Why AleutBio is so important to the Challenger 150 UN Ocean Decade programme

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will be aware we are in the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Ocean Decade is a 10-year framework initiative to identify, generate and use critical ocean knowledge to manage the ocean sustainably. Challenger 150 – A Decade to Study Deep Sea Life was one of the first programmes to be endorsed under the Ocean Decade (www.challenger150.world). It is global cooperative focused on deep-sea biological research. The programme is structured around 12 regional scientific research working groups, the aim of which is to bring together researchers working in ocean basins to better coordinate research effort, forge new relationships, and help build capacity for deep-sea science globally. The programme is in essence made up of funded projects that, while conducting their own research, recognise the value of engaging with others to do and learn more about deep-ocean life, through alignment of methods, assessment of regional data gaps, targeted research planning to fill gaps, and provision of opportunity for training and knowledge sharing.

AleutBio is one of the founding projects to join the Challenger cooperative and contribute to the overarching aims (www.challenger150.world/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Challeger-150-Year-2-compressed.pdf). As a key project of the North Pacific Region, the AleutBio project is making a significant contribution to the global effort, in describing biodiversity of the poorly known Aleutian Trench Region. The AleutBio team have been strong supporters of, and indeed helped shape, the Challenger vision. In the first year of the Ocean Decade the team, as part of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research, hosted the UN Ocean Decade Clean Ocean Laboratory event, and presented on the important and immediate problems posed by ocean pollution that must be tackled during the Decade and beyond. In year 2, the AleutBio cruise was one of 12 research cruises to align themselves with the Challenger aims, delivering not only all-important data, but helping raise the profile of the cooperative, and the global efforts to map deep-sea life.   

The research delivered by AleutBio will help us better understand the North Pacific deep-sea, and provide an important piece in the global puzzle of deep-sea life. Challenger 150 is nothing without its projects, and the AleutBio team led by Prof Angelika Brandt have always been, and we hope will continue to be, a driving force in the programme 😊

By Prof. Kerry Howell co-coordinator of Challenger 150.