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An Index for Ocean Health

The Ocean Health Index will be published in six months.  Funded by a $2.5 million grant from the Wrigley Company Foundation in February 2008, a multidisciplinary team of almost 50 researchers from Conservation International, the National Geographic Society and the New England Aquarium is working hard to complete analyses of the health of the world’s oceans and the implications for human well-being.  The scientists are seeking to measure, country by country, the ability of marine ecosystems to thrive and to support human livelihoods.  The index boils down 10 broad indicators, each composed of a set of metrics, into a single number for each country.  The index will be unique in its global scale and on its attention to the link between oceans and people.  While the data vary both in quality and quantity, the index should identify critical gaps for researchers to address in future editions.  This could be critical, as many scientists believe that humans risk causing a global mass marine extinction event, the sixth in 600 million years.  GR

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