Overfishing of rapidly-depleting and endangered fish species can be disastrous for marine ecosystems. It can also cause economic hardship for individuals in coastal communities that depend on the fishery for their livelihood.
Dalhousie University’s Boris Worm combines oceanography and marine biology to paint a more complete picture of what’s happening under the waves. Comprehensive information about the state of the oceans leads to better fisheries management, which benefits the environment, the economy and society as a whole. Dr. Worm’s research has helped change perceptions of the precarious state of the world’s oceans, earning him a 2011 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship.
From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Worm was a leader of the Future of Marine Animal Populations Project, part of the Census of Marine Life, the largest project ever undertaken in marine biology. This highly collaborative, international effort sought to understand the past, present and future of marine life. Among other goals, the project aimed to count the number of species in the ocean and to understand how commercial fishing and climate change are impacting biodiversity.
His findings have been presented to officials in government and industry, providing decision-makers with a scientific foundation for ocean management. Dr. Worm’s research has also captured the attention of his academic peers and the public at large. He has provided commentary to influential publications such as The Economist, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Der Spiegel, as well as leading broadcast media.
Dr. Worm’s research laboratory is continuing to advance the relatively new discipline of “ecosystem oceanography.” This work helps predict global change in the oceans, from top predators to tiny plankton organisms at the bottom of the marine food web.