After an intensive consultation and review process that began in 2012, the IMBeR Science Plan and Implementation Strategy (SPIS) has now been sanctioned by IMBeR’s sponsors – the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and Future Earth. The SPIS outlines IMBeR´s research agenda until 2025, towards its vision of Ocean sustainability under global change for the benefit of society.Published 20.11.2017 – Updated 20.11.2017
The Science Plan is developed around three Grand Challenges focusing on climate variability, global change and drivers and stressors. Grand Challenge I is to use an ecosystem approach to detect, understand and quantify the effects of natural and anthropogenic change on marine ecosystems, in the time and space scales that these changes and responses operate. The second Grand Challenge is to incorporate this information into models to project and predict future states of marine environments and the dependant human societies at multiple scales. Grand Challenge III is to improve communication and understanding between science, policy-makers and society for better governance, adaptation and mitigation towards ocean sustainability. Within each Grand Challenge priority research areas have been identified with specific questions that need to be addressed.
The SPIS also outlines new research topics or Innovation Challenges that we believe IMBeR can effectively tackle within three to five years. Innovation Challenge 1 is to better understand of the role of metabolic diversity and evolution in marine biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem processes. Innovation Challenge 2 is to contribute to developing a global ocean ecosystem observational and modelling network that provides “ecosystem essential ocean variables” and improves marine data and information management. Innovation Challenge 3 is to advance understanding of ecological feedbacks in the Earth System and Innovation Challenge 4 is to improve the use of social science data for ocean management, decision making and policy development. Again, there are priority research questions for each Innovation Challenge, and the outputs from the Innovation Challenges will feed into one or more of the Grand Challenges. They also enable IMBeR to change focus as major science discoveries are made and new priorities arise, especially regarding scientific innovations.
IMBeR’s existing structure of regional programmes, working groups, task teams, regular symposia and summer schools will evolve into, or be augmented with new groups and activities, as needed to address the Challenges. IMBeR science will continue to be strengthened by its ever-increasing community of researchers all over the world, as well as on-going and new partnerships and collaborations with international and national organisations and programmes.
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