About DOSI

What we do
Human impact on deep-sea ecosystems

Figure from Ramirez-Llodra et al. 2011. PLoS ONE.

A global issue

Human activities in the deep ocean are accelerating rapidly, mostly out of sight. As climate change reaches into deep waters, pH is decreasing, oxygen is declining, waters are warming and the resilience of deep-sea ecosystems and the key services they provide are compromised. Deep-ocean biodiversity supports critical ecosystem functions and services including nutrient regeneration, carbon sequestration and a storehouse – a living library – of genetic resources that may hold benefits to humans and the key to future adaptation. Therefore, it is imperative to manage the deep ocean from a global, multi-sectorial and cross-disciplinary perspective, to safeguard the marine environment for current and future generations while enabling its sustainable use.

Gaps abound in deep-ocean governance: most legal frameworks, both national and international, lack essential mechanisms to manage and protect ocean resources. Many countries with deep-water resources lack the expertise to support sustainable management and protection while in international waters, there is no consistent application of environmental assessment approaches. There is a real risk that the deep ocean will become further industrialized without sufficient environmental planning.

Who are DOSI?

The Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) is a network of over 650 experts from 50 different countries who practice deep ocean science, governance and other activities, although predominantly deep-sea ecology.   We were born from collaborations formed during the Census of Marine Life (2000-2010) and the desire among several deep-ocean scientists to make their research count at the policy level. This network formed to develop new ideas for sustainable use and management of deep-ocean resources. The DOSI Core Team serve on a voluntary basis in their personal capacity.  The team is made up of 5 Executive Board Members, 16 Advisory Board Members and 19 Topic (Working Group) Leads who collectively oversee, guide and support the work of DOSI .  Joining is free and information relevant to deep ocean science-policy engagement is shared.  Our guidance and terms of reference documentation is available for further information.


How does DOSI operate?

DOSI works by assembling experts to address priority areas, to develop tools, strategies and resources to maintain ecosystem integrity, and to develop programs that promote sustainability and responsible use of the deep ocean, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG13 and 14). DOSI engages with industry and national, regional and global policy makers, scientists, educators, NGOs, economists and civil society to increase awareness and build capacity for support of initiatives that will lead to sustainable use and management of deep-ocean resources now and for future generations. DOSI acts through multi-stakeholder workshops, briefings, publications, surveys, assessment contributions, online resources and engagement at key meetings – especially at the United Nations.

What priority issues is DOSI addressing?

DOSI has identified and is currently working on the following:

  • Feeding priority science questions to the development of a new international legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ);
  • Providing independent scientific advice to the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and other stakeholders on seabed mining issues to aid the development of deep-sea mining regulations for the international seabed Area, incorporating cumulative impact and economic assessments;
  • Raising awareness of the role of the deep ocean in global climate change at the UNFCCC COPs and other relevant fora;
  • Examining and commenting on guidelines and practices for sustainable management and sharing of living marine resources in the deep ocean and the ecosystems they rely on (including deep-sea genetic resources and fisheries);
  • Fostering new collaborations and deliberations for the issue of the disposal of land-based mining tailings in the deep-sea;
  • Comparing regulations for offshore oil and gas development across nations to aid development of best practices for deep-water oil and gas stewardship;
  • Addressing issues of transparency and compliance in deep-ocean management;
  • Centralizing and promoting knowledge of the deep sea in major ocean assessments, in the IOC Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and to the wider community, to raise awareness and develop expertise across the globe for the sustainable management and protection of the deep sea;
  • Promoting new technologies, data sharing and open access publication.

Who is DOSI funded by?

Without the generous support of our funders, we would not be able to carry out this important work brining impartial science advice to policy makers. We would like to thank: