Attuning to a changing ocean

Nils Chr. Stenseth*, Mark R. Payne, Erik Bonsdorff, Dorothy J. Dankel, Joël M. Durant, Leif G. Anderson, Claire W. Armstrong, Thorsten Blenckner, Ailin Brakstad, Sam Dupont, Anne M. Eikeset, Anders Goksøyr, Steingrímur Jónsson, Anna Kuparinen, Kjetil Våge, Henrik Österblom, Øyvind Paasche

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The ocean is a lifeline for human existence, but current practices risk severely undermining ocean sustainability. Present and future social-ecological challenges necessitate the maintenance and development of knowledge and action by stimulating collaboration among scientists and between science, policy, and practice. Here we explore not only how such collaborations have developed in the Nordic countries and adjacent seas but also how knowledge from these regions contributes to an understanding of how to obtain a sustainable ocean. Our collective experience may be summarized in three points: 1) In the absence of long-term observations, decision-making is subject to high risk arising from natural variability; 2) in the absence of established scientific organizations, advice to stakeholders often relies on a few advisors, making them prone to biased perceptions; and 3) in the absence of trust between policy makers and the science community, attuning to a changing ocean will be subject to arbitrary decision-making with unforeseen and negative ramifications. Underpinning these observations, we show that collaboration across scientific disciplines and stakeholders and between nations is a necessary condition for appropriate actions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number34
Pages (from-to)20363-20371
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Marine
  • Climate changes
  • Biological


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