Happy World Oceans Day 2016!

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The Oceans provide multiple and valuable ecosystem services to us, such as fish and climate regulation. But monitoring and assessing the status of the oceans, which cover 71% of our planet, is an enormous challenge. A joint effort by scientists from 14 nations working in the DEVOTES project www.devotes-project.eu funded by the EU, has made significant advances and developed innovative tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing the Environmental Status of the oceans and seas. These include many types of innovative methods, which range from using genetic markers to satellite images, to monitor the oceans and gather data from huge volumes and expanses of water in a cost-effective way. But it is not sufficient to gather data, it must be analysed and assessed to become useful information that can provide the necessary knowledge for informed decisions about the management of Oceans and their regional seas.

 

News_NEAT The DEVOTES scientists have also developed assessment tools that can integrate all types of data from all types of areas to assess the Environmental Status of the oceans and seas. Europe is a peninsula, projecting into the Atlantic Ocean, and surrounded by regional seas such as the Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean. DEVOTES scientists have made a substantial contribution to meeting the challenges and responsibility for the sustainable management of the Oceans and seas. The results have been presented at a joint meeting of Regional Seas Conventions and this has generated considerable interest, so that the results maybe applicable for the regional seas around the world and in all Oceans. A lot of thought and effort have been invested in making the tools both useful and user-friendly.
For example, the NEAT (Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool) also has an in-build indicator selector, that allows the user to select locally appropriate and suitable indicators from a vast catalogue of over 600. It also automatically calculates the uncertainties associated with the final assessment.

 

 

NEAT_buttonThe NEAT tool is available online and free of charge. A series of Webinars are been held to explain the tools, and also available online. Additionally, a workshop about the use of NEAT will be held in Vigo (Spain) on 29th June. Click here for more information.

 

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The results of the DEVOTES project have been widely disseminated. 126 scientific publications are available in Open Access. The NEAT tool is of interest not only to environmental authorities but also environmental consultancies and aquaculture firms assessing the suitability and quality of sites. A milestone conference “Marine Biodiversity – The Key to Healthy and Productive Seas” bringing together major stakeholders and scientists will be held in Brussels 17-19 of October. Register here to participate and make your contribution to our understanding of the worlds’ Oceans.

 

 

 

More information about the World Oceans Day is available at www.worldoceansday.org