National Academies Press: OpenBook

Ocean Studies Board: 2019-2020 Annual Report (2023)

Chapter:Letter from the Board Director

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Suggested Citation:"Letter from the Board Director." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Ocean Studies Board: 2019-2020 Annual Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26856.

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Letter from the Board Director How the world has changed over the past two years! We have adapted to working in a virtual environment: connecting from our homes, relying on video conferencing platforms (Zoom is now a verb), adjusting to meeting and working with colleagues with whom we have never met in person. Fundamentally, the pandemic reminds us of how interconnected we are. An outbreak of a contagious disease in one coun- try may spread globally; a phenomenon not limited to diseases in humans, but also causing outbreaks in livestock and wildlife that can have devastating economic and ecologic effects. Global warming provides another reminder of our interconnectedness. With contin- ued emissions of greenhouse gases, the Earth continues to warm and bring extremes in weather that are a bellwether of changing climate. Recent work by the Ocean Stud- ies Board addresses some of the challenges the international community is facing as a consequence. Highlights from our 2019-2020 portfolio include the second report for the study on Interventions to Increase the Resilience of Coral Reefs. Novel genetic, reproductive, physiological, ecological, and environmental approaches have been proposed to increase coral resilience to warming waters as a consequence of climate change. As this need has become more urgent, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration requested the study to provide a framework for decisions about which interventions to use and the priority research needed to bring more interventions into readiness. NOAA used the recommendations from the report to develop the NOAA Action Plan on Coral Interventions. In 2020, OSB established the U.S. leadership for the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030. The decade will focus the international ocean community on advancing the science necessary for achieving sustainability for our ocean resources. The OSB formed the U.S. National Committee for the Ocean Decade and setup a website and other communications tools to foster U.S. contributions to the Decade, enhance connections across organizations participating in Decade ac- tivities, and inspire the ocean science community to generate new, transformational ideas in support of the goals for the Decade, what the committee refers to as “Ocean- Shots.” Finally, the OSB began a number of important studies to be released in 2021 and 2022, including a study on the U.S. contribution to global ocean plastic waste and another study on the promises, risks, and research needs of various methods to store carbon in the ocean toe combat climate change. It’s a privilege to lead my dedicated board members and talented staff at this exciting time in the ocean science community. Susan Roberts, Ph.D. Director, Ocean Studies Board 1

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The Ocean Studies Board (OSB) is a unit of the Division on Earth and Life Studies of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. OSB explores the science, policies, and infrastructure needed to understand, manage, and conserve coastal and marine environments and resources. This annual report highlights the published and ongoing activities of OSB from 2019 to 2020.

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