Healthy Oceans - Healthy People

UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 focuses on marine life. Ocean acidification, overexploitation of marine resources and pollution from human activities threaten our oceans and seas. At the same time, oceans play a vital role in our society through human health, nutrition and economic activities. At Ghent University, we study the impact on our marine ecosystems and focus on developing solutions to create and preserve healthy oceans.

Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters are vital for our societies and the future of our planet. They are the lungs of our planet and produce half of the oxygen we breathe. They are a source of healthy food and provide 16% of the animal proteins we eat. They are the planet's largest carbon sink and have absorbed 26% of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution. They are home to the richest biodiversity on our planet. They are the source of all life on earth and our planet's life support system. They provide fresh water, renewable energy and offer benefits in terms of our well-being, cultural values, tourism, trade and transport.

Marine communities are coming under increasing pressure from direct or indirect human influences. Today, there is scientific consensus that environmental tipping points are being exceeded and that many species are adapting (or failing to adapt) to new climatic and environmental conditions. Predictions of changes in marine biodiversity have raised serious concerns about the impact of biodiversity loss or the appearance of invasive species on the functioning of ecosystem processes and services. When biodiversity loss compromises the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, it may ultimately affect human well-being.

Therefore, a better understanding of the complexity of marine resources and environmental management will enable us to provide guidelines for sustainable value creation. Understanding the interaction between all stakeholders (policy, science, industry and society) and the underlying impacts of marine resource exploitation is essential for sustainable use of the sea.

We provide knowledge and expertise on topics like:

  • Marine biology
  • Pollution and remediation
  • Global change
  • Policy
  • Social Sciences
  • History and Archaeology
  • Deep sea exploitation
  • Tourism
  • Environmental law
  • Groundwater modeling

Discover the Marine@UGent Research Community