



SECRETARY: Allison Miller

TREASURER: Susan Banahan


AT-LARGE: Richard Crout




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Oceanography | September 2019


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Oceanography | September 2019

Oceanography Student News


Seen in Oceanography

True Colors of


Guidelines for Effective and Accurate

Colormap Selection

By Kristen M. Thyng et al.

…wherever color is used to represent

numerical values, its role transitions from

a mere aesthetic nicety to carrying the

responsibility of conveying data honestly

and accurately.

Send Us Your Feedback!

Have questions or comments for the Student Rep?

Interested in being a highlighted student?

Want to share your best career tips and tricks?

We need your input!

» and @fishy_chrissy

Follow Us

The Oceanography Society




Number 22 – March 15, 2019


TOS Student Highlight

ISAIAH MILTON. I am a third-year marine and environmental science major work-

ing toward my Bachelor of Science degree at Hampton University. I became enam-

ored with marine biology in middle school after the father of a friend of mine came in

to talk about his occupation. He works for NOAA and he was studying marine mammals and how we

affect their migration. I do not remember every detail, but I do know that he sparked my perpetually

growing interest in studying the marine science.

When I was accepted to Hampton University in 2016, I did not know all of the things I was getting

myself into for the next four years. This department has offered me so many academic and research

opportunities, and connections with people and programs that have significantly changed my life

for the better. I had enlightening and inspiring summer research experiences because of this depart-

ment. I have done research in the Maryland Coastal Bays on Blue Crabs and the bacteria infecting

them through the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and I have scuba dived on the coral reefs of

Mo’orea, French Polynesia, through the Diversity Project at UCLA.

After completing these research projects, I was able to attend the ASLO conference through the

ASLO Multicultural Program (ASLOMP) two years in a row to present my research. I have made great

connections that have pushed me to pursue my PhD after I graduate. I am so grateful for the experi-

ences I have had in the past three years here at Hampton and in the field of marine science.

Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020

Call for Input

Camille Pagniello is the TOS Student Rep-

resentative on the 2020 Ocean Sciences

Meeting Planning Committee. She and

her counterparts from AGU and ASLO are

building upon experiences from the 2018

OSM to create exciting events for next

year’s meeting. Ideas from TOS student

members are welcome, please send them

to Camille at

31 Tips for Thriving in

Graduate School (the last 7)



25. Laughter is good for you. And so is

keeping a good sense of humor.

26. Goals are important for progress.

Set long term and short term goals.

Review regularly.

27. Don’t write a script about things to

come. Be attentive as the journey

unfolds and follow.

28. You might not have all the information

you need or want. It is OK to ask

questions. Ask!

29. Learn through active listening

and observing. Also, look for the


30. (originally the last one): Change

rhetoric and reality from surviving to

thriving in graduate school. Shared

responsibility. Please join.

31. It’s hard to thrive without a mentor.

Find at least one, maybe more

than one.

From the Rep

Self-assessment and


How do we know if we’re

doing “enough”? If we’ll finish on time? If

we’ll be competitive on the job market?

I’m a fourth-year PhD student, and I

just submitted my first lead-author paper.

For the first three years, I was so sensitive

to my classmates submitting papers—it

felt like everyone around me was building

their resumes, and I wasn’t.

The wonderful flexibility that we have in

research comes at a price—we must learn

how to assess ourselves. We (with the help

of advisors and collaborators) decide when

the project is ready for submission. We

(mostly) decide how many hours we work,

and when, and where. Throughout our

schooling, we are assessed using grades,

which can largely be relative to our class-

mates. It makes absolutely perfect sense

that we use our classmates as yardsticks

against which to measure our effort and


The reality, though, is that no two proj-

ects can be compared. Once we’ve been

doing this science thing long enough, we’ll

know intuitively that each project moves at

its own pace. Sometimes it takes months to

perfect a laboratory technique, and other

times we are able to do a new analysis with

pre-existing data. I think a lot of our anxiet-

ies in graduate school are normal “growing

pains” as scientists, and I’ll talk more about

that next month.

I’d love to hear from you about how you

deal with self-assessment—write to me at or @fishy_chrissy

on Twitter and Instagram!

— Chrissy

Have You Read...?

