dcsimg Summit on Ocean Biodiversity (January 2024) - Life on a Sustainable Planet Skip to main content CONTENT

Summit on Ocean Biodiversity

The diverse life of the Earth and Ocean is the foundation of human health, prosperity, and societal resilience. The ongoing degradation of nature threatens these biodiversity benefits, and protecting them is closely intertwined with the challenges of climate change and social inequity. We must address these challenges together, engaging the whole of society, to be successful.

On January 23, 2024, the Summit on Ocean Biodiversity, organized by NOAA and the Smithsonian, will convene leaders from across society – government, tribal communities, science, NGOs, philanthropy, and industry – to amplify the crucial role of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes biodiversity in the well-being of human communities and economies and the bold steps and pledges needed to protect these ecosystems.


Summit Themes

Biodiversity and Communities at the Frontlines of Climate Change: Frontline communities disproportionately carry the burden of harm from degrading nature, climate change, invasive species and pathogens, and overexploitation of ocean resources. This panel will discuss improving the coordination and delivery of marine life information and services to support sustainable and equitable management that benefits nature and people.


Valuing Biodiversity for Conservation and the Blue Economy: Ocean biodiversity is critical to climate adaptation, thriving human communities, and the blue economy, yet these activities can also threaten it. Tackling climate change increasingly focuses on market solutions, notably carbon trading, to achieve reduction targets, and more than ever, biodiversity is part of the conversation. Panelists will explore approaches to valuing biodiversity that can inform sustainable development and investment in ocean spaces while protecting and rebuilding nature.


Exploration and Innovation to Sustain Ocean Biodiversity: We cannot manage our relationships with nature without knowing what we have and how it is changing. Panelists will discuss approaches to developing ocean spaces sustainably and equitably and protecting the critical living resources that people rely on, focusing on innovation in areas ranging from technologies, exploration, and ways of sharing knowledge to policy and decision-making.



In-person attendance will be limited and by invitation only. The event will be live-streamed to the public.

Watch the live stream here on January 23, beginning at 1:00 p.m. EST.


12:15 p.m. Registration and Lunch

Hosts: Gabrielle Canonico, U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) Manager, NOAA; Emmett Duffy, Chief Scientist, Smithsonian MarineGEO

1:00 p.m. Welcome and Keynote Remarks 

1:30 p.m. Fireside Chat

  • Jane Lubchenco, Deputy Director for Climate and Environment, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Andrew Steer, President and CEO, Bezos Earth Fund

2:15 p.m. Biodiversity and Communities at the Frontlines of Climate Change

3:00 p.m. Coffee Break

3:30 p.m. Valuing Biodiversity for Conservation and the Blue Economy

4:15 p.m. Exploration and Innovation to Sustain Ocean Biodiversity

  • Moderator: Sean Cosgrove, Program Officer, Marine Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Panelist: Janet Coit, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator
  • Panelist: Peter Girguis, Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
  • Panelist: Dylan McDowell, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
  • Panelist: Chris Meyer, National Museum of Natural History
  • Panelist: Angelo Villagomez, Center for American Progress

5:00 p.m. Next Steps and Summit and Partnership Announcements

5:45 p.m. Closing Remarks

6:00 p.m. Adjourn, Reception to follow



Our thanks to the IOOS Association, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and the Schmidt Ocean Institute for sponsoring the Summit on Ocean Biodiversity.