This weekend, I spent time in my home state of Florida at the Manatee Bowl, one of the regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which was hosted by RSMAS in Miami (thanks!). The students were amazing and inspirational, as was the dedication and enthusiasm of the volunteers, coaches, and coordinators at all the regional bowls across the country. It’s easy to envision all that many of these students will accomplish in and around ocean science and technology, including the discovery and implementation of a means to ensure a future ocean that is healthy and prosperous. I walk away from every NOSB experience with a renewed feeling of hope and optimism that is even more welcome than the warmer climate I experienced for a few days.
But it’s not just the next generation of scientists who inspire me – the current generation of ocean scientists is also doing an excellent job at that. For example, last week the inaugural winner of the Carlo Heip International Award for outstanding accomplishment in marine biodiversity science was announced. The late Carlo Heip, who passed away in 2013, was a key part of the Census of Marine Life (a former COL program) as a member of the Scientific Steering Committee that provided conceptual guidance, determined scientific goals, and oversaw the progress and direction of the entire program. He was also one of the leaders of the European Census of Marine Life and with the recipient of this first-ever award, Carlos M. Duarte, co-chaired the first World Conference on Marine Biodiversity. I congratulate Professor Duarte, a leading authority on seagrasses who has advanced our understanding of the changing climate on marine ecosystems, organisms, and biodiversity and whose research has supported important policy and management decisions.
This week, Congress is again confronted with the deadline for the current continuing resolution on February 8. It is expected they will consider a fourth extension to fund the federal government through March 22. Despite the uncertainty of the appropriations process, one thing I am certain of is the dedication of countless ocean scientists and technicians – today’s and tomorrow’s – who are in dogged pursuit of increased understanding and solutions to the challenges our ocean faces. And that’s what is really important!
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Research conducted at The University of Texas at Austin has found that changes in ocean currents in the Atlantic Ocean influence rainfall in the Western Hemisphere, and that these two systems have been linked for thousands of years. The findings, published on Jan. 26 in Nature Communications, are important because the detailed look into Earth’s past climate and the factors that influenced it could help scientists understand how these same factors may influence our climate today and in the future.
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