Oxygen is critical to the health of the planet. It affects the cycles of carbon, nitrogen and other key elements, and is a fundamental requirement for marine life from the seashore to the greatest depths of the ocean. Nevertheless, deoxygenation is worsening in the coastal and open ocean. This is mainly the result of human activities that are increasing global temperatures (CO2-induced warming) and increasing loads of nutrients from agriculture, sewage, and industrial waste, including pollution from power generation from fossil fuels and biomass.
Through the participation of high level scientists from across the world, the newly established IOC expert group, the Global Ocean Oxygen Network GO2NE is committed to providing a global and multidisciplinary view of deoxygenation, with a focus on understanding the multiple aspects and impacts. The network offers scientific advice to policy makers to counter this concerning trend and to preserve marine resources in the presence of deoxygenation.
Currently the members of the core working group represent 21 institutions in 11 countries.
The Network’s scientific work, outreach, and capacity building efforts include facilitating communication with other established networks and working groups (e.g. IOCCP, GOOS, IGMETS, GOA-ON, GlobalHAB, WESTPAC O2NE), improving observations systems, identifying and filling knowledge gaps, as well as developing related capacity development activities. GO2NE is moreover preparing a summary on deoxygenation for policy makers. In collaboration with SFB754 it recently initiated the news site www.ocean-oxygen.org to provide information on deoxygenation to scientists, stakeholders and the interested public.
A wide range of actions are planned for the upcoming years to raise awareness, to encourage international collaboration, to create knowledge on current and future impacts of declining oxygen concentrations in the ocean on marine organisms, ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles and human well-being.
In this context, the Global Ocean Oxygen Network established by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, is committed to broaden the understanding and support underlying science regarding the impacts of nutrient pollution on increased deoxygenation (SDG 14.1). It further supports the implementation of sustainable fisheries (SDG 14.7), and aims to improve the knowledge of how reduced oxygen levels are linked to additional stressors, such as harmful algal blooms, ocean acidification and global warming, that combine to reduce marine ecosystem resilience and ecosystem services (SDG 14.3).
This voluntary commitment clearly aims to increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology (SDG 14.a).
This commitment intends to support ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of sustainable use of marine resources, which are endangered by more than 500 coastal ecosystems identified as suffering from hypoxia and a loss of more than 2% (77 billion tons) of the global ocean oxygen inventory since 1960.
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Technical brief and scientific synthesis on deoxygenation in the ocean Coordination with GOOS IMSOO effort Support of newsfeed website with regard to deoxygenation and the impacts on the ocean in collaboration with SFB754
Support of the O2 international scientific conference, which will bring together the watershed-based and open ocean deoxygenation researchers, and scientists from SIDS, developing countries, and developed economies (https://www.sfb754.de/o2conference2018) Global Atlas on low ocean oxygen areas Capacity building – workshops, planning of summer school
Outreach products, capacity building scientific exchange Work to promote and facilitate oxygen observing locally and globally. Convene an oxygen theme session at Ocean Obs 19 to elevate awareness and discussion.
Actively develop innovation and scientific coordination related to deoxygenation observing, technology transfer, management practices (mitigation and adaptation) in the context of the International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development Creation of a bibliography Identification of open access data