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Marine board urges action on ‘critical gaps’ in biodiversity knowledge

Europe must sustain biodiversity research to understand how climate change and human activities threaten ocean ecosystems, the European Marine Board has declared.

This message is the focus of a brief entitled Marine Biodiversity: A Science Roadmap for Europe. It is the first in a series of briefs on science planned by the board with the aim of providing input for European policy.

Kostas Nittis, chair of the European Marine Board, explained: “We are still a long way from a comprehensive understanding of marine biodiversity, how it is changing and what the implications of those changes are for human society.”

The strategic recommendations in the brief include creating a comprehensive plan for marine biodiversity science in Europe, formally establishing systems for ocean monitoring and data manage, and supporting training for young scientists. The brief also urges the formation of a science-policy platform and an annual conference on marine biodiversity.

The brief also includes a list of ten specific research priorities and six strategic recommendations for meeting those priorities. The research priorities range from simply improving knowledge of marine species to gaining a better understanding of biodiversity’s role in global biogeochemical cycles, developing ocean monitoring, and making fisheries more sustainable.

The European Marine Board is part of the European Science Foundation.