International Ocean Institute - USA

The International Ocean Institute -USA, housed at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, is the only IOI center in the United States. IOI-USA Director Frank Muller Karger and Executive Director CJ Reynolds lead programs that are directly aligned to the IOI mission of sustainable ocean governance, international collaboration and capacity building to support decision making. The IOI-USA also implements initiatives aligned to the international theme: Women, Youth and the Sea. Some of the recent initiatives include:

Supporting Coastal Cities: In 2008 and 2012, IOI-USA in collaboration with the City of St. Petersburg and the University of South Florida co-hosted multi-day conferences to address a range of topics from climate change risks to urban coastal ecosystem management in the context of tourism and economic development. Read more about 2012 Coastal Cities Summit. 

Supporting International Research: The IOI-USA office has a strong commitment to hosting early career researchers. Since 2012, young researchers from range of countries, such as Eqypt, Fiji, Nigeria and Venezuela have contributed knowledge of their country, while living and working in St. Petersburg. The scientists, supported by their government agencies, USAID or private foundations, work alongside Muller Karger and his post-doctoral researchers to increase their expertise to use satellite remote sensing to assess ocean health, water quality in support of better decision making.

Advancing Data Management to Monitor Biodiversity: Muller-Karger is leading initiatives to define and advance regional and international data collaboration focused on marine biodiversity, in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal #14 “Life Under Water.” He is the principal investigator of a NASA/NOAA funded grant to develop a Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. In 2016, Muller-Karger was appointed to serve as one of three co-chairs and focuses on collaborations throughout the Americas.

Marine Debris Prevention: The 2012 report from the US Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee notes that marine debris must be addressed through comprehensive approach that is “local in scale, global in scope, and focused on prevention at the source." In 2013-2015, IOI-USA efforts brought together regional organizations to pilot test ideas focused on behaviour in a new program called “Clean Community Clean Coasts.” The initiative, funded by IOI and a grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Prevention through Education and Outreach, engaged youth, educators, and local civic organizations and municipal staff in a coordinated effort to address causes of inland littering and support plastics recycling to protect the wildlife and coastal ecosystems.  In 2016, a forum in the City of Gulfport was attended by more than 60 professionals from eight cities, Pinellas County and several regional environmental organizations. The workshop was facilitated by litter-prevention psychologists from Australia who consult to national governments.

Americas Network: The IOI-USA office collaborates with the IOI-Canada Training Center and IOI offices in Brazil, Costa Rica and Cuba.  

 For information contact: Frank Muller-Karger carib@mail.usf.edu or CJ Reynolds cjreynolds@usf.edu

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