Situación actual de la biodiversidad marina… un “océano de problemas” pero también de oportunidades

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Por Sebastian Muñoz

Es bien sabido que la biodiversidad del planeta afronta un momento crítico como consecuencia de las acciones humana. Los ecosistemas marinos no son ajenos a esta realidad, ya que muchas de sus especies enfrentan un futuro incierto en términos de conservación. En pocas palabras nos enfrentamos a un “océano de problemas” para la vida marina, causaod por el calentamiento global, especies invasivas, contaminación, sobrepesca, etc. A primera vista el panorama puede ser intimidante e incluso desalentador, entonces ¿Cómo navegar en este tempestuoso océano?, efectivamente no se trata de una situación fácil de resolver, pero es al mismo tiempo un escenario de oportunidades para aquellos que se proponen aportar propuestas de mitagción a través de la investigación científica.

Bajo este contexto, el Congreso Internacional de la Biología de la Conservación (ICCB) acogió un gran número de invetigaciones del mayor nivel científico que sugieren que la pérdida de biodiversidad marina debe ser manejada desde las escalas ecológicas más grandes, incluyendo el ámbito local hasta el global. Así mismo, fueron presentados múltiples ejemplos en donde existe una integración real de las actividades científicas en las decisiones gubernamentales. Esto es necesario para una protección más efectiva de la biodiversidad, ya que se requiere que los tomadores de decisiones actúen de manera congruente con lo sugerido por los científicos. Del mismo modo cabe destacar se hizo mención a varias estrategias investigativas en las cuales fue incluida la acción comunitaria. Finalmente, el cambio de comportamiento individual de la población es esencial, pues de las decisiones cotidianas depende en gran medida la protección de la vida marina a largo plazo.

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Una de las presentaciones de ciencias marinas compartidas en la reunión del ICCB 2017 en Cartagena, Colombia. (Imagen: Sebastian Muñoz)

Muchas de las investigaciones presentadas referentes a temas marinos fueron realizadas en ecosistemas representados en el país anfitrión del ICCB. Colombia posee una de las diversidades más ricas del mundo, pero al mismo tiempo cuenta con condiciones socioeconómicas, educativas, políticas y de conflicto armado interno que conllevan a una alta dificultad para la protección de sus mares. Si se suman además aspectos como el calentamiento global, se convierte en un claro ejemplo del “océano de problemas” referido previamente. No obstante los diversos estudios presentados en el congreso son sin duda alguna un paso fundamental en la construcción de lineamientos que permitirán enfocar los esfuerzos de conservación en el país e integrar de mejor manera los actores participantes en la conservación. Esto brindará nuevas perspectivas y esperanzas para proteger los invaluables ecosistemas marinos colombianos y los organismos que allí habitan.

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Una presentación sobre la tortuga carey en peligro crítico, que desembarca en la costa de Colombia para depositar sus huevos (Imagen: Sebastian Muñoz)

Con este congreso se recalca la importancia de continuar con las investigaciones y estudios de los ambientes marinos de Colombia y el mundo, pues ante tantos actores que afectan negativamente a los organismos de los océanos y mares, hay que tener respuestas viables y efectivas que aseguren su conservación y la protección de los ecosistemas en que habitan. ¡Este es el momento de aportar más soluciones y presentarlas en el Congreso Internacional de la Conservación Marina 2018, que tendrá lugar en Kuching, Malasia!

Making Marine Science Matter


Sebastián Eduardo Muñoz Duque nació en Medellín (Colombia). Actualmente está terminando sus estudios de licenciatura en Biología en la Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. Ha sido parte del grupo de investigación en Ictiología (GIUA) en su universidad durante los últimos tres años. Sebastián también ha participado en diferentes proyectos de ecología de peces de agua dulce con la Universidad Nacional de Colombia y ha trabajado para diferentes empresas interesadas en la gestión de peces de agua dulce. En el último semestre, participó en varios cursos sobre ecología de agua dulce en la Universidad de Burdeos, Francia.

