RESOURCES: Saving the Seven Seas

Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2107
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2107b

Promoting sustainable use of the hard-pressed oceans is the mission of the UN Atlas of the Oceans, a new online encyclopedia from the United Nations. The site aims to provide up-to-date data on human uses of the ocean and environmental issues, such as pollution, food security, and global climate change. The atlas should attract a broad audience, from schoolchildren to ecologists and policy-makers, says project manager John Everett.

Sections offer overviews written by experts in fields such as fisheries, along with documents and reports from UN agencies and organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the site's chief contributors. Although the atlas is embryonic, some of the content is already taking shape. Visit the energy section, for example, to find a report on the feasibility of offshore wind farms and backgrounders on generating power from the tides and from waves. An image gallery is also in the works. The atlas depends on contributions from oceanographers and other specialists and needs more input, says Everett, who envisions participation from hundreds of scientists. “We're looking for collaborators to help us fill the closets in this big house we've built.”

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