Aerial Photo of a Coast


sharing and inspiring ideas for ocean solutions

Nature’s Services for a Healthier Ocean

March 19, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST (New York Time)

Drew Harvell

Drew Harvell

Professor Emerita, Cornell University
Affiliate Faculty, University of Washington
Fellow, Ecological Society of America

Dr. Drew Harvell’s research on ocean outbreaks and hygiene subsidies of marine ecosystems has taken her from the reefs of Mexico, Indonesia, and Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. Her award-winning book, Ocean Outbreak, details infectious epidemics in the ocean and solutions that benefit people and biodiversity. She is Professor Emerita of Cornell University, Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and awarded the Cornell SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Research, Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award, NW Yachting Magazine Outstanding Environmental Leadership Award, Prose Award (Ocean Outbreak), National Outdoor Book Award (A Sea of Glass). Follow her on twitter @DrewHarvell.

Talk Synopsis & Video Recording

I’ve spent decades studying how infectious disease outbreaks have reshaped coral reefs, seagrass beds, and our Pacific shorelines. Climate warming is fueling more outbreaks. Now is the time to be proactive in developing solutions for a healthier ocean for biota and humans. New research shows that natural ecosystems have untapped powers for decontaminating our oceans. Tropical and temperate seagrasses can reduce the bacterial pathogen load in today’s oceans and corals in marine protected areas are healthier. Let’s forge a new way forward in discovering more of nature’s superpowers for stewardship of healthy oceans.

Breakout Group Discussions

Each group think about how to scale up nature’s services for ocean health. What is needed to move forward? Economic analyses, more research, new technologies? Pick a problem and explore what the biggest challenges are to making progress. How much do we know about what the real obstacles are?