Marine conservation researchers play key role in World Ocean Week events

Scientists from the University of Plymouth will be playing an integral role in a week of global online events being organised to mark World Ocean Week.

Every year, the United Nations designates 8 June as World Oceans Day, but this year (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) it is being expanded to run over several days.

However, it will maintain its aim of celebrating the ocean and its importance to the planet and our lives, while raising awareness about the many threats it faces.

Through their involvement in the £20million One Ocean Hub, academics from the University’s Marine Conservation Research Group will be leading a number of events during the week.

From workshops to panel debates, the sessions will bring together experts from across the world to share knowledge with the hope of informing future policy recommendations.

Dr Kerry Howell, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology and co-director of the One Ocean Hub, said:

“World Ocean Week is a really great opportunity to highlight the challenges we face globally in the sustainable use of the marine environment. Through it, and our work as part of the One Ocean Hub, it also enables us to demonstrate how scientists at the University are conducting research that makes a real difference to society.”
The University’s involvement in the World Oceans Week events includes:

  • Tuesday 09 June, 13:00BST: Professor of Applied Social Psychology Sabine Pahl and One Ocean Hub Research Fellow, Dr Kirsty McQuaid, will be joining a Marine Science Policy-Interface Roundtable to share their experiences of bringing research in environmental psychology and deep-sea ecology to policy development;
  • Wednesday 10 June, 14:00BST: Dr Kerry Howell will be co-leading an event focused on the Wonders of the Deep Sea and building capacity in deep-sea research, also joined by Dr McQuaid;
  • Wednesday 10 June, 16:00BST: Senior Research Fellow Dr Sian Rees and Research & Knowledge Exchange Fellow Dr Holly Niner will be leading events focused on the Blue Economy and the complexity of achieving transdisciplinary solutions for sustainable oceans governance;
  • Wednesday 10 June, 19:00BST: Building on the University’s long-established reputation for training marine scientists, Dr McQuaid will co-lead an event aimed at early career researchers titled Accessing Ocean Research Careers;
  • Thursday 11 June, 19:00BST: Dr Holly Niner will chair Transdisciplinary Research to the Rescue!, a session exploring the challenges of transdisciplinary working for sustainable and equitable oceans governance.

Later in June, Dr Rees and social science colleagues from the One Ocean Hub will also be helping to train United Nations Nippon Fellows, providing a window into the diversity in theory and practice, with examples of how the social sciences methods and tools can support sustainable ocean policy.

The One Ocean Hub, funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), comprises more than 50 world-leading research centres, development organisations, community representatives, governments and UN agencies.

Bringing together individuals, groups and organisations that rely on our oceans, it aims to realise a vision of an integrated and sustainable approach to managing their use.

It will also help to support the UK’s international commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 14 on the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans.

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