Researchers have published a set of best practices designed to streamline and improve our understanding of life on the ocean’s seafloor.
The key to this is how to be able to amalgamate many small studies and datasets into a bigger picture. Since without the bigger picture, researchers cannot hope to spot patterns, changes and other trends.
To facilitate this broader picture initiative, a set of practices partly developed by the Deep Ocean Observing Strategy and Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. This aims to standardize the information gathered so it can be better collated on a global scale.
Commenting on the work, Henry Ruhl, director of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) who led the initiative, stated:
“We’re highlighting a common pathway for ecologists studying seafloor invertebrates. These best practices will make it much easier to combine data from various sources and methods. By standardizing the data we collect, we can provide more of the critical information that policymakers need to sustainably manage and protect the ocean.
“All life on Earth depends on the ocean, but we can’t manage or monitor the ocean without good data. Our team has identified how scientists around the world can harmonize the data they’ve collected about the ocean. Working together, this trove of biological data can guide sound policy to protect vital ocean resources.”
While Brian Bett, study co-author and deep-sea biologist at the UK’s National Oceanography Centre, added:
“The difficulty of integrating information across all size classes and diverse sampling methodologies has limited our ability to understand global patterns in invertebrate populations. We’ll struggle to distinguish natural variation, climate change, and other human impacts on seafloor ecosystems without being more effective in sharing and combining data.”
You can find the original study here.