From academia to industry: Seven tips

for scientists making the leap. Crystal

Romeo Upperman shares her advice after

moving out of the lab and into the private

sector. Nature,


True Colors of


Guidelines for Effective and Accurate

Colormap Selection

Seen in Oceanography



Comparing Indigenous and Western

Scientific Knowledge of the Ocean

By Joseph Genz et al.



Help Freshen

Your TOS Resources

Web Page

Have you used the Graduate Student/

Early Career Resources pages on the TOS

website? If so, tell us what you like about

it. If some types of resources are missing

that you’d like to have, please let us know

that, too. This page is for you. Help us

keep it fresh and useful. Send all ideas to

Jenny at

Send Us Your Feedback!

Have questions or comments for the Student Rep?

Interested in being a highlighted student?

Want to share your best career tips and tricks?

We need your input!

» and @fishy_chrissy

Follow Us

The Oceanography Society




Number 23 – April 18, 2019


TOS Student Highlight

NANA KAMIYA. I’m a third-year PhD engineering student at Kyoto University. I am

investigating subduction zones using paleo-geothermal analyses and rock mechan-

ics experiments. As an undergraduate, I majored in geology and conducted struc-

tural geology fieldwork on land. For my PhD, I am concentrating on engineering aspects of geology,

performing consolidation tests. Rock engineering can inform different geological processes, thus

pursuing studies in the engineering department is very interesting and worthwhile for me.

When I was a second-year master’s student, I joined International Ocean Discovery Program

Expedition 370, Temperature Limit of the Deep Biosphere off Muroto, as a physical properties spe-

cialist. The two-month expedition was aboard Chikyu, the Japanese scientific drilling vessel that is

capable of penetrating deep below the seafloor. The science party was composed of microbiologists,

geochemists, sedimentologists, and physical properties specialists. We probed the temperature of

limit of life by exploring the combined geological structure, chemical environment, and population

of microbes as revealed through drilling. This experience was very exciting. I found that the field of

geology is like a house of microbes! The combined geology and microbiology discussions made me

see geology in a whole new way.

Combining the knowledge gained from samples collected from both land and beneath the sea is

important for understanding subduction zones. Until now, I have mainly analyzed on-land samples,

but the active subduction zone is located in the ocean. I look forward to doing some more marine

geology based on my experiences on Chikyu.

More Resources

Conversations with Women of Color

in STEM: #Vanguard STEM

Try an episode of this live, monthly web-

series featuring a rotating panel of women

of color in STEM discussing a wide variety

of topics including their research interests,

wisdom, advice, tips, tricks and commen-

tary on current events.

From the Rep

Growing Pains

Did anyone else have really

bad growing pains as a kid?

I remember in elementary school that my

shins hurt so badly, just because I was

growing. I hadn’t done anything to cause

it, and there wasn’t really anything to do

except wait for it to get easier.

This is how I’ve started to think about

my stress and anxiety in graduate school.

First of all, I think that most people in their

twenties have these feelings. In some

ways, grad school is like your first job—it’s

a roughly five-year contract, and both

you and your supervisors are feeling out

whether it’s a good fit for you. In nearly

any first job, there is a big learning curve;

there’s wondering if you’re learning it

fast enough or doing it well enough, and

there’s worrying if it’s even what you want

to be doing.

There might be some ways to ease this

stress and uncertainty, but mostly it just

abates with time. You have to keep walk-

ing, writing, culturing bacteria, building

instruments, analyzing data, whatever it

is…and one day you look around and real-

ize you’re a scientist. We should certainly

work to reduce the types of stresses that

stem from systemic societal issues, but we

shouldn’t fear the growing pains. If you’re

reading this, you’re doing great—trust the

process and keep going.

I’d love to hear what you think—write

to me at or @fishy_

chrissy on Twitter and Instagram!

— Chrissy

Have You Heard?

WorkLife with Adam Grant


You may want to check out this podcast.

Titles include:

» How to love criticism

» Become friends with your rivals

» Networking for people who hate


» And more

Hello PhD

Or, how about this podcast? Titles include:

» How to give a perfect poster presentation

» The secret life of pets (in grad school)

» Conference like the pros

» Plus many, many more

Seen in Oceanography


By Lawrence R. Pomeroy, et al.

Methods and concepts to explore

the significance of microbes in the

ocean’s web of life.

