[PAST EVENT] The Global Marine Species Assessment 2005-15: Status, Successes and Next Steps

November 4, 2015
12pm - 1pm
VIMS - Watermen's Hall, Classroom A/B
1375 Greate Road
Gloucester Point, VA 23062Map this location
Fisheries Science Noon Seminar Series

Speaker: Gina Ralph/ODU GMSA

Title: The Global Marine Species Assessment 2005-2015: Status, Successes and Next Steps

Abstract: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "Red List of Threatened Species" is the global standard for evaluating conservation status, relying on extinction risk theory to categorize species according to symptoms of high extinction risk. Prior to 2005, the representation of marine species on the IUCN Red List was very limited, consisting primarily of charismatic megafauna and a few commercially important fishes. To fill this substantial gap, the Global Marine Species Assessment was formed with the goal of completing 20,000 marine species assessments and contributing substantially to global, regional and local marine conservation capabilities. Now, 10 years later, over 10,000 species have been assessed at 61 workshops involving 520 experts from 311 institutions in 53 countries. Of the approximately 7,600 extant marine species for which sufficient data are available, 14% are threatened; however, the uncertainty surrounding the status of the 2,500 species for which data are insufficient results in a range of 10.5-35%. Unlike terrestrial or freshwater species, exploitation is the most pervasive threat to marine species, though habitat specialists and those with restricted ranges are also frequently at higher risk of extinction. In addition to publishing the pending 4,000 species and assessing the remaining 6,000 required to meet our 20,000 species goal, we are increasingly interested in sub-global scale projects, where higher resolution data, including those on distribution and population trends, can be utilized. Our ongoing pilot initiative to develop a regional biodiversity research database for the Gulf of Mexico, funded primarily by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), is one such project that has resulted in regional assessments for 940 marine bony fishes, and will soon be available online in collaboration with the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (TAMU-CC). We are working to develop similar projects in other regions (e.g., American Pacific, Coral Triangle, the Arctic) over the coming years to form a comprehensive backbone for regional conservation efforts.


Gina Ralph is a post-doctoral research associate at Old Dominion University and Programme Officer for the Marine Biodiversity Unit (MBU) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. She received a BS at the University of Connecticut in coastal studies, followed by a Ph.D. at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science with a concentration in fisheries. Since joining the MBU, she has focused on regional marine red-listing initiatives, including those in the Gulf of Mexico, Europe, West Africa, Persian Gulf and the southwestern Pacific. Her primary research interests are marine conservation biology, population dynamics, and early life history.

[[v|rom,Professor Rom Lipcius]]