5 Research Organizations Expanding Our Knowledge Of Oceans

The world's oceans cover over half of Earth's surface, yet we have only explored a small percentage of them. They inspire many and affect several essential aspects of our daily lives. Given this, many organizations exist to promote research and education about the seas. This list, presented in no particular order, highlights a few of them.

First up, at #1, we present the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program. OCB’s overarching goal is to explore the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle and the response of marine ecosystems to environmental changes of the past, present, and future.

The organization aims to cultivate partnerships with complementary US and international programs to address research questions about marine ecosystems and biogeochemistry. It also organizes and co-sponsors workshops, short courses, working groups, and synthesis activities on emerging research issues.

Coming in at #2, we have the International SeaKeepers Society. This organization works to promote oceanographic research, conservation, and education through direct involvement with the yachting community. SeaKeepers helps the yachting community take advantage of their potential to advance marine sciences and raise awareness about global ocean issues.

SeaKeepers' S.A.R.A.H. Initiative was formed with the goal of uniting the academic world and the international yachting community in an effort to conserve our oceans and combat plastic pollution. Yacht owners are provided onboard kits to allow crews to conduct plankton survey-style transects to describe and quantify the presence of marine microplastics.

The #3 entry is the Inner Space Center, a national facility that supports real-time ocean exploration via telepresence technology. Located at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, the ISC is home to a team of ocean scientists, engineers, education professionals, and video producers.

The team works with advanced technology to facilitate, capture, produce, and promote underwater exploration in real-time. The facility develops research-specific educational programs, including interactive activities, K-16 resources, and professional development. In addition, the ISC coordinates and produces a variety of online and printed education resources for young audiences.

Taking the #4 spot is The Global Shark Movement Project, an initiative bringing together dozens of research teams spread across more than 100 institutes around the world. It aims to advance scientific knowledge of shark behavior, ecology, conservation, and fisheries science that can inform improved management of these threatened animals and ocean biodiversity.

“Tens of millions of pelagic sharks are harvested each year by high seas fisheries but with little or no management for the majority of species. Sharks are particularly susceptible to the effects of human exploitation due to slow growth rates, late age at maturity and low fecundity, traits making them comparable to marine mammals in terms of vulnerability. Global data on pelagic shark habitat hotspots, spatial patterns of vulnerability in relation to fisheries, and how sharks respond to changing environment are lacking, precluding understanding where in the global ocean conservation needs to be focused.”

The database of shark tracking and environmental data it assembles is intended to inform science discoveries that impact policies related to shark conservation. The GSMP was founded in 2016 and is coordinated by the Marine Biological Association Laboratory in Plymouth, UK.

Closing out our list at #5 is ANGARI Foundation. This organization's mission is to create a global community that is interested, knowledgeable, and invested in marine and environmental sciences by directly supporting research initiatives that foster a dialogue between scientists and the public.

The Foundation uses technology, film, and other media to raise awareness and strengthen science education and offers its research vessel to those in these fields at minimal costs. In addition, it seeks to develop a standards-driven curriculum by working with professional educators and scientists to unite lessons in the classroom with scientific methodology in the field.