Towards a Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions

May 18-20, 2021

The OceanVisions2021 - Summit entitled "Towards a Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions" is co-organized by the researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Georgia Tech, The Smithsonian Institution, Stanford University, MIT, Woods Hole, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography University of Georgia, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, The Georgia Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium and Birch Aquarium at Scripps, in coordination with the IOC-UNESCO and the Ocean Conservancy, and COMPASS. 
The Summit will be held on the campus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography between May 18-20, 2021. We anticipate having three satellite campuses virtually linked in Hobart (Australia), Cape Town (South Africa), and Kiel (Germany). Details to follow. The summit is being planned as "in-person" on all campuses with the ability to also participate virtually.
Please save the date and sign-up for updates, we will soon release a draft Program & Agenda.

SESSION 1: Accelerating the Ocean's Power to Sequester Carbon and Reverse Climate Disruption 

Co-chairs: David Koweek (Ocean Visions, Inc. & Stanford COS), Brad Ack (Ocean Visions, Inc.), Lydia Kapsenberg (CEA)

The Ocean has been, and continues to be, dramatically disrupted by warming and acidification caused by decades of greenhouse gas pollution in our atmosphere. Removing this pollution, carbon dioxide removal (CDR), is becoming increasingly understood as an imperative for slowing, and later reversing, climate change. The Ocean holds enormous potential for CDR solutions at the needed global scale given their sheer size and their biological productivity. Thus, The Ocean may play an important role in helping to solve the climate crisis, instead of merely suffering its effects. In this session, we present results and lessons learned from a year-long Ocean Visions-led process of developing road maps for actionable progress on development, testing, and deployment of ocean-based CDR approaches. These road maps address technological, market, policy, and governance barriers to progress and propose paths forward to accelerate ocean-based CDR approaches. The road maps are intended to catalyze increased attention, engagement and action and lead to increased deployment of needed intellectual, physical, institutional and financial resources throughout the global community.

SESSION 2: Solutions for Coastal Inundations and Sea Level Rise

Co-chairs: Mark Merrifield (Scripps), A.R. Siders (University of Delaware), Jill Gambill (University of Georgia, Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant), and Théophile Bongarts (Ocean & Climate Platform)


Coastal flooding, foundations, and sea-level rise threaten infrastructure, economies, ecosystems, communities, and cultures. Adapting to these threats will require a holistic, coordinated, multi-sector approach to identify and implement systems-wide transformative solutions. To this end, national task forces are developing to link experts from numerous fields with one another and with coastal communities to facilitate knowledge exchange, promote cross-sector collaborations that meet local needs, and pursue optimistic visions for adaptation. Building on the Ocean Visions coastal solutions scoping workshop, this session will convene potential United States task force members from a wide range of sectors (e.g., insurance, engineering, social and physical sciences, humanities, journalists) and connect them with ongoing international Sea'ties initiative under the Ocean & Climate Platform. Coastal community leaders will meet with breakout groups to discuss their most pressing needs, and participants will develop an agenda with priority actions for the task force and a vision for an adaptable coast.

Background on The Sea'ties initiative. It aims to identify and implement adaptation solutions and responses to climate change, based on scientific synthesis, peer-to-peer learning and network sharing, in four regions (South Pacific, North & West Africa, US West Coast, and France). It will mainly focus on medium-sized cities and explore solutions and responses tailored to each regional context : hard & soft responses, nature-based solutions, relocation and spatial recomposition. Based on a scientific analysis and with the support of local referents, the project will mobilize a wide range of stakeholders and enable local experiences to be collected, analysed and shared. Main objectives are: 1) to identify and promote key factors of success to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement; and 2) to create and animate a dynamic network of medium-sized coastal cities.

