World Biodiversity Day: Looking to a living fossil for the secrets of survival

World Biodiversity Day is celebrated every year in late May to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. To honour this occasion the World Ocean Initiative shines a light on one of the planet’s greatest survivors: the horseshoe crab. This species has existed nearly unchanged for at least 445m years—outliving the dinosaurs, and surviving mass extinctions in the process. It is a story of the resilience of marine life.

The ocean-climate nexus

Climate change and ocean biodiversity are intrinsically connected. In an open letter published on the World Ocean Initiative website, Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, writes about the ocean-climate nexus. He highlights that solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss will become clearer if we view them through the ocean’s blue lens.

Ocean biodiversity has been under threat from overfishing. The world has failed to meet an international target to end overfishing of the seas by 2020. But two-thirds of all types of tuna are fished at biologically sustainable levels, a rise of 10 percentage points in just two years. We analyse how intensive fisheries management is leading to a recovery in some tuna stocks.

Eutrophication is a lesser-known cause of biodiversity loss in the ocean, says Jonas Svensson, head of Global Innovation and Technology at UNOPS’ S3i, in a guest blog. This term refers to the process by which bodies of water become over-enriched with nutrients. In some regions this makes the sea and beaches inaccessible, resulting in biodiversity loss and economic losses.


The call for bold, decisive action on behalf of the planet is getting louder and louder. An Eco-Wakening: Measuring global engagement, awareness and action for nature is an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report commissioned by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The study shows that nature-loss and biodiversity issues are gaining more traction online than ever before.

We will discuss ocean biodiversity and blue carbon at the World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific, which will run as a virtual event from December 6th-10th 2021.

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