A very warm welcome to The Marine Biologist magazine! In this issue we are proud to present a varied and lively mix from the latest research, news, and reviews, to a roundup of what else is happening in our community (Around the Association).
Why do certain organisms occur in certain places? Over the course of his travels across the Americas and Caribbean, the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt produced some of the earliest maps of biodiversity. In our cover story, the multi-talented Sarah Popov weaves together history and her own research into elasmobranch dietary niche to throw light on patterns of diversity. She also created the beautiful artwork for our cover.
Disputes over resources such as fisheries are set to become more frequent. We cannot model geopolitical futures, but are there novel ways of predicting likely flashpoints, and therefore being better prepared to head off conflict? We are delighted to present Gerald Singh and colleagues who use narrative scenarios as a novel way of probing an uncertain future.
What would happen if an octopus were enabled to communicate with an artificial intelligence? We introduce an interdisciplinary, exploratory project that seeks to put aside human-centric biases and assumptions to explore communication with other life forms.
Scientists need networks for support, information, and supply of data and specimens. More than 200 years ago, the famous comparative anatomist John Hunter relied on Edward Jenner (also the pioneer of vaccination) for the supply of two opportunistically acquired bottlenose dolphins, which enabled the publication of a key paper on cetacean physiology. Today, science is a global enterprise, and researchers need to be aware of the rules and protocols around the provision of biological specimens across borders, and sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources (see the article 'Bioprospecting not biopiracy' for an essential overview).
The MBA's new writing competition was a great success and looks set to become a springboard for young science writers.Read the fantastic winning entries in this edition.
The first UN Decade actions were announced in June, and hopes are high that at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15, the plan to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and seas in the next decade will be adopted. And in November the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 is in Glasgow, Scotland. Are we moving fast enough? Is political will showing? In January 2022, we will be reviewing this 'super year' for the oceans.
As always, it is a privilege to curate and share the incredible work of the marine biological community. If you'd like to get in touch with suggestions for content, I would be delighted to hear from you.