EMB Future Science Brief
Addressing underwater noise in Europe: Current state of knowledge and future prioritiesThe Ocean presents a cacophony of sounds originating from natural as well as anthropogenic sources. Marine organisms heavily rely on sound to communicate and understand the world around them, and are therefore potentially impacted by anthropogenic sound. However, in developing our Blue Economy and in advancing our knowledge of marine environments and ecosystems, anthropogenic noise is sometimes unavoidable. Understanding the potential effects of anthropogenic noise is therefore integral to addressing this conflict, as it is needed to develop proportionate mitigation strategies and effective regulation. Next to providing an overview of our current knowledge about underwater noise, this publication highlights the priority areas for further research addressing the remaining knowledge gaps about the effects of anthropogenic noise. Furthermore, it points out the relevant actions needed to take in order to ensure ecosystem-based and precautionary legislation.
Marine Science Communication in Europe: a way fowardMarine Science Communication (MSC) aims to increase understanding and to raise awareness of Ocean science. It also increases curiosity about scientific discoveries and issues related to our Ocean. MSC is a tool to improve understanding of the importance of Ocean science, to help create awareness and inspire responsible behaviour at all levels of society, and to advocate for policy that is committed to a sustainable Ocean and planet.
Ocean oxygen: The role of the Ocean in the oxygen we breathe and the threat of deoxygenationEMB Future Science Brief No. 10 highlights the most recent science on Ocean oxygen, including causes, impacts and mitigation strategies of Ocean oxygen loss, and discusses whether “every second breath we take comes from the Ocean”. It closes with key policy, management and research recommendations to address Ocean deoxygenation and communicate more accurately about the role of the Ocean in Earth’s oxygen. The sentence “every second breath you take comes from the Ocean” is commonly used in Ocean Literacy and science communication to highlight the importance of Ocean oxygen. However, despite its widespread use, it is often not phrased correctly. In contrast, there is little awareness about the threat of the global oxygen loss in the Ocean, called deoxygenation, particularly in comparison with other important stressors, such as Ocean acidification or increasing seawater temperatures. Deoxygenation is increasing in the coastal and open Ocean, primarily due to human-induced global warming and nutrient run-off from land, and projections show that the Ocean will continue losing oxygen as global warming continues. The consequences of oxygen loss in the Ocean are extensive and include decreased biodiversity, shifts in species distributions, displacement or reduction in fisheries resources, changes in biogeochemical cycling and mass mortalities. Low oxygen conditions also drive other chemical processes which produce greenhouse gases, toxic compounds and further degrade water quality. The degraded water quality directly affects marine ecosystems, but also indirectly impacts ecosystem services supporting local communities, regional economies and tourism. Although there are still gaps in our knowledge, we know enough to be very concerned about the consequences: the impacts might even be larger than from Ocean acidification or heat waves, and three out of the five global mass extinctions were linked to Ocean deoxygenation. The sense of urgency to improve Ocean health is reflected in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (Ocean Decade) and the EU Mission: Restore our Ocean and Waters (Mission Ocean), and tackling the loss of oxygen in the Ocean is critical to achieving the aims of these two initiatives.