A warm welcome to issue 13 of The Marine Biologist magazine. As you will have guessed from the cover, this edition has a polar flavour. Climate warming is bringing change faster in the Arctic Ocean than anywhere else on the planet. MBA Fellow Michael Cunliffe introduces a major research programme that aims to understand these changes and their impacts. We are delighted also to present an exclusive article from Dr Matthew Bunce FMBA which gives fascinating insights into the background and workings of the hugely important Southern Ocean krill fishery.
Numerous reports describe accelerating declines in marine ecosystem health, and a closing window of opportunity for action. However, we are learning an enormous amount about the ocean, its inhabitants, and our own behaviour, aided by all manner of technology (see p. 8). Our increasing knowledge and awareness is enabling more meaningful predictions (see p. 6), as well as focused, large-scale research efforts such as the pioneering work on sharks and fisheries led by the MBA, and the Changing Arctic Ocean Programme (see cover story p. 28).
The ‘Blue COP’ (see p. 11) and the coming UN decades of Ocean Science, and Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) will go a long way to ensure that all things marine remain centre stage. I gave a talk recently on ‘Ocean changes’, and found The Marine Biologist to be a tremendous resource for recent material covering all the vital areas of our discipline. I learned that humans are outweighed by marine bacteria by a factor of 20, and that, not only are we outweighed by just one species of krill, but that its genome is 12 times larger than our own! Wider society has finally turned to face the ocean, and our community can help hold that attention by explaining the issues and influencing those we talk to.
In 1790, the geologist James Hutton said that he considered the Earth to be a super-organism and that its proper study would be by physiology. In this edition we celebrate the lasting benefits bestowed on our Association by another great scientist: James Lovelock (p. 13). Through his Gaia theory he connected ‘big science’ with natural history, and provided a unifying theory of the functioning of the biosphere that spanned divisions and compartments in science.
My talk turned out to be too long. The beauty of a magazine is you know how much material you are letting yourself in for! It is always a privilege and a pleasure to bring this material together, and I hope you enjoy this edition— please do let me know what you think.