Humans have become a dominant force of planetary change. This epoch, referred to as the Anthropocene, implies profound alterations to the Earth’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems upon which so many people depend. The prospect of a new era of blue growth, in particular, poses unprecedented sustainability and governance challenges to the ocean, as marine ecosystems face cumulative pressures from local human impacts, global climate change, and distal socioeconomic drivers. This session will explore what the Anthropocene means for the ocean and how to steer it in a sustainable and equitable way. With the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development poised to begin, panelists will present new research frontiers at the science-policy-practice interface and discuss how to approach ocean sustainability in the 21st century.
Jan Bebbington's expertise is in social, environmental and sustainability accounting topics. This includes the design and evaluation of organisational control system (especially those related to accounting) to address complex/wicked problems presented by the sustainable development agenda.
Jean-Baptiste Jouffray is interested in the interlinked social, economic and ecological challenges that shape the new global ocean context and its resilience. Much of his work consists in a curiosity-driven endeavour aimed at describing and analysing what the Anthropocene means for the ocean, what it entails for how we study marine social-ecological systems and, essentially, what can be done to improve sustainability.
Douglas McCauley's lab at UCSB Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, focuses on understanding the ecology of communities and ecosystems in a rapidly changing world. Research in the lab is directed at understanding how community structure influences ecosystem dynamics, in determining how ecosystems are interactively and energetically coupled to one another, and quantifying how humans perturb these dynamics and shape patterns of biodiversity.
Elizabeth Selig’s work focuses on analyzing how changes in ecosystem health will affect ecosystem services and human well-being, evaluating the success of management tools to effectively manage ocean resources, and developing integrated socio-ecological assessments of ocean health.
John Virdin’s areas of expertise include assisting developing country governments to reform and strengthen governance of their ocean resources and particularly their fisheries, in order to help reduce poverty and enhance sustainability. His work has focused most recently on fisheries governance reform in West Africa and Western Pacific tuna fisheries, as well as governance for the blue economy in the Caribbean, among others.