Seventy-one important questions for the conservation of marine biodiversity

E. C.M. Parsons, Brett Favaro, A. Alonso Aguirre, Amy L. Bauer, Louise K. Blight, John A. Cigliano, Melinda A. Coleman, Isabelle M. Côté, Megan Draheim, Stephen Fletcher, Melissa M. Foley, Rebecca Jefferson, Miranda C. Jones, Brendan P. Kelaher, Carolyn J. Lundquist, Julie Beth Mccarthy, Anne Nelson, Katheryn Patterson, Leslie Walsh, Andrew J. WrightWilliam J. Sutherland

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The ocean provides food, economic activity, and cultural value for a large proportion of humanity. Our knowledge of marine ecosystems lags behind that of terrestrial ecosystems, limiting effective protection of marine resources. We describe the outcome of 2 workshops in 2011 and 2012 to establish a list of important questions, which, if answered, would substantially improve our ability to conserve and manage the world's marine resources. Participants included individuals from academia, government, and nongovernment organizations with broad experience across disciplines, marine ecosystems, and countries that vary in levels of development. Contributors from the fields of science, conservation, industry, and government submitted questions to our workshops, which we distilled into a list of priority research questions. Through this process, we identified 71 key questions. We grouped these into 8 subject categories, each pertaining to a broad component of marine conservation: fisheries, climate change, other anthropogenic threats, ecosystems, marine citizenship, policy, societal and cultural considerations, and scientific enterprise. Our questions address many issues that are specific to marine conservation, and will serve as a road map to funders and researchers to develop programs that can greatly benefit marine conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1214
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Horizon scanning
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Policy
  • Priority setting
  • Research agenda
  • Research questions


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