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The Situation of Marine Biodiversity… An “Ocean of Problems” But Also of Opportunities

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By Sebastian Muñoz

It is well known that the Earth’s biodiversity is in a critical moment as a result of human actions. Marine ecosystems too are threatened by various human impacts, and many marine species are confronting a complex and uncertain future in terms of their conservation. In a few words, there is an “ocean of problems” for marine life: global warming, invasive species, pollution, overfishing, etc. threaten many species. At first glance the panorama of the future can be intimidating and discouraging, so how to navigate these uncertain seas? It is not an easy situation to solve, but at the same time, it is an opportunity for those researching and working to propose forward-thinking solutions for the future.

In this light, the marine research and science shared at the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), held in Cartagena, Colombia this July, presented a multitude of high quality examples where teams and people from both small and large groups were/are working to protect biodiversity. Many examples were presented where a real integration of scientific activities in governmental spheres is occurring. This is key to conservation since more effective protection of (marine) biodiversity undoubtedly requires the decision-makers in governments to act congruently with conservation goals. Different research strategies were also shared that included community action and involvement which ultimately led to the changing of individual behavior in people. This is essential since everyday decisions can impact the protection of marine life in the long run.

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One of the marine science presentations shared at the ICCB 2017 meeting in Cartagena, Colombia. (Image: Sebastian Muñoz)

Much of the research presented on marine issues were conducted in local ecosystems of the meeting’s host country. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, but at the same time, deals with a wide variety of complex issues including socioeconomic, educational, political, and internal armed conflict conditions. This has lead to a high level of difficulty for the environmental protection of Colombia’s seas. Remembering that global changes, such as climate change, are still occurring, Colombia becomes a clear example of the “ocean of problems” previously mentioned. However, the various studies presented at the congress are undoubtedly a fundamental step in the construction of guidelines that will help focus conservation efforts in Colombia. The research and initiatives shared aimed towards improving the integration the various actors involved in conservation, and provided new perspectives and hopes to obtain positive results and protect invaluable Colombian marine ecosystems and their amazing biodiversity.

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Presentation on the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, which comes ashore on the coast of Colombia to lay its eggs (Image: Sebastian Muñoz)

Given the above, it is important to continue and sustain research and conservation efforts with the marine environments of Colombia, and the world, because conservation is necessary and important! We need viable and effective steps and answers to help assure conservation and protection of marine ecosystems and the people who rely on them for their living! It is time to come up with more solutions and what better place to present and further discuss them than at the 2018 International Marine Conservation Congress in Kuching, Malaysia!

Making Marine Science Matter


Sebastian Eduardo Muñoz Duque was born in Medellín (Colombia). Currently, he is finishing his undergraduate’s studies in Biology at Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. He has been part of the research Group in Ichtiology (GIUA) at his university for the last three years. Sebastian has also participated in different projects involving freshwater fish ecology with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and has worked for different enterprises interested in freshwater fish management. Last semester, he participated in various courses about freshwater ecology at Université de Bordeaux, France.

 

On the Road to IMCC5

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A crowd of scientists, marine managers, policy makers, journalists, and others gathered for a cheerful social event at IMCC4. Expect to see more excited crowds of marine conservation-minded folks at IMCC5 in Kuching! (Image: Keni Rienks)

We are currently less than a year out from kicking off the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5), with the official start of the conference in only 306 days! The various committees and organizers for IMCC5 have been working for a while now to get the conference off the ground and running. Now that we are less than a year out, organization and planning is kicking into overdrive!

As we work towards finalizing the plan for making IMCC5 as accommodating, rigorous, and enjoyable a conference as possible, we’d like to take you on our journey so you can follow us along as new updates arrive and information becomes available. We want to keep everyone who is interested abreast of the exciting developments related to planning this conference, such as our initiative to have a telepresence and an Impact Chair. But we can’t think of everything! If you have any ideas to help build our conference, please feel free to reach out to us through email, Twitter, or Facebook.

To keep everyone on the same page and to continue to build excitement towards what we believe will be the most successful IMCC meeting yet, we will have a regular series of blog posts that track our developments towards finalizing the details of IMCC5. We encourage you to follow along with our blog to get additional updates and details on IMCC5, the wonderful city of Kuching, and why you should definitely start making plans to meet us there this coming June! Our website will soon be filling with all these details and more, so be sure to check it out periodically too! You can also follow along with #IMCC5 for more updates on our social media.

We look forward to have you along for the ride as we approach the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress and continue to “Make Marine Science Matter!”

 

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Image of fireworks over Kuching at night. IMCC5 will be held in the Waterfront Hotel in Kuching this June of 2018!