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New Research | My Deep Sea, My Backyard (MDSMBY)

Dr. Thera Edwards (Department of Geography & Geology) and Mrs. Marcia Ford (Centre for Marine Sciences) are co-authors on the article, ‘My Deep Sea, My Backyard: a pilot study to build capacity for global deep-ocean exploration and research’. The article states, "Seventy percent of nations have deep-sea environments within their maritime Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), yet only 16 percent of them are able to explore those environments. This is especially true for less economically developed countries. Low technological capability and knowledge hamper exploration and stymies resource management decisions, and prevent resident populations from knowing about their country’s marine resources."  This article further brings to the fore the inequalities and need for increased deep-ocean knowledge generation, and discusses experiences in piloting an innovative project ‘My Deep Sea, My Backyard’ toward this goal. The project aims included reduced dependency on external expertise and promotion of local exploration initiatives using comparatively low-cost technology.

Dr. Edwards and Mrs. Ford participated in a one week training activity in Trinidad in August 2018 joining colleagues from The UWI Cave Hill and St Augustine Campuses and other organisations in the My Deep Sea, My Backyard (MDSMBY) Project. The MDSMBY project joined researchers from Kiribati and Trinidad and Tobago to benefit from networking and training opportunities for participatory ocean exploration. The one week training in Trinidad involved learning to use the National Geographic deep-sea DropCam, Trident and Blue Robotics remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) with the aim of developing a nucleus of trained Caribbean operators that would build lasting in-country capacity and interest in exploration. Dr. Edwards, in an interview described how DropCams and ROVs could help demystify the ocean and make it more accessible: “Before this, ocean exploration seemed like a scary ‘Jacques Cousteau, diving bell, risky thing’…but now there are pieces of equipment that enable you to get information remotely in a relatively safe way.”

The article shares lessons learned from Kiribati and the Trinidad and Tobago experiences in a bid to aid future exploration efforts realise the goal of increased knowledge of deep ocean environments.

Reference: Amon Diva J., Rotjan Randi D., Kennedy Brian R. C., Alleng Gerard, Anta Rafael, Aram Eriatera, Edwards Thera, Creary-Ford Marcia, Gjerde Kristina M., Gobin Judith, Henderson Laura-Ashley, Hope Alexis, Ali Raquel Khan, Lanser Sebastian, Lewis Keith, Lochan Hannah, MacLean Scott, Mwemwenikarawa Nabuti, Phillips Brennan, Rimon Betarim, Sarjursingh Stacey-Ann, Teemari Tooreka, Tekiau Aranteiti, Turchik Alan, Vallès Henri, Waysang Kareati and Bell Katherine L. C. 2022My Deep Sea, My Backyard: a pilot study to build capacity for global deep-ocean exploration and research Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B3772021012120210121

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Published on 20 Jun, 2022

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