May 19, 2011

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Dr. Sarah Frias-Torres sat down with Dr. Phil McGilliavry and Brendan Tougher to discuss her current research and passion for marine conservation, which focuses on marine megafauna and the need for collaborative research initiatives. She has a Schmidt Post Doctoral Fellowship with ORCA (Ocean Research and Conservation Association), in Fort Pierce, Florida and is a marine biologist, oceanographer and behavioral ecologist.

Dr. Frias-Torres discussed the need for increased protection of the marine environment during her presentation at the IMCC2. To emphasize the fact that only 1.4% of the ocean is protected, she displayed a compelling image of the earth comparing the size of MPAs to the total size of the ocean (shown on the left). The tiny speck of yellow represents MPAs and the red circle represents the target of having at least 10% of the world’s ocean in protected areas by the year 2020 as agreed by the members of the Convention on Biological Diversity. As you can see, lots of blue and very little yellow! Clearly, we must speed up the pace of ocean protection if we are to meet future goals. With so little of the ocean protected, it is essential that we have scientists like Dr. Frias-Torres who are committed to improving the health and protection of the marine environment. Through such commitment there is some good news in regards to the establishment of larger marine protected areas as seen here in a recent Discovery News article, http://news.discovery.com/earth/marine-reserves-110516.html

In an effort to spread public awareness about the need for marine conservation, Dr. Frias-Torres is setting out to create a virtual wiki page for scientists to share their information and research. She has also teamed up with MacGillivray Films on their “One World One Ocean” campaign (http://www.oneworldoneocean.org/) to inspire the general public through film and entertainment. To learn more about Dr. Frias-Torres and to hear her thoughts about marine conservation, click play above to watch a video interview.

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