American Geophysical Union Releases Revised Position Statement on Ocean Research

Statement Highlights How Investments in Ocean Research and Education Programs Can Benefit the Economic Well-being of Nations

26 June 2013

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Geophysical Union today released a revised version of its position statement on ocean research. Titled, “Ocean Research and Education Are Foundations for Economic Growth,” the statement declares that, “Investments in ocean research and education benefit the economic well-being of nations through greater understanding of devastating environmental hazards, sustainable use of ocean resources, safer and efficient maritime transportation, and a healthier ocean environment for a changing world.” The statement is global in its scope, offering examples from the U.S. of the economic value of the ocean.

“From facilitating the transportation of goods to supplying sources of energy and food, we rely on the ocean to support our economy and wellbeing. The growing demands we place on our ocean compel us to be scientifically equipped to predict and prepare for changing ocean conditions and the impact on our quality of life,” said Phillip Taylor, chair of the Position Statement Review Panel. “As a leader in the geoscience community, it is crucial for AGU to adopt position statements that relate the understanding and application of our science to relevant public policy.  Ocean research has significantly advanced since the first ocean research position statement was adopted.  The policy and budget environments in which we operate have also changed. AGU’s new statement is more reflective of the current scientific knowledge. It also adopts a more global view of the challenges we face and the need for sustainable solutions.”

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Margaret Leinen (AGU’s president-elect) and Susan Roberts, members of the Position Statement Review Panel, will be taking questions from the press on Wednesday, 26 June from 12:30 – 1 p.m. during AGU’s annual Science Policy Conference in Washington, DC. Members of the press who are not able to attend the conference should contact Joan Buhrman or Peter Weiss to schedule an interview. Leinen will also be moderating one of the conference’s sessions, The Changing Ocean and Impacts on Human Health, from 10:30 a.m. until noon on 26 June. The session is part of the conference’s Ocean track.

AGU’s ocean research statement was first adopted in 2005, and was primarily concerned with the endorsement and implementation of the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy’s 2004 Report: “An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century.”

The newly updated statement was revised by a panel of experts and was adopted by the AGU Council and Board Executive Committee during their June 2013 meetings. A draft of the updated statement had been made available for comment to all AGU members in late 2012.

The 12-person panel that reviewed and updated the position statement included:

      Brian Baird, California Ocean Resource Management (Retired)

    • Lora Clarke, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • Jana Davis, Chesapeake Bay Trust
    • Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    • Robert Gagosian, Consortium for Ocean Leadership
    • Miriam Kastner, Scripps Institution for Oceanography
    • Margaret Leinen, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, and AGU President-elect
    • Frank Muller-Karger, University of South Florida
    • Susan Roberts, Ocean Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences

Phillip Taylor (chair), University of Southern California

  • Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR
  • Robert Weller, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


To view a copy of the revised statement, click here. To view a copy of the old statement, click here. To view all AGU position statements, click here.

The American Geophysical Union is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization with more than 62,000 members representing over 144 countries.  AGU advances the Earth and space sciences through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs.

AGU Contact
Joan Buhrman, +1 202-777-7509 (work), +1 (571) 213-3812 (cell), [email protected]