See full illustration at the bottom of the page. Illustration: Emily Liang

New article about the governing role of science in the mesopelagic zone

Friday 21 Apr 23

A new article from the MEESO project analyses scientific literature, social media, and ocean policy to understand the dominant ideas about the mesopelagic zone. It concludes that, in the absence of significant mesopelagic zone policy, science plays a de facto governing role by shaping how the ecosystem is known to the public and policymakers alike.

Using a machine learning technique, a study from the MEESO project shows that the we currently understand the mesopelagic zone in two main ways: as part of the biological carbon pump, and as containing fish. The analysis shows that Twitter is used by scientists to communicate their work to the public and to one another. Meanwhile, the absence of the mesopelagic zone from the key governing policy documents contrasts starkly with the growing discussion about this ecosystem in science and on social media. This demonstrates that the characteristics and uses of the mesopelagic zone are being negotiated in the scientific domain, long before being governed by formal policies.

The Discussion section of the article suggests that, instead of only relying on science alone to interpret the mesopelagic zone, decision-making would benefit from enhanced transdisciplinary forms of knowledge that broaden our understanding (and imagination) of the mesopelagic zone. This can be achieved by further engaging diverse groups including marine industries, policy makers at national and international levels, non-government organisations, activists, artists and the general public. 


Title: Science governs the future of the mesopelagic zone
Authors: A. Schadeberg, M. Kraan, R. Groeneveld et al.
Journal: npj Ocean Sustain 2, 2 (2023)


PhD Candidate Amanda Schadeberg, Wageningen University & Research,

The role of science in identifying and communicating information about the mesopelagic zone. Illustration: Emily Liang
This graphical abstract depicts the role of science in identifying and communicating information about the mesopelagic zone to policymakers and the public. At present they focus on some topics (within the light beam) more than others (depicted outside of the light beam). Illustration: Emily Liang
23 JUNE 2024