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State of Knowledge on Marine Biodiversity by Patricia Miloslavich at Rio+20

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  • Map showing the density of observations by 5x5 degree squares in the OBIS database. Darker (red) squares indicate higher density of records. Observations are most numerous in shallow waters, near the coast, and near or between developed nations. The Southern Pacific shows a huge gap in knowledge. Image: Edward Vanden Berghe, Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Data updated in May, 2012 UNESCO-IOC/IODE/OBIS, Ocean Biogeographic Information System, Largest source of information on marine species distributions. Data legacy of 10-year COML. Adopted by UNESCO-IOC, project of IODE, hosted by project office in Oostende (Belgium). >32 million records, >1,000 datasets, >100,000 marine species, 15 regional OBIS nodes.
  • From the National Geographic/CoML map based on Tittensor et al (2010) paper in Nature. Coastal species richness is higher in the tropics, marine hotspots appear around Philippines, Japan, China, Indonesia, Australia, India, and Srilanka, South Africa, the Caribbean and the southeastern USA. The winding shores of South East Asia create a continuos hotspot for coastal species. Grey patches represent areas with human impact, dark grey is higher impact. Biodiversity and high human impacts collide in coastal areas such as the Western Pacific and North Atlantic
  • The estimate of known marine species is nearly 250,000. This known diversity represents only a fraction of the real biodiversity, not only because the vast majority of the ocean still remains unexplored (estimates range up to 95%) but because new species discoveries continue even in relatively well known areas. Nearly half of all known biodiversity is represented by only three groups: crustaceans, mollusks, and fish, which are also the best known groups, with the longest taxonomic history. Many of these species are also commercially important. Microbial diversity jumps the numbers of species orders of magnitude. One liter of seawater, for example, may contain more than 38,000 different kinds of bacteria, and in a gram of sand, between 5,000 and 19,000. Most of this microbial diversity is predominantly represented by rare rather than common species.
  • OBIS exposes the still-to-be-explored ocean by depth as well as latitude and longitude. On a cross section of the global oceans, the spectrum from red to blue extends from many to few or no records. The records are concentrated near shores and in shallow waters, while the largest habitat on Earth, the vast middle waters, is largely unexplored. For more than 20 percent of the ocean ’ s volume the Census database still has no records at all, and for vast areas very few. Source: Ocean Biogeographic Information System
  • For larger fishes and other vertebrates, historical records indicate a decline of about 90% of top predators in comparison to past levels. Recovery, though typically very slow, may be possible when protective measures are taken. Despite such alarming declines, the ocean still holds plenty of marine life which requires appropriate management and conservation measures.
  • As an organization with a global leadership role in ocean sciences, the IOC can make a difference in communicating the importance of marine biodiversity knowledge to ocean health and human well being. The IOC can help to meet these goals through:
  • rio20-miloslavich

    1. 1. Rio+20. Special Side Event on the OceanOne Planet, One OceanKnowing our Ocean: Marine Biodiversity Patricia Miloslavich Universidad Simón Bolívar Census of Marine Life
    2. 2. I. Status of our knowledge on ocean biodiversity,gaps, and potential for discovery Ocean life is extremely diverse, connected, and under severe pressure from human activities First baseline: Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) +32 million records, +1000 datasets, +100,000 marine species
    3. 3. Global hotspots of biodiversity and connectivity Knowledge, centralized in OBIS contributes to the establishment of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) for the CBD I. DIVERSITY Areas of high biodiversity Areas of special importance for the life history of a species (migrations) II. CONNECTIVITYAreas of significant naturalness Areas of uniqueness or rarity Source: NatGeo/CoML Ocean Life Map 2010
    4. 4. Total known diversity: 250.000 marine species Represents 10% of the total 50%Average/region (25 regions):~10,000 speciesRange:4000 (Baltic) to 33,000 (Australia,Japan)Endemicity:High in the South: Australia, SouthAmerica, South Africa, New Zealand,AntarcticMicrobes:38,000 types in 1 L seawater90% of ocean biomass
    5. 5. The Unknown Ocean: A slice Red = many records, dark blue none The vast midwaters, Earth’s largest habitat by volume, mostly unexplored (~95%)Source: CoML OBISWebb, O’Dor, Vanden Berghe
    6. 6. An altered ocean: changes in composition andabundance (90% declines in some groups) 1950s 1980s 2007 McClenachen (2009) Cons. Biol.
    7. 7. II. Scientific challengesTo advance discovery and expand marine biodiversityknowledge to support healthy and sustainable ecosystems.-integrated global view-fill knowledge gaps / answer questions-effectively manage and sustain ocean ecosystemsIntegration of three themes:(3)Biodiversity Discovery in Time and Space(4)Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and Functions(5)Biodiversity and Human Exploitation
    8. 8. II. Scientific challengesBiodiversity Discovery in Time and Space-improve baseline knowledge and capacity building (e.g.identification tools / barcoding)-understand how do species diversity, distribution, andabundance vary in relation to space and temporally varyingenvironmentsBiodiversity and Ecosystem Services and Functions-understand relationships between biodiversity and ecosystemfunctioning and services and how these might be modified byglobal climate change and other driversBiodiversity and Human Exploitation-to elucidate what is needed to achieve sustainability in termsof management and recovery strategies and how do thesediffer for different species and ecosystems
    9. 9. III. Role of the IOC in advancing marine biodiversity knowledge1. Support and promote global and local initiatives addressing key data, knowledge, and science capacity gaps: IOC support to OBIS is crucial!3. Associate with key global scientific projects aimed to build baselines, understand the role of biodiversity, and promote sustainability under the pressures of a changing ocean.3. Support and facilitate of an international network of scientists and other stakeholders working to provide science and scientifically based solutions to problems related to ocean health and variations in ocean goods and services.
    10. 10. Image credit: Galatee Films / OCEANThank you Merci Gracias Obrigado…