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State of the Marine Environment report released

The broader benefits of sustained ocean observing and open data access have been highlighted in the 2016 State of Environment (SoE) Report.


Plankton. Image credit: Anita Slotwinski

Copepod. Image credit: Julian Uribe-Palomino

State of the Marine Environment report.

Released on 7 March by the Minister for Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, SoE 2016 is the fifth national assessment of the state of Australia’s environment, reporting on the current condition of and likely outlook for our environment.  Full details can be found here.
 
The report includes a chapter on the Marine Environment with many references to IMOS.  These cover research using IMOS observations as well as targeted analysis of datasets and time series that simply did not exist before IMOS, and were not available for previous SoE reports.
 
IMOS has been used to help understand pressures on the marine environment (such as climate variability and change), and to help assess state and trends of marine biodiversity and ecosystem health. 

In considering the effectiveness of marine management, the report notes that the August 2016 review of Commonwealth Marine Reserves said “Continuing support for IMOS and the Australian Ocean Data Network was identified as a vital part of the monitoring process”.  This is reiterated in the section on outlooks for the marine environment, where IMOS is heavily referenced under sustained ocean monitoring.
 

“The use of IMOS in State of Environment reporting is a good example of effective and efficient use of government funding” says IMOS Director, Tim Moltmann. 

“As a national research infrastructure, our core mission is to underpin high quality science and research.  By engaging a broader stakeholder base in our planning, and making all of the data available, we can have impact across government portfolios, including Environment and Energy.”

 
CSIRO’s ECOS blog also highlights the importance of IMOS in articles by Marine Environment chapter co-author, Dr Karen Evans, and by Professor Anthony Richardson who leads the IMOS plankton program.

Marine Environment co-author Dr Karen Evans notes that the most significant advancement since the last State of Environment report has been data.

"With thanks to the role of IMOS (Integrated Marine Observing System) and other long-term observation and monitoring programs, we have seen a progressive building of data sets that are long enough for us to actually determine, with confidence, trends in the marine environment. This has been lacking in the past. If we want to continue to provide good science-based State of the Environment reports in the future, we must continue to support those marine data streams."