The marine environment supplies many ecosystems that support biodiversity in coastal and open ocean habitats. Marine ecosystems provide many resources that are beneficial to society and a significant proportion of the world’s population depends intimately on the oceans and coasts for survival and well-being. The pressure on marine ecosystems and the resources they provide is increasing as threats introduced by land-use change, overfishing, climate change, the invasion of non-native species and other impacts of anthropogenic activities affect biodiversity. As environmental conditions change, species need to evolve and adapt to these changing conditions. Healthy marine ecosystems are important for society since they provide services including food security, feed for livestock , raw materials for medicines, building materials from coral rock and sand, and natural defenses against hazards such as coastal erosion and inundation.
Ocean observations that monitor biodiversity and measure species distribution and density in marine ecosystems enable policy makers to respond to, protect and manage ecosystems that are under threat. Marine ecosystems are integrally linked to global climate and monitoring and studying these ecosystems allows scientists to better predict the impact of climate change on biodiversity and human populations.