Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics

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The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project was proposed to help address the United Nations Ocean Decade Challenge to “understand the effects of multiple stressors on ocean ecosystems, and develop solutions to monitor, protect, manage and restore ecosystems and their biodiversity under changing environmental, social and climate conditions.” Our project focuses primarily on conserving tropical marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangroves, as well as incorporating measurable actions that communities can use to reach their conservation goals.

On the Global Reef Expedition, we saw that, particularly in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC), there was not only a lack of scientific information, but also a lack of ocean literacy, particularly regarding local ecosystems. The Science Without Borders®: Conserving the Tropics project will leverage our existing scientific data and outreach programs, partnering with universities, non-profit organizations, governments, and communities to help raise awareness and improve conservation of these fragile marine ecosystems. We will be addressing not only the lack of scientific knowledge, but also use outreach programs to improve community wide ocean literacy to help influence behavior change…

The Blue & Green Security Forum

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Earlier this month, H.R.H. Princess Hala bint Khaled bin Sultan spoke about the importance of marine conservation for sustainable development at The Global Diwan’s Blue & Green Security Forum in Nice, France.

This high-level event brought together business leaders, experts, and decision makers from Europe and the Middle East to tackle some of tomorrow’s most important challenges: the environment and food security. Designed to inspire a renewed dialogue between Europe and the Arab world, the Forum covered many topics related to sustainable economic and human development in the MENA region. It also highlighted women and young leaders who are committed to providing solutions.

As a Director of the Living Oceans Foundation, Princess Hala spoke eloquently about her own journey into marine conservation and the Foundation’s work to preserve healthy oceans for current and future generations. She also called upon the global community to support efforts to conserve coral reefs and other coastal marine ecosystems—before it is too late.

See what she said in her speech from the opening session…

Surveying Coral Reefs in Hawaii with ACES

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Earlier this year, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation joined Dr. Ved Chirayath on a research mission to survey and map coral reefs in Lana’i, Hawaii. Chirayath leads the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science’s Aircraft Center for Earth Studies (ACES), and has pioneered a new approach to mapping reefs using drones equipped with fluid lensing technology.

Fluid lensing harnesses the unique power of waves to magnify and concentrate light on the seafloor, essentially allowing users to see through the water and map the seafloor in stunning detail…

Sharing our findings at the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS)

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation will be attending the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) this week to share our findings from the Global Reef Expedition.  The 15th International Coral Reef Symposium is the primary international conference for coral …

World Oceans Day: Working with Partners for Positive Ocean Change

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Happy World Oceans Day!

This year’s theme for World Oceans Day is “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean.” Here at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, we are adopting this theme by celebrating all of the ways we are working with partners to bring about positive ocean change.

We know we can’t save the ocean alone, so we embrace our philosophy of Science Without Borders® and work with like-minded institutions on areas where we can lend our expertise. Over the past year we have made great strides in working with our partners around the world on joint efforts to preserve, protect, and restore our living oceans…

Riyadh Blue Talk: Tune-in Tomorrow @ 7am ET

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The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is delighted to be participating in the Riyadh Blue Talk tomorrow morning, May 24, 2022.

The “Riyadh Blue Talk” is organized by the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the Embassy of Portugal, and the Embassy of Kenya in Riyadh. The event begins at 7am ET and will be live-streamed to allow for virtual participation.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has been invited to share our knowledge of marine science and conservation, and to present our work to provide science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health.

Our Chief Scientist, Sam Purkis, will be discussing what measures can be implemented so we can have accessible, affordable, shared data to better support the decision-making process towards ocean sustainability. He will also be participating in a panel discussion on increasing scientific knowledge and developing research capacity to advance ocean conservation initiatives.

Tune in to watch his presentation LIVE @ 8:20 am ET!

StoryMaps: A New Way to Explore our Findings from the Global Reef Expedition

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My name is Joana, and I am an IMBRSea student. This spring, I have had the incredible opportunity to intern at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. During this time, I helped the Foundation create StoryMaps to tell key conservation stories about the Global Reef Expedition. I produced three StoryMaps showcasing the findings and data collected during the Expedition.

My first StoryMap, Mapping Our Planet’s Coral Reefs, was the first of its kind published by the Living Oceans Foundation. This StoryMap guides user through the World Reef Map, showing people how to use it. A proper understanding of the detailed information available in the web-based map will help policymakers, local communities, and conservation organizations establish conservation plans to fight the unfolding coral reef crisis.

The second StoryMap takes users aboard the Global Reef Expedition, showing them what is happening to coral reefs around the globe. This StoryMap includes information on the scientific surveys carried out, the methodology used to map coral reefs, and the discoveries over a 10-year mission around the globe.

The last StoryMap, Lessons Learned from the Global Reef Expedition, highlights the five take-home messages of the Global Reef Expedition. The coral reef crisis was apparent in every location surveyed, and swift action is needed to conserve our planet’s coral reefs.

Foraminifera are windows to understanding long-term coral reef stress

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This guest blog comes from Dr. Alexander Humphreys, a geology lecturer and researcher at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is working with Dr. Humphreys and our partners at UM on a new National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project, “Protists Prophets,” that is looking at benthic sediment samples collected on the Global Reef Expedition (GRE) to assess the state of the coral reef environment over the past 1,000 years.

I am a modern benthic foraminiferal researcher, which means that I study some of the tiniest organisms in the ocean in order to learn about past environmental conditions on coral reefs. However, before we get to this story, let me first explain a bit about these little critters and their importance to science.

Foraminifera, or forams for short, are protists, which are single-celled amoeba-like organisms that grow a protective shell, called a ‘test’. Today there are roughly 4,000 species of forams and they can be found living in all the world’s oceans, from polar environments to the deepest ocean trenches nearly 11 km down. Forams are important to science because they have short lifespans and are sensitive to environmental change. This sensitivity causes rapid shuffling of species abundances over time as the environmental conditions and climates gradually—and sometime abruptly—fluctuate. When the life of a foram comes to an end, the story does not stop there because even though the organism decays, its hard protective test preserves well and fossilizes, laying down evidence of these population changes in the geologic record—one that goes back 500 million years! I approach this deep fossil record of foraminifera like the pages in a book that tells the story of oceanic and environmental change. The trick is learning how to read the story that these little protists have to tell.

Reflections on a Big Year

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As 2021 comes to a close, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation is taking some time to reflect on everything we have accomplished this year.

Despite the restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic, we have had quite a few things to celebrate. This year we entered into a partnership with NASA to map the world’s reefs, concluded our 10-year Global Reef Expedition, and published a final report of our findings. We also presented our research at two major international conferences: the IUCN World Conservation Congress and the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), released a report of our research in the Chagos Archipelago, and published several peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Our education and outreach departments also had a remarkable year. This year we launched a new mangrove conservation program with our partners in Jamaica and had students from over 60 countries submit artwork to our Science Without Borders Challenge. Last but certainly not least, we produced an excellent TV show on ocean health, “Our Living Oceans,” which is now playing on EarthxTV.

It’s been an incredible year, and we look forward to the work we will accomplish next year to help protect, preserve, and restore our living oceans.