Friday, September 18, 2020 - 11:00

Fri, September 18, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH LABORATORY (AERL). This event takes place online. Please click link below for RSVP information

Speaker: Dr. Robert Blasiak, Stockholm Resilience Centre

How could you not be interested in marine genetic resources? In recent decades, our capacity to understand the ocean at a genetic level has been advancing at light-speed: new sequencing technologies, exponentially growing databases of genetic sequence data, and a suite of new applications for exploration and conservation. At the same time, marine biotechnology is a diverse and poorly quantified pillar of the blue economy, ranging from high-profile uses in the development of pharmaceuticals to lesser known uses as industrial enzymes for biofuel production, food additives and antifouling compounds. Yet tapping the full potential of the ocean genome for science, conservation and commercial uses depends on addressing core issues surrounding capacity, equity and biosafety. As a result, marine genetic resources are a key element of multiple ongoing negotiations and processes, most notably with regard to biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). This seminar will describe the concept of the ocean genome, the benefits it provides, the threats it faces, and prospects for increasing equity in the context of ongoing international processes.

Robert Blasiak is a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, where he focuses on aspects of international cooperation, the sustainable management of ocean resources, and ocean stewardship. His recent work has focused on the international negotiations around biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), particularly with regard to marine genetic resources. Before joining the SRC, Robert was a research fellow in the Laboratory of Global Fisheries Science at the University of Tokyo and a communications officer at United Nations University, where he worked with the Satoyama Initiative. He has previously been a senior research fellow with the Nippon Foundation NEREUS Program, as well as a visiting researcher with the University of Tokyo and the United Nations University. He has recently led collaborative work with the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the United Nations Regular Process (World Ocean Assessment), the United Nations Global Compact Sustainable Ocean Business Action Platform, and the Blue Climate Initiative.

This event is part of IOF's Seminar Series