Tell Us What You Think About

the Career Profiles Page

Oceanography has now been publishing

“career profiles” for almost a decade. We

profile ocean scientists who have careers

outside of academia. The idea for this col-

umn came from you —graduate students.

• Is 10 years enough? Shall we discontinue

this column after December 2019?

• Are we asking the right questions?

• Are we profiling the types of careers

you’d like to hear about?

• Is there some other column you’d rather

us publish?

Please send your ideas and comments

to Oceanography Editor Ellen Kappel at

Send Us Your Feedback!

Have questions or comments for the Student Rep?

Interested in being a highlighted student?

Want to share your best career tips and tricks?

We need your input!

» and @fishy_chrissy

Follow Us

The Oceanography Society




Number 24 – May 15, 2019


TOS Student Highlight

THOMAS MORROW. Here’s my history in a headline: “Florida man moves to Idaho

to study seafloor structure and tectonics.” I am a PhD candidate at the University of

Idaho, with a BS in geology from the University of Florida. Despite my efforts to move

further inland, I study oceanic lithosphere rheology, deformation, and tectonics thanks to inclusive

approaches to data sharing, open access repositories, and telepresence-enabled cruises.

Most data I work with (e.g., bathymetry, satellite gravity measurements) are from openly available

compilations such as the Global Seafloor Fabric and Magnetic Lineation Database and the Global

Multi-Resolution Topography Data Synthesis. One of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had as

a graduate student is waiting years for another researcher to share their observations, even after

publication or embargoes end. Certainly, scientists that collect observations deserve the first oppor-

tunity to publish their findings, but once this information is out, they should share data as openly

as possible.

I recently participated via telepresence in a NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer cruise to the Pacific

Ocean. Immediately after, I added newly collected bathymetry soundings to a manuscript while the

Okeanos Explorer crew sent the data on to their open access archive. Competition for funding and

ship time have often been limiting factors in my graduate school experience, but open access data,

like the GSFML and GMRT compilations, and telepresence-enabled cruises, like the Okeanos Explorer

program, remedy these constraints and make our research communities more inclusive. They allow

students—regardless of where they live—to publish compelling results, even when they can’t easily

access field opportunities or analytical facilities.

Mental Health Resources

• Psychology Today. Find a therapist

using this listing of mental health profes-

sionals. https://www.psychologytoday.


• Mental Health in the Sciences. Nature

series offering stories and advice on

how to maintain good mental health in

the hyper-competitive science environ-



• PhDepression. Support and resources

for PhDs, post-grads, and grad students.

From the Rep

It’s the 70th Annual

Mental Health Month!

Since 1949, Mental Health

America has highlighted the importance

of mental health in May. This year’s theme

focuses on the value of animal compan-

ionship, spirituality, humor, and social

connectedness. There are some great

resources on their website (http://www.

Mental health isn’t something that

matters only for people who have been

diagnosed with mental health disorders.

Mental health encompasses how any indi-

vidual handles their feelings—stress, grief,

anger, and also happiness. It is about how

we deal with life, including health, relation-

ships, and work difficulties. Ultimately, tak-

ing care of our mental health will prevent

us from burning out.

Tending to our mental health is per-

sonal and multi-faceted. For me, a thera-

pist is absolutely essential. For most of us,

strong connections to a support network

is required. Some folks have medication as

part of their toolkit. Others rely on regular

exercise, spending time with friends or

family, cuddling with their pet, watching

their favorite Netflix shows, and not check-

ing their email from home.

Building a toolkit doesn’t mean you

won’t have bad days, but your bad days

will be a lot less likely to turn into bad

weeks, months, or years. Resilience, not

perfection, is the goal—and resilience is

about how you bounce back, not whether

you stumble.

Be kind to yourself. Value your mental

health. Set the boundaries you need. Try

out some new habits. Or, you know, take

a day off from holding perfectly to your

habits. And if you’re struggling, maybe try

reaching out to a friend, mentor, or your

campus mental health office.

— Chrissy

Have You Read?

Three Tips for Giving a Great Talk

» Tip No. 1: Find a central focus

» Tip No. 2: Get the details right

» Tip No. 3: Present clearly

Read the full article in Science: https://doi.

org/ 10.1126/science.caredit.aax7352

Have you read the latest issue of Oceanography Student News?

