Decade of Deep-Ocean Science

The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to boost international coordination and cooperation in research and scientific programmes for better management of ocean resources. The Decade will act to fill gaps in our knowledge of the ocean, and lack of fundamental knowledge in the deep-ocean has been highlighted in the conceptual proposal.

From 2018 the UNESCO’s IOC will coordinate the Decade’s preparatory process, including a concerted implementation plan. The main objective of this new DOSI working group is to provide critical input to the implementation of the Decade of Ocean Science in the deep-sea, particularly in the field of deep-sea ecology. Specifically we aim to:

  1. Be the interface between the UN/IOC and the scientific community to implement the Decade in the deep-ocean, at global and regional levels.
  2. Promote international coordination and cooperation in deep-sea ecology research and scientific programmes.
  3. Raise awareness about the need of fundamental science to increase our understanding of the deep-ocean and to provide tools for its sustainable use.
  4. Develop an international and global deep-sea ecology programme with measurable targets.

Latest activities 

  • DOSI Decade position paper entitled Deep-Sea Research in the Decade of Ocean Science.  Mapping the role of the deep ocean in human society. (April 2019)
  • Decade WG workshop to formulate position paper (Aveiro, Portugal, October 2018)

Proposed activities and outputs

  • List of ongoing international collaborative deep-ocean programmes and how they meet the Decade objectives.
  • Joint DOSI/INDEEP workshop to identify major knowledge gaps on deep-sea biological sciences and outline a global deep-sea ecology programme. (Aveiro, October 2108)
  • Policy brief identifying the opportunities offered by the Decade to address knowledge gaps in an international and cooperative framework to be distributed among policy-makers, funding agencies, philanthropies and the private sector.
  • Engagement with representatives of IOC member States and presentation of the WG to the IOC
  • Provide guidelines and goals for the implementation of the Decade in the deep-ocean.
  • Public outreach product (video/flyer) about the need of exploration and fundamental research.


This WG will be led by Dr Ana Hilario (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Dr Kerry Howell (Plymouth University).  They very much welcome your interest and contributions.  Please contact them directly and copy   Maria: