Why working across fields and industries is critical for the future of oceans

The Source
By: Lucy Frisch, Fri Jun 5 2020
Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

In honor of UN World Oceans Day (8 June), and in collaboration with Oceanic Global, we are excited to launch our new SDG 14 hub, dedicated to life below water. This day is about celebrating the ocean and its importance to the planet and our lives, while raising awareness about the many threats it faces. 

Here, learn more about Dr. Amanda Bates' thoughts on public engagement, as a former science educator, and how working across disciplines and industries is key to success against SDG14 going forward.

Oceans Day blog header
How is your institution addressing UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below water?

More than 60% of the science faculty at my university engage in research and education on how the global ocean sustains humanity and Earth’s life support system through fisheries and aquaculture, essential cycling of nutrients and energy, and societal interaction with the ocean. Research includes focusing on sustaining and enhancing food production from the sea, increasing safe and sustainable operations on the water and in coastal communities, and engaging in research to help ensure a healthy ocean for future generations.

What do you think is the most relevant way to measure success against this goal in your field?

I believe the challenge is that there isn’t a “most” relevant way.  Instead, a toolbox is required to observe, protect, and restore, and we need a global community to do so.

What do you think is the most productive way that researchers can engage policy makers?

I think this questions needs to be flipped around. Scientists need to take time to engage with policy platforms and development processes. We also need to take time to form relationships with policy-makers – this means trust and time.

How do you prioritize public engagement and how important is it for the future of our oceans?

I was a science educator for years and believe very strongly in outreach and public education. Healthy oceans are for humanity, both now and in the future. The life within oceans produces much of the oxygen we breathe, healthy food, and bio-chemicals that can cure disease – it is critical that we engage with our society to communicate how important healthy ocean systems are.

What are the short- and long-term goals of your work?

In the short-term my research group is identifying methods that cross scales and taxa to assess the capacity of ecological communities to cope with existing and future drivers of global change. My research quantifies biodiversity in time and space with relevant environmental data and the physiological tolerances of species. I transform physiological data into predictive tools incorporating both exposure and species’ sensitivities to global change drivers.

In the long-term I hope to inspire new generations of scientists to work across disciplines, with policy makers, educators and artists, to embrace the challenges of big data, and to identify new strategies to observe our ocean and support healthy oceans.

All our interviews reflect the views and opinions of the interviewees.

Visit our new SDG14 hub to explore the latest content related to life below water.

About Amanda Bates

Amanda Bates
Dr. Bates is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Marine Environmental Physiology at Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada. Bates received a BSc Hons degree in Biology from Simon Fraser University, followed by a PhD from the University of Victoria and fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Canada.  She then moved to New Zealand to undertake a fellowship at University of Otago, New Zealand, and research scientist positions in Australia at Deakin University and the University of Tasmania. She then moved to the University of Southampton, UK, where she has held a position as Lecturer (Assistant Professor) until 2017.  Her research program quantifies biodiversity in time and space, and relates emergent patterns to environmental drivers and physiological tolerances of species. Her overarching goal is to inform sustainable conservation solutions.

Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

Lucy Frisch is a Senior Marketing Manager leading the Content Marketing Programmes team, based in the New York office. She has a passion for storytelling and works to humanize the research published across Springer Nature with a focus on the researcher experience.

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