Oceans & Seas

Oceans and seas play a vital role in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they significantly contribute to the Earth's biosphere's health and the global economy. They are critical to sustaining life on earth, acting as a major source of food and oxygen while also serving as natural carbon sinks that mitigate climate change impacts. SDG 14, "Life Below Water," explicitly acknowledges the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of the world's oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. However, this process has implications such as ocean acidification, negatively impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystems. These impacts, coupled with unsustainable fishing practices and pollution, threaten the health of our oceans and seas. SDG 14 sets targets to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, and regulate harvesting and end overfishing to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.

Oceans also support economic wellbeing. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. By protecting oceanic ecosystems, the SDGs also support SDG 1, "No Poverty," and SDG 8, "Decent Work and Economic Growth." Furthermore, the oceanic routes are critical for global trade, supporting SDG 9, "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."

Furthermore, by implementing strategies for cleaner and more sustainable use of oceans and seas, it can also contribute to SDG 13, "Climate Action." For instance, developing and implementing new technologies to harness energy from waves and tides can promote renewable energy usage and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, aligning with SDG 7, "Affordable and Clean Energy."

Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, January 2019
Global biodiversity targets have far-reaching implications for nature conservation worldwide. Scenarios and models hold unfulfilled promise for ensuring such targets are well founded and implemented; here, we review how they can and should inform the Aichi Targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and their reformulation. They offer two clear benefits: providing a scientific basis for the wording and quantitative elements of targets; and identifying synergies and trade-offs by accounting for interactions between targets and the actions needed to achieve them.
The current regime governing Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) as a global commons has resulted in overutilization of fisheries resources and patchwork attempts to regulate resource extraction. States are looking to expand resource extraction in ABNJs, including marine genetic resources, creating pressures to regulate these activities. As a result, since 2004, the United Nations has been holding preparatory meetings to lay the groundwork for a new international legally binding instrument (ILBI) to address the gaps left by UNCLOS.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 110, January 2019
Microplastics are widespread contaminants, virtually present in all environmental compartments. However, knowledge on sources, fate and environmental concentration over time and space still is limited due to the laborious and varied analytical procedures currently used. In this work we critically review the methods currently used for sampling and detection of microplastics, identifying flaws in study design and suggesting promising alternatives.
Plastics entering the environment will persist and continue to degrade and fragment to smaller particles under the action of various environmental factors. These microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP) are likely to pose a higher environmental impact, as well as they are more prone to adsorb organic contaminants and pathogens from the surrounding media, due to their higher surface area to volume ratio. Little known on their characteristics, fragmentation, distribution and impact on freshwater ecosystems.

TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 110, January 2019

This review provides insight into the abundance, origin, distribution and composition of MPs in the sea surface and water column of the Mediterranean Sea. Literature data on MP particles on the sea surface showed an evident heterogeneous distribution and composition, with marked geographical differences between Mediterranean sub-basins. A standardized protocol for water sampling, extraction and detection of plastic debris is strongly recommended.


Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Volume , 1 January 2019

The pollution of the marine environment by solid wastes, either directly introduced into the sea or discharged into the oceans from rivers or pipelines, is considered from the perspective of both their impacts and their regulation. The waste materials covered include dredged material, particulate wastes from sand/gravel extraction, and land reclamation, and industrial wastes including mining wastes, munitions, and plastics/litter.


Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 34, October 2018, Pages 54-61.

There is a need to broaden the measures used to determine marine management effectiveness, especially in the context of achieving the SDGs. To advance goal 14, this article urges governments to pay more attention to new governance tools, including open innovation, when formulating new policy aimed at building future scenarios of economic resilience involving marine resource use.
This solution-focused report — the fourth in its series — offers 10 new markets which could help get the Global Goals back on track, such as blockchain-based land rights for Goal 10 and energy-efficient cooling for Goal 13. The report aims to demonstrate how global sustainability challenges and risks can be seen as opportunities.
Elsevier, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 33, December 2018
Rapid ocean warming as a result of climate change poses a key risk for coral reefs. Even if the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement are achieved, coral reefs are likely to decline by 70–90% relative to their current abundance by midcentury. Although alarming, coral communities that survive will play a key role in the regeneration of reefs by mid-to-late century.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 109, December 2018
The Mediterranean Sea is affected by one of the most significant plastic pollution worldwide. This review critically evaluates the most recent literature on the presence of microplastics in sediments, suggested to be long term sinks and have a high potential to accumulate this kind of marine debris. A picture of microplastic levels in coastal environments is given, evidencing information gaps and considering also estuary, lagoons and areas influenced by the contribution of rivers. A wide range of contamination levels has been found, with the highest in lagoon and estuary environments.