By Maureen Rouhi, College of Sciences
Researchers at Georgia Tech, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Smithsonian Institution, and Stanford University are leading an initiative to ensure the health of oceans for generations to come. Called OceanVisions, the initiative envisions healthy oceans for all inhabitants of Earth and for all users and uses of the open seas enabled by advances in science and engineering.
“OceanVisions will create a concrete pathway for scientists and engineers to design and execute research that enables ocean solutions,” said Emanuele Di Lorenzo. He is a professor at Georgia Tech and director of Tech’s Ocean Science and Engineering Ph.D. program, an interdisciplinary graduate degree that includes the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Earth’s oceans have been under intense pressure from the harvesting and exploitation of the waters’ natural riches and from the impacts of pollution and climate change. The news is rife with the doom and gloom of dying coral reefs and toxic dead zones.
OceanVisions organizers believe positive trends are in sight. They see the dawning of a new phase of optimism for the health of our oceans. They know that solutions are available to help oceans adapt to or mitigate human and environmental assaults.
The organizers of OceanVisions seek to develop robust pathways toward solutions to a diverse array of ocean problems. They are aware of what science and technology can accomplish. They are convinced that current efforts — if coordinated and integrated — could yield a knowledge base for solutions to many of the oceans’ problems.
OceanVisions has four objectives:
- Establish a forum for ocean scientists and engineers to discuss research in the context of ocean solutions
- Integrate the peer-reviewed science and engineering literature that informs and enables ocean solutions
- Raise public awareness of ocean solutions to inspire the next generation of experts and leaders
- Enable sustained dialogue about ocean solutions among users, stakeholders, scientists, and engineers
Kickstarting OceanVisions are several activities in 2019.
- OceanVisions2019 – CLIMATE: Successes in Resilience, Adaptation, Mitigation, and Sustainability. This inaugural OceanVisions meeting will take place on April 1-4, 2019, at Georgia Institute of Technology. Speakers will share success stories in protecting the health of oceans while maximizing their benefits to human well-being.
- Ocean Tethys Award. OceanVisions established this award to honor and celebrate individuals who epitomize the promise and fulfillment of translating research to ocean solutions. The first recipient is Jane Lubchenco, former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She will receive the award on April 1, 2019, during OceanVisions2019.
- Uncommon Dialogue. This event will take place in Stanford University in September 2019. Scientists, engineers, and stakeholders will gather to discuss scalable ocean solutions.
- Frontiers in Marine Science special issue. The issue’s theme is “Successes at the Interface of Ocean, Climate, and Humans.” Contributions will be solicited from presenters at OceanVisions2019.
Joining Di Lorenzo as OceanVisions' lead organizers are:
- Mark Merrifield, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
- Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution
- Chris Field and Fiorenza Micheli, Stanford University
For more information, visit the OceanVisions website.