The Western Pacific and its adjacent regions are of vast social and economic importance, as the ocean in the region, considered as the epicenter of the world marine biodiversity, is among the richest and most productive marine areas in the world. Humans, however, have put the ocean at risk of irrecoverable damage by unregulated exploration and development, increasing pollution, climate change and ocean acidification. The coastal environment has been changing quickly and experiencing many serious problems, such as harmful algal blooms (HABs), marine invasive species, coastal habitat loss.
With the support of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) over the past four years, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), has well established regional research networks, reviewed current status, developed and published several scientific publications and outreach materials on harmful algal blooms, marine toxins, marine alien species, coral reef restoration techniques. In order to further prevent, control and/or mitigate harmful algal blooms and marine invasive species, and explore the best practices for coastal habitats conservation and restoration, this project proposes to further bolster knowledge on those identified research focus through fostering regional research network and joint research, and strengthen regional/national institutional capacity through developing country/site specific trainings and the transfer of technology among participating institutes towards the establishment of IOC Regional Training and Research Center(s) on Marine Science.
The desired change that the project intends to bring about is improved scientific knowledge and capacity for protecting marine environment, and ensuring marine biodiversity.
The specific objectives include :
- bolster the knowledge on harmful algal blooms, marine toxins, marine alien species, and develop coastal habitat conservation and restoration tools through fostering research network and joint research;
- enhance the capacity on HAB identification and monitoring, marine toxin analysis, and coastal habitat conservation and restoration through the conduct of regular national and regional trainings, transfer of technology towards the establishment of IOC Regional Training and Research Center(s).
The expected impact and long term legacy would be that scientific knowledge will be greatly improved in the prevention, control and mitigation of HABs and marine alien species; effective tools and techniques will be shared and/or developed for coastal habitat conservation. More importantly, this project will develop national/regional capacity in a more sustainable manner through the establishment of relevant IOC Regional Training and Research Center(s) in selected marine scientific institutes and universities in light of their scientific specialization and recognition.