Each newsletter includes a regular column by the student

representative to the TOS Council, profiles of TOS student members,

information about student activities related to TOS-sponsored

meetings, and links to relevant student resources and articles

in Oceanography magazine. Feel free to forward the links to the

newsletters to other students, or print out a copy and post it on your

department bulletin board. Any questions? Email TOS Student Rep

Chrissy Hernández at



Graduate Student and

Early Career Resources

The Oceanography Society’s portal contains information

on jobs, fellowships, scholarships, and ship time/fieldwork

opportunities, as well as links to useful articles. New resources

are added regularly, so please be sure visit this site often!

It’s hard to believe that Oceanography is coming up on its

tenth anniversary of publishing “career profiles.” Since

2010, ocean scientists, generally two per issue of the mag-

azine, have been sharing their stories about how they

came to their careers outside of academia, what their work

entails, and advice on how to seek jobs (see pages 146–148

in this issue for the September 2019 contributions and also for the complete set). While

the career profiles page is consistently one of the most

viewed on The Oceanography Society website, after pub-

lishing 80 profiles by the end of this calendar year, describ-

ing a wide variety of career paths, it’s time to assess whether

we should continue this column or find some other useful

way to use the space in the magazine to address graduate

student and early career information needs.

We initiated the career profiles column following a dis-

cussion among graduate students at the Ocean Sciences

Meeting a decade ago that was brought to my attention.

I’d like the space in Oceanography to remain student and

early career focused. If you like the career profiles col-

umn and want us to continue it, please drop me a note

at to tell me so and include any

suggestions you might have as to how we might improve

it. We haven’t changed the basic list of questions we ask

the people we profile since the inception of the column. If

you think it’s time for Oceanography to try something else

in that space, what might that be? Think creatively, talk

among yourselves, and please let me know.

Ellen S. Kappel, Editor

Oceanography | Vol.32, No.3






Scientifc Enterprise

Societal Value


and Projections


Policy and


Discovery and



FIGURE 1. The ocean value cycle.

Ocean science is producing data, under-

standing, and information—but are we

maximizing their uptake and use across

all ocean-related communities? Are we

making the most of the impact ocean

knowledge can have on society?

In thinking about the social contract

between science and society, I found it

helpful to draw a diagram that I call the

“ocean value cycle” (Figure 1). It con-

nects the flow of information and ques-

tions among five activities. Activities

related to ocean discovery and observ-

ing, improved ocean system understand-

ing, and the generation of predictions and

scenario development are often the focus

of research groups located at ocean sci-

ence laboratories or in university depart-

ments. Ocean assessment benefits from

the information generated by the research

enterprise and can inform societal actors

in the policy, governmental, or private

sectors. However, very often significant

uncertainties or impediments to action

raise new science questions that moti-

vate new discovery or improved obser-

vation, deeper system understanding, or

improved predictions. The value cycle

never ends.

What are the key elements of my pro-

posed ocean value cycle?

1. Ocean Discovery and Observing

The vast volume of the ocean and its

complex coastlines may never be fully

observed nor adequately understood.

The deep sea in particular is an exciting

frontier. Many discoveries in this realm

are being made today, and we can expect

more in the years to come. Sometimes

internationally coordinated teams can

reveal new areas of our planet, new phe-

nomena of profound importance, or new

organisms and substances. Sustained and

systematic ocean observing can doc-

ument ocean changes, provide critical

information to initialize ocean system

models, and provide essential data that

will improve ocean understanding.

2. Ocean Understanding

The ocean is a very complex and con-

nected global system. For centuries,

ocean scientists have been trying to

understand ocean dynamics, chemis-

try, biology, and ecosystems, as well as

the geology of the seafloor and meteorol-

ogy above the ocean. Internationally, sev-

eral project teams are conducting innova-

tive and coordinated research to improve

ocean understanding and the interactions

among the various systems.

3. Ocean Modeling and Projections

Ocean system models often focus on

specific challenges such as the physi-

cal climate, ocean biogeochemistry, the

sediment- ocean interface, coastal regions,

or fisheries. Near-real-time ocean pre-

diction to inform safe navigation, warn

coastal communities of imminent threats,

or enable seasonal climate forecasting are

well-established activities in many parts

of the world. Population increase, eco-

nomic wealth, and an increasing human

footprint on the environment will cause

more profound changes in the future,

raising the question: How will the ocean

change in the Anthropocene? What

effects will climate change, increasing

fishing, coastal development, and grow-

ing levels of environmental pollution

have on the ocean in the next 20, 50, 100,

and 200 years? These future ocean sce-

narios are also slowly emerging.


