Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

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Intl Marine Science & Policy

Healthy oceans are not only an integral element of the global climate system, but they also
provide ecosystem services that are of societal importance. These critical ocean functions are
being threatened by intensifying human uses and anthropogenic climate change. This class will
use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) as a framework
for teaching foundational marine science knowledge and its application for addressing emerging
ocean challenges. A ‘genes to ecosystem functions and services’ interdisciplinary learning
approach will be emphasized. This means that class material will span the breadth of
physiological, ecological and management processes that are all inherent components of the
diverse SDG 14 target goals.

The first half of the course will cover foundational knowledge in the fields of oceanography,
biology, and technology development that are necessary for understanding the scientific basis of
emerging ocean challenges identified in SDG14. These foundational marine science concepts
will be integrated into lectures that cover the biodiversity of life in the oceans and major
organismal groups. In the second half of the course students will build on their marine science
knowledge as the class moves on to examine ecosystem functions and services. Emphasis will be
placed on how these ecosystem features are being compromised by the emerging challenges
identified in SDG14. We will cover the major categories of marine ecosystems world-wide and
focus on policy case studies that highlight ecosystem based management for resiliency. The
second half of the course will also look at the IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and
Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and critically discuss if current best practices for marine
spatial planning, monitoring and management make SDG14 targets attainable.

This course is well suited for students that are excited to pursue a research project on an
emerging ocean challenge that is identified in SDG14. After selecting a SDG14 target goal,
students will work on a written project over the course of the semester that synthesizes
interdisciplinary research in a marine science topic area of their choice. The SDG14 research
project will conclude with a synthesis of existing policy measures that address the selected
emerging ocean challenge. Finally, the course will conclude with short presentations where we
discuss what critical marine science knowledge still remains unknown and what policy
implementation challenges undermine the SDG14 target goals.

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IEPG 8635

All Sections in Fall 2019 - MIIS

Fall 2019 - MIIS

IEPG8635A-F19 Seminar (Gutowska-Romano)