Linking Oceans, Human Health and Wellbeing | JPI OCEANS

Linking Oceans, Human Health and Wellbeing

Interactions between marine environments and human health are highly complex and can be classified both in terms of risks and benefits which need to be better understood.

Rationale

The nature and extent of ocean and human health interactions is complicated by environmental change and degradation in our coastal seas and oceans driven by unsustainable activities, growing populations and climate change. There is a need to enhance our predictive capability for both biotic and abiotic environmental influences on human health and well-being.

Activities

  • Research to understanding the public health burden from human interactions with the ocean. The research should focus on the range of negative consequences for human health (including loss of life) arising from changes, damage and degradation of coastal and marine ecosystems as a result of natural disasters or human activity.
  • Investigating the processes involved in the transport and transmission of toxins (biogenic) and toxicants (man-made) from the marine environment to humans. This includes the impact of consumption of contaminated seafood or toxins produced by the phytoplankton species involved in harmful algal blooms (HABs) which can lead to a range of chronic and acute symptoms. A sufficient predictive capability for both biotic and abiotic environmental influences on human health and well-being can only be developed with expertise from a diverse range of disciplines across natural, social and economic sciences, including public health and medicine.
  • Exploring the benefits to human wellbeing of interacting with coastal and marine environments. Contributing to the increasing research evidence on the health benefits for people interacting with the coastal and marine environment, referred to as Blue Gym.

Timescale

Short term
  • Promote interdisciplinary research regarding interactions between oceans and human health.
Long term
  • Establish a network of Centres of Excellence on oceans and human health within Europe.
  • Develop dedicated graduate training programmes in oceans and human health.
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