Box 15: This national marine biodiversity research initiative could be many things to many people.


  • An environmentally responsible and socially relevant basic research program on the causes and consequences of changes in marine biological diversity due to effects of human activities.
  • A research agenda guided by well-defined research questions that will be addressed concurrently in several different regional-scale systems.
  • A program that focuses on large-scales that were previously intractable but are absolutely required to address the most compelling biodiversity research questions.
  • A partnership between the ecological and oceanographic sciences, both conceptually and methodologically, for explaining biodiversity patterns, processes, and consequences.
  • A partnership between ecology and taxonomy, with a major focus on reinvigorating the field of marine taxonomy and systematics.
  • A research program with the ultimate goal of improving predictions regarding future effects of human activities on marine biodiversity, thus facilitating use of the sea for societal needs while minimizing impacts on nature.

Box 16:

This national marine biodiversity research initiative could do many things for many people.


  • Enhance understanding of the fundamental processes responsible for the creation, maintenance, and regulation of marine biodiversity and for changes due to anthropogenic effects.
  • Dramatically improve knowledge of the magnitude and distribution of the diversity of animals, plants, and microbes in the marine environment.
  • Stimulate the development of new techniques for studying linkages between local (ecological) and regional (oceanographic) processes.
  • Stimulate the field of marine taxonomy and systematics, particularly the incorporation of molecular techniques for species identification and population differentiation.
  • Provide valuable information for policymakers regarding the preservation and conservation of marine life in the face of rapidly expanding threats from human activities.
  • Lead to the long-term, sustained use of the oceans and marine organisms for food, mineral resources, biomedical products, recreation, and other aesthetic and economic gains.

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