Ocean governance in the Anthropocene is a daunting challenge for scholars and practitioners. In terms of scholarship, we need to advance interdisciplinary understandings of the complex, multi-level relationships between social and ecological aspects of marine systems, as well as linkages to atmospheric and terrestrial processes. On the side of praxis, we need to develop oceans governance institutions that provide flexibility, transparency, legitimacy, and social justice, as well as sustainability. To meet both goals, focused, transdisciplinary research is required, which is why we are planning an Earth System Governance Taskforce on Oceans. If you are interested in oceans governance, as a scholar or practitioner, please read on for details and respond to the survey below so that we can develop a comprehensive research plan.

The Oceans Taskforce will bring together scholars and practitioners within the global Earth System Governance network and will help to expand our expertise in the marine area (new participants are welcome!). Research within the network already covers many substantive oceans issues like fisheries policy, deep-seabed mining, climate change impacts on oceans, pollution from ships, marine protected areas, plastic pollution, and governance of areas beyond national jurisdiction. It also advances relevant theoretical understanding on issues like fragmentation, legal architectures, and the interplay between natural and social sciences in relation to oceans. In addition, the Earth System Governance Project is involved with many research activities, scientific and policy institutions, and ongoing policy processes related to the Oceans.

This emerging activity is led by DG Webster (Dartmouth College, USA), together with Judith van Leeuwen (Wageningen University, Netherlands), Atsushi Ishii (Tohoku University, Japan), Candace May (South Dakota State University, USA), and Leandra Gonçalves (University of Sao Paolo, Brazil). It is supported by the International Project Office.

We are also calling for expressions of interest in joining the taskforce. To gauge what topics and interests regarding research on Oceans exist in the Earth System Governance network, and to involve all interested researchers in the endeavor, we are collecting expressions of interest through an online survey. This quick 5-10 minute survey will remain open until August 1, 2017. After that date, we will communicate with all who expressed interest to jointly shape and activate the taskforce.

Through taskforces, the Earth System Governance Project seeks to push the frontiers of research in specific areas of its research agenda. Taskforces are led by Lead Faculty or Senior Research Fellows, with numerous Research Fellows participating. Taskforces are open for all and often interact with other research communities, organizing events, webinars, and publications, and facilitating research all over the world.