By Mark Gaughan and Emily Smith | October 4, 2018 09:22:19It’s no secret that marine life is a highly prized subject in science fiction films and TV shows, especially ones that take place on the ocean.
However, a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the amount of research into the underwater world is falling, and scientists say the future of photography on the oceans is in danger.
According to a report released last month by the UGS, the number of marine life photographers has fallen from nearly 40,000 in the 1960s to less than 4,000 today, down from more than 3,000 the year before.
The decline has been particularly severe in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“I think that the decline in the numbers is probably due to two factors,” said Chris Boulware, a research scientist with the Marine Life Conservation Institute (MLCI).
“First, there’s a general shift to a more traditional science-fiction style, which involves more traditional technology and a focus on a particular species.
Second, the ocean is becoming more remote, so you don’t see as many of these incredible landscapes that were created to show these amazing creatures.”
According to Boul Ware, while the number and quality of marine photography is important, it’s also important to keep the ocean clean.
“A lot of people don’t realize that the oceans are full of trash, and we’re not even aware of it,” he said.
“We don’t want to waste these precious resources.
If we don’t get them, we’ll have more of them to use as fertilizer.”
With that in mind, the UBS report cites the need to develop technologies that can capture and preserve data on the underwater environment, and to ensure that underwater photography is done safely and ethically.
In the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified two key priorities for the future.
First, they called for a more diverse, diverse array of marine species, which they said would allow scientists to better understand how the ocean operates and how it responds to changes in climate and pollution.
“What we’re trying to do is find out what the ocean looks like under different circumstances, and how its changing,” BoulWare said.
Second, the report says, we should be doing more to ensure the protection of ocean life and the ocean ecosystem.
Geological Service is asking researchers to consider ways to better monitor and track the behavior of marine animals and to increase the number, diversity and quality, of studies that focus on the marine world.
For instance, the agency has identified the need for marine biologists to increase their research into deep sea organisms, and it is encouraging scientists to participate in research on the seafloor in the hope of finding new ways to understand how organisms adapt to environmental changes.
“If we can use our knowledge to understand better what is going on in the ocean, that could provide some of the clues to how to develop ways to protect these organisms and how to improve our understanding of how the world works,” Bignware said.
He also said the agency would encourage researchers to collaborate on marine mapping projects, and encourage them to take a more hands-on approach to their research.
“They’re not just getting data on their computer screen,” he added.
“It’s really important to have an opportunity to collaborate with other scientists to see if they can understand and share information about the ocean that might be useful to other scientists.”
This story was originally published on The Globe and Mail and is republished here with permission.