SESSION 3: Healthy Ocean – Healthy People

Co-chairs: Fio Micheli and Michelle Tigchelaar (Stanford COS), Jack Gilbert (Scripps), Anupa Asokan (Surfrider Foundation), Gretta Pecl (University of Tasmania, Future Seas)

There is broad recognition that oceans bring wealth, through fisheries, aquaculture, minerals, energy, commerce, tourism, and more. They are a global, irreplaceable source of income and livelihood. There is an increasing awareness that oceans are also critical to health and well-being. This session has the goal of identifying opportunities and levers for promoting healthy ocean-healthy people. Through presentations, public participation and input, and small-group sessions we aim to: highlight key links between ocean and human health; showcase innovation in this space; identify pressure points, where action has the greatest potential to deliver solutions.

SESSION 4. The Coastal Circular Bioeconomy: Sustainable Food, Bioenergy, and Biomaterials from the Sea


Co-Chairs: David Babson (ARPA-E), Halley Froehlich (UC Santa Barbara), Chuck Greene (Cornell University), Steve Mayfield (UC San Diego), Celina Scott-Buechler (Cornell University)

The primary goal of this session is to explore the potential of marine aquaculture for sustainably intensifying global food production. All forms of marine aquaculture will be considered, from micro- and macroalgae to fin- and shellfish. Sustainability issues to be quantified relative to the current global food production system will include reductions in greenhouse gases emissions, energy use, arable land footprint, eutrophication, and biodiversity loss. Secondary objectives of the session will be to consider the role of marine aquaculture in the coastal circular bioeconomy, with a special focus on the recycling of materials in algae-based wastewater treatment and the co-production of bioenergy and biomaterials. Bioenergy uses include microalgae-based liquid fuels for the transportation sector and macroalgae-based liquid and solid fuels for the transportation and power sectors, respectively. Biomaterial uses include microalgae-based petroleum product substitutes, such as plastics, foams, and carbon fiber. Possible Themes include the future of aquaculture and food from the sea, the future of algal biomaterials and energy from the sea, finding the ocean’s sweet spot in the climate, energy, food, and water nexus.

SESSION 5: Harnessing Innovation to Accelerate Ocean Solutions

Co-chairs: Gwen Nero (Scripps), Millicent Pitts (Ocean Exchange), Miguel Granier (OneFive), Shally Shanker (AiiMs), Ann Carpenter (Braid Theory), and Brad Ack (Ocean Visions, Inc.)

It is encouraging to see the amount of science and engineering innovation developing through university and research institutions.  Given the great challenges of ocean health,  climate disruption, coastal resiliency, sustainable energy/food/materials, and the ocean/human health nexus, how do we accelerate the final development of solutions that can be financed, scaled, and deployed for maximum positive impact?   Join Session 5 to learn and be inspired.   Our first panel will describe the paths from research to deployment with tips and tools for success. Following will be panel two with entrepreneurs whose solutions have moved from institution to marketplace.  Finally, we will bring investors and philanthropists on stage to describe their view of philanthropy and impact/ traditional investment scenarios for financing scalable solutions.

SESSION 6: A Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS)

Co-chairs: Anna Zivian (Ocean Conservancy), Erin Satterthwaite (California Sea Grant & Scripps/UCSD), Cassandra Brooks (University of Colorado), Karen Evans (CSIRO)

To overcome the persistent gap between research and solutions, we are establishing a Global Ecosystem for Ocean Solutions (GEOS) as a flagship Programme of the UN Ocean Decade. The mission of GEOS is to “establish a vibrant, global ocean solutions community of researchers, innovators, investors, decision-makers and other stakeholders to co-design and co-deploy equitable, durable, and scalable ocean-based solutions for climate change and ocean grand challenges”.  The GEOS strategy for action is (1) to deploy new multi-sector processes that enable the generation and transition of scientific knowledge into co-developed ocean solutions (2) to address ocean grand challenges in climate change and the ocean that require system level (e.g. multi-sector and interdisciplinary) use-inspired research and action. This session will be devoted to the development of the implementation phase of GEOS. You can learn more about GEOS here:

The Ocean Visions Research Consortium and Network is open to anyone who wants to join forces at the institutional and individual level
The Ocean Visions Founders
Ocean Visions, Inc.  - 225 Baker Street, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA  - Founded in 2019