In this Q&A Natalie Ban and Andrea Belgrano, Associate Editors and experts on the marine environment for People and Nature answer our questions for World Oceans Day.

How can research in People and Nature help with ocean conservation and restoration solutions?

NB: Most ocean conservation and restoration solutions are inherently inter- and trans-disciplinary, requiring perspectives from multiple disciplines and from inside and outside of academia. People and Nature provides a venue for publishing such multi-perspective research.

AB: People and Nature supports a transdisciplinary and transboundary research approach to understand complex interactions and the human dimensions of nature. The research published in People and Nature provides examples on how to use narratives in a multi-stakeholder dimension to understand trade-offs between management objectives and conservation measures. This way of thinking is fundamental to move toward a common understanding, for addressing global fisheries sustainability, artisanal fisheries communities, microplastics pollution, and to provide timely solutions for promoting 0cean health.

What can we do as individuals to help protect and restore our oceans?

NB: Individual actions only go so far in creating change, so the best way to help the oceans (and the environment generally) is to galvanize others to care and act. In particular, some huge global problems, especially climate change, are affecting the oceans seriously and will do so for years to come. Call on your elected officials to act, and get others to do the same!

AB: Engage more in public awareness initiatives, become more informed about the good things that the ocean provides for us all, and try to understand that the ocean, even if we think it is something remote, is actually connected with our everyday life.

Tell us about your marine research.

NB: We (myself and members of my research group) are interested in the intricate ties between people and the environment, especially in coastal and marine systems, and implications for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Our interdisciplinary research investigates social and ecological themes to better understand how social-ecological systems function – and, in turn, how we can improve our stewardship for a better future for people and biodiversity. This includes marine protected areas (MPAs), MPA networks, fisheries, cumulative effects, amongst others. Most of our research happens here at home in British Columbia, in partnership with Indigenous peoples and others.

AB: Most of my recent work focuses on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and ecosystem-based management, including functional biodiversity, marine fisheries, ocean governance, sustainability and resilience. My interest is to explore transformative changes that unfold from natural systems and diffuse to cultural and geo-political transformations across boundaries from individuals to global scales.

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