Marine biodiversity is a fundamental characteristic of our planet that depends on and influences climate, water quality, and many ocean state variables. It is also at the core of ecosystem services that can make or break economic development in any region. Our purpose is to highlight the need for marine biological observations to inform science and conservation management and to support the blue economy. We provide ten recommendations, applicable now, to measure and forecast biological Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) as part of economic monitoring efforts. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) provides a timely opportunity to implement these recommendations to benefit humanity and enable the USD 3 trillion global ocean economy expected by 2030. • Diversity of life is a fundamental characteristic of our planet, from its genes and cells to organisms and populations. • A growing human population will be even more dependent on marine organisms by 2030 and beyond. • More biological data is needed in global observing systems to monitor and manage marine life and associated biodiversity. • Best practices are fundamental to consistent monitoring from place to place and accurate change detection over time. • The Ocean Decade offers an opportunity to advance human capacity in developed/ underdeveloped regions to conserve marine life.


  • A growing human population will be even more dependent on ma­ rine organisms by 2030 and beyond

  • Marine Life 2030 and Ocean Biomolecular Observing Network (OBON) are closely linked with other Ocean Decade Actions, including those focused on better coordination of a Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), ocean acidification and ocean oxygen monitoring, observing the deep ocean and air-sea in­ teractions, and improved forecasting of ocean conditions, including ecological forecasting

  • Marine Life 2030 seeks to advance the implementation of the GOOS Framework for Ocean Observing, building on a collaboration between programs of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC; including the GOOS Biology and Ecosystems Panel, the Ocean Biodi­ versity Information System/OBIS, and the Ocean Best Practices System/ OBPS) and the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), GEO Blue Planet, the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), the United Nations (UN) Environment Programme World Conservation and Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the Ocean Knowledge-Action Network (Ocean KAN) of Future Earth

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A growing human population will be even more dependent on ma­ rine organisms by 2030 and beyond. During Ocean Obs’ (September 2019, Hawaii), a ten-year implementation plan was designed to integrate biodiversity and marine life monitoring into the GOOS These observations are the basis for monitoring the many and diverse aspects of ocean health. Well established technologies for biodiversity observing are avail­ able today and should be used widely with improved coordination [19,20,21] Newer technologies such as remote sensing, in situ imaging, and ’omics, leveraging autonomous platforms, innovative submergence facilities and vehicles, artificial intelligence, and machine learning provide exciting new opportunities to map and monitor marine life. Building on traditional taxonomic and functional trait studies, these complementary methods extend present capabilities and provide infor­ mation about local variation in a context of changes occurring at regional to global scales, and from short to longer time scales This is required to improve the uncertainty around trends detected in biological and biogeochemical variables. We provide key investment opportunities, driven by the societal challenges identified for the Ocean Decade

Societal challenges addressed by ocean observations
Societal Challenge
Next steps
Criteria for success: ocean monitoring in national accounting

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