Ocean literacy has been defined as “an understanding of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean” (Cava et al., 2005). Beyond understanding, an ocean-literate citizen uses knowledge of ocean issues in order to communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way and make informed and responsible decisions. Two documents, comprising the Ocean Literacy Framework, were developed: a) the Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts of Ocean Sciences (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], 2013), representing the basic issues of the ocean that high school graduates should know and understand, and b) The Ocean Literacy Scope and Sequence (National Marine Educators Association, 2010), providing information and guidance in order students to understand the ocean literacy principles and their concepts. In 2017, one outcome of “Our Ocean” conference, organized by the United Nations for supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 concerning the ocean, was an inter-governmentally agreed declaration “Call for action” of whose Article 13a reads as follows: “Support plans to foster ocean-related education, for example as part of education curricula, to promote ocean literacy and a culture of conservation, restoration and sustainable use of our ocean”, hence emphasizing the importance of ocean literacy.
Ocean Literacy (OL) activities of IMBBC
We participate in:
- the European Marine Educators Association (EMSEA) and its activities, especially in the Mediterranean Sea (e.g. adapting OL principles and concepts to the specificities of the Mediterranean Sea; design and development of questionnaires for primary and secondary schools in order to assess students’ knowledge, behaviours and attitudes relevant to OL). MSL_leaflet
- the Ocean Literacy Expert Group of the European Global Ocean Observing System (EuroGOOS) (e.g. policy documents; a “home-schooling” campaign by providing resource data (e.g. videos, games) for children and their parents in order to spend time at home due to the confinement enforced by COVID-19).
- international conferences and other initiatives promoting OL (e.g. European Marine Science Educators Association Conferences; Ocean Literacy Summits)
We publish international scientific journals investigating OL issues (e.g. Frontiers in Marine Science).
We coordinate or participate in OL projects or citizen science projects (e.g. ViBRANT).
- Citizens’ Network for the Observation of Marine BiodivERsity (COMBER, http:/www.comber.hcmr.gr) was initiated under the European funded FP7 project ViBRANT (2010-2013), aimed at engaging citizens in a coastal marine biodiversity observation network. Each participant was equipped with a fish identification card (www.bio-watch.com) used both to identify fish species and note down observations during the dive or snorkeling. A website has also been developed and functioned for communication and promotion of the network, offering data-entry tools for collecting information.
- “Watching for jellyfish blooms”, a programme of the Mediterranean Science Commission (CIESM). Crete is one of the focal points of the program (http://www.ciesm.org/marine/programs/jellywatch.htm)
We organize educational programmes within the framework of OL for students of primary and secondary schools (e.g. visit to the labs of IMBBC, field studies, scientists’ interviews, scientific support and collaboration for participating in symposia and other activities).
1st award for pedagogic and scientific approach of a fairytale, entitled “Once upon a time… in the Kingdom of photophilous algae”, developed in order to understand climate change issues, and presented in the 4th Educational Symposium of Phycology «Algae in Life of the Planet Earth», 27-29 March 2015, Cretaquarium, Crete, Greece.
Websites for OL:
European Marine Science Educators Association
European Global Ocean Observing System
Interreg Balkan-Mediterranean Meltemi
Assemble+ Ocean Sampling Day
IMBBC Scientists involved:
Yolanda Koulouri, Costas Dounas