About 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. Despite their vastness, oceans are under severe threat from human activity such as:
- Overharvesting of fish stocks
- Oil exploration and production
- Commercial shipping and careless recreational boating
- Coastal development
- Pollutants and waste
- Climate change
We've all helped cause these problems. But we can and must be part of the solution.
With nearly 70% of the world's fish stocks estimated to be dangerously depleted, and with a catastrophic worldwide decline in coral reefs—and the marine biodiversity they shelter—there's never been a more important time for Earthwatch's work researching the threats to our oceans.
Join Earthwatch's Celebration of Our Oceans by making a donation today and by considering sponsoring or attending our special oceans event in New York City on May 18 2009.
When you contribute to Earthwatch’s oceans programs, you help:
Support existing ocean research projects
Earthwatch currently funds 18 ocean research expeditions around the world, from studying fur seals in Alaska, to protecting whales and dolphins in Scotland, to carrying out coral reef surveys in the Caribbean, to tracking sea turtles in Mexico—and more.
Develop 5 new ocean research projects by 2012
Earthwatch is planning new projects to study and save threatened coastal ecosystems such as estuaries, salt marshes, lagoons, shorelines, kelp forests, and seagrass beds.
Increase the impact of our global oceans research and engagement programs
The findings from our oceans research projects have powerful impacts on conservation and management policies—but only if we can help our scientists share their data as widely as possible. We seek to expand the experiential education value of our ocean expeditions and design new models for engaging new audiences in oceans research.
Earthwatch Gets Results That Get Noticed for the World's Oceans:
- In 2008, Drs. David Smith and David Suggett discovered a coral reef off of Curieuse Island in the Seychelles, leading local authorities to create of a marine research center. Read more at Bloomberg.com.
- The Costa Rican National Park Parque Marino Las Baulas was created because of the data collected by Dr. Paladino and other Earthwatch Scientists and volunteers studying ways to protect sea turtles. Before, poachers took nearly 100% of nests; now, almost all are protected.
- This Newsweek.com article on volunteering features our Diamondback Terrapins of Barnegat Bay project, including a video of Earthwatch Scientist Hal Avery.
- Follow Conde Nast Traveler reporter Alison Humes as she snorkels above stunning coral and colorful tropical fish on the Bahamian Reef Survey expedition.
- Findings by Dr. Giovanni Bearzi (Dolphins of Greece) and his research colleagues have appeared in Mammal Review. Download "Ecology and conservation of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Mediterranean Sea.”
- From our Whales and Dolphins of Moray Firth project, Dr. Kevin Robinson and colleagues have published "Bottlenose dolphins using coastal regions adjacent to a Special Area of Conservation in north-east Scotland" in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, Volume 88, Special Issue 6.
- Earthwatch Scientists Dr. Scott Eckert, Dr. Frank Paladino, and Dr. James Spotila, along with their colleagues, published "Persistent leatherback turtle migrations present opportunities for conservation" in the online Public Library of Science Biology journal, identifying how their research on the migration patterns of leatherback sea-turtles-some tracked with tags attached by Earthwatch volunteers-can be used to guide future ocean management efforts for this endangered species.
- Research Station at Hunting Caye Handed to University of Belize. The Sapodilla Cayes Living Reef Center—a marine research center built by Earthwatch—is now owned and managed by the University of Belize. With funding from an anonymous donor and the Oak Foundation, the center is a hub for marine research and education. At the dedication ceremony, the Deputy Prime Minister of Belize gave the keynote address.