Dr. Lisa Levin is a Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. She serves as Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and as the SIO Biology Section Head. Dr. Levin is a marine ecologist who studies benthic ecosystems in the deep sea and shallow water and has worked with a broad range of taxa, from microbes and microalgae to invertebrates and fishes.
Lecture Topic: Deep-Ocean Industrialization and Biodiversity Challenges in the 21st Century
Summary: One of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is managing our deep ocean sustainably, for it is vast, remote, difficult to access, and highly vulnerable to disturbance. The deep ocean covers two thirds of our planet and provides key ecosystem services – sequestering carbon, cycling nutrients, buffering the ocean, and hosting a wealth of habitats, life forms and genetic diversity needed for the planet to survive. As we deplete resources on land and in the coastal zone, there is an inexorable push into deeper water – for fish and shellfish, for energy, and for minerals. Advanced technology is both creating the demand for resources and driving our abilities to extract them from increasingly greater depths. At the same time the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and in the ocean is changing conditions in the deep sea, with potential loss of resilience. The growing industrialization of our deep ocean intensifies the need for comprehensive ecosystem-based management that occurs across industrial sectors, in both international and national jurisdictions. Exploiting the wealth of the deep ocean, while maintaining the integrity of its ecosystems, their diversity, functions and services will require a cross-disciplinary conversation and interdisciplinary research. These must occur at the intersection of biodiversity, climate science, law, policy, and resource economics and must involve full stakeholder engagement.