Introduction: Oceans

The impact of global change on the sea

A phenomenon of exceptional importance such as global change and its multiple effects has been discussed in several Mètode monographs. In recent years, public concern about what we already perceive to be the greatest threat to humanity has not stopped growing; at the same time, the United Nations have proclaimed the period 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, recognising the close relationship between the oceans, climate, and social welfare. The sea is a climate regulator and a reservoir of biodiversity, a source of food and other resources, a transport route, a cultural asset, and the driving force behind the tourism industry; it is also a natural hazard and, unfortunately, a dumping ground for waste and refuse.

Consequently, in this new monograph we examine some of the main, but as yet unexplained, impacts of climate and environmental change on the sea. The papers we present here analyse global phenomena such as acidification, deoxygenation, and the rise in sea level, as well as the impact of pollution. We also have room for more local studies, which take the Mediterranean Sea as an example of phenomena that are taking place everywhere: the increase in sea temperature and coastal algae growth and the loss of biodiversity.

Scientific knowledge, based on informed observations and interpretations, would have to guide resource and environmental management decisions, including the way we obtain energy. As researchers who work studying the marine environment, we generate much of the necessary knowledge, as we explain in this monograph, while at the same time warning about the consequences of continuing to operate as we currently do. Regarding political action, we expect policy to be based on this knowledge.

© Mètode 2020 - 107. Oceans - Volume 4 (2020)
Research Professor at the Spanish National Centre for Biotechnology (CSIC, Madrid, Severo Ochoa Centre) (Spain). PhD in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). Lecturer at the Autonomous University of Barcelona with 25 years’ experience as a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC, Barcelona), working in the fields of marine microbial ecology and extreme environments. He has written three popular books (Desert d’aigua: Relat d’un científic a la banquisa àrtica, La vida al límite, Bajo la piel del océano) and the novel El diablo de Tasmania.
Research professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC, Barcelona, Severo Ochoa Centre) (Spain). Microbial ecologist with an interest in aquatic systems: lakes, rivers, and the ocean. PhD in Biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Microorganism research coordinator in the Malaspina campaign. Editor of the third edition of the book Microbial ecology of the oceans and the popular science book Microbios en acción: Biodiversidad invisible con efectos muy visibles.
Research professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences (CSIC, Barcelona, Severo Ochoa Centre) (Spain). PhD in chemistry from the University of Barcelona. Specialist in marine biogeochemistry, with a particular interest in understanding how the marine biosphere affects atmospheric chemistry and climate. He is the co-author of the books Cambio global and Microbios en acción, and the second and third Reports on the Climate Change in Catalonia. He has also published the e-book Mar, gel i cel: Diari antàrtic.