Oceanography | September 2019

4. Ocean Assessment

Ocean observation and ocean system

modeling lead to new scientific under-

standing. In order for the societal system

to react, there is a need for issue- specific

ocean assessment. The ocean’s role in

the climate system is part of the well-

established climate assessment, notably

in work of the IPCC (Intergovernmental

Panel on Climate Change), while changes

in marine biodiversity are increasingly

covered by the IPBES (Intergovernmental

Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity

and Ecosystem Services) process. At

the UN level, the First World Ocean






However, no assessment exists today that

covers all aspects of the ocean domain,

a gap that should be closed in order to

improve ocean governance to support the

sustainable development agenda.

5. Ocean Policy and Governance

The legal regime of the ocean and coastal

zone is complex. And the connectivity of

the world ocean though its global circu-

lation pattern means that ocean gover-

nance will yield the best outcome when

it is regionally or globally coherent.

Authority, transparency, and the abil-

ity to encourage good behavior are par-

ticular challenging in the ocean domain.

Equitable access, burden, and benefit

sharing as well as transnational cooper-

ation warrant innovative approaches to

ocean governance. New ocean policies or

governance options often require deeper

insights and more precise ocean infor-

mation. This need can be addressed by

an improved and fit-for-purpose ocean

observing system, better ocean under-

standing, and more accurate predic-

tions or scenarios of future ocean and

climate change.

In some form, the value chain described

above is implemented in most parts of

the world. However, the information flow

across the interfaces is not always opti-

mal. Barriers between different commu-

nities, limited data flows and data system

connectivity, and use restriction can lead

to disconnects in the value chain. Who

is to blame? Society for not articulating

clearly what it wants? The science enter-

prise that only wants to answer its own

questions? Language and data flow barri-

ers? I see many opportunities to improve

how we act as an ocean sciences commu-

nity. My wish is that we all be more aware

of those who can use our information and

knowledge and reach out to them to dis-

cuss how to bridge gaps. We also could be

more aware of the questions that others

might have that are applicable to our field

of expertise and engage in broader dis-

cussions about future priorities.

Finally, a fully connected ocean value

cycle could enable a whole range of inno-

vative and new ocean solutions. They

could inform stakeholders and decision-

makers about options in the context of

sustainable development of the marine

sphere. Areas such as sustainable fish-





renewable energy, effective and equita-

ble marine spatial planning, marine car-

bon management, transparent gover-

nance, and sustainable tourism are just

some examples of ocean solutions for a

more sustainable world. The connection

between ocean science and sustainable

development will be further advanced

during the upcoming Decade of Ocean

Science for Sustainable Development

(2021–2030). More information about

the Ocean Decade can be found on its

website ( and

in Visbeck (2018).

Ocean science knowledge can provide

societal value at local, regional, and global

scales. It can provide answers to questions

about future increases in pressures on the

ocean system. It can also inform disas-

ter risk reduction actions, improve resil-

ience of the ocean ecosystem to shocks,

and safeguard coastal communities from

ocean-related threats. Finally, ocean sci-

ence knowledge can be used to increase

human prosperity today and for future

generations if ocean resources are used

in a sustainable and equitable way. The

Oceanography Society, together with its

international partners and programs, can

make a big difference to the generation

of ocean value by doubling our efforts to

communicate with our friends and part-

ners in areas that are related to ocean sci-

ence as well as with other societal actors.

Martin Visbeck, TOS President


Visbeck, M. 2018. Ocean science research

is key for a sustainable future. Nature

Communications 9(1):690,


Oceanography | Vol.32, No.3



One of the most meaningful aspects of being a member

of The Oceanography Society (TOS) is the opportunity

to recognize and celebrate our colleagues’ outstanding

accomplishments. In support of this goal, the TOS Council

is excited to announce the significantly enhanced TOS

Honors Program. Please take this opportunity to recognize

a colleague, mentor, peer, or student for their outstanding

achievements and contributions to the ocean sciences.

Learn more at

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