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Ocean Conservation Topics

MCRI is pleased to serve as portal to the most reliable and timely information on the important topics relating to the ocean.

Click on the topics below for overviews along with links to the best websites for more information as well as related publications.

Aerial photo of trawlers

Pollution and Health

Pollution in the marine environment is a complex subject and can be viewed several different ways. It can be viewed as pollution types or classes, specific pollutants or from the source-and-fate viewpoint.

In this site, we will view the problem from the source-and-fate viewpoint. This viewpoint often ends up with a variety of types of pollution with different fates and behaviors being lumped into one area. For example, river runoff in Southern California is associated with high levels of solid waste, ranging from non-degradable plastics to microscopic bacterial contaminations which are then combined with soluble nutrient and pesticide runoff.



Biodiversity can be generally defined as the variety of life on Earth. The Convention on Biological Diversity defines it as “the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.”


Commerce and Economic Value

Coasts and oceans affect people in many ways. The coast provides a place to live and recreate. Oceans provide food for our growing population, a transit way for our commerce, and increasingly new sources of energy. Coasts and oceans have direct and indirect effects on our physical, emotional, and personal wellbeing. Coasts and oceans also support jobs and provide the economic foundation of many economies.

Egret on shore

Ocean Ecosystems and Habitats

The balance and overall health of life on Earth relies on a healthy global biosphere. The global biosphere encompasses all of Earth’s living realms, is made up of all of its ecosystems, and relies on the continual healthy functioning of those ecosystems for its ultimate well being.

NASA image of hurricane

Climate Change and the Ocean

Our planet has life because of greenhouse gases in the air. They keep Earth warm, so that water can flow and clouds can form to bring rain. Without these gases, most of the planet would be covered with thick masses of ice and the air would be dry.