Our planet took a 'hit' last year, with the IPCC report, COP26, and rising global temperatures...but we want this year to be different. So to kick it off right, we want to take a look back at the top Ocean wins of 2021.

Big Investments for Conservation

Some big donors stepped to protect our Ocean this year. Jeff Bezos pledged to donate $1 billion to Ocean and land conservation over the next decade as part of the Bezos Earth Fund. Some of the programs in the fund include Ocean carbon sequestration projects, such as mangrove restoration and seaweed farming.

Building on previous commitments to fight climate change, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne Benioff, announced a $300 million funding package to advance ecosystem restoration and climate justice that includes opportunities for coastal and marine protection.

The Ocean-Climate Nexus

The presence of the Ocean was felt more strongly than ever at COP26. COP26 dedicated chunks of the conference to protect our Ocean and highlight the importance of our Ocean as well as the steps we can take to protect it. Many countries included commitments to conserve, restore and sustainably manage coastal marine ecosystems that store “blue carbon,” such as mangrove habitats, seagrass meadows and coral reefs, as part of their nationally determined contributions.

Simon Kofe, the foreign minister of Tuvalu, illustrated just how critical the link between climate and Ocean is by delivering his speech knee-deep in rising seawater surrounding the Pacific island. A coalition of Ocean advocates and heads of state, the Blue Leaders, also called for immediate action to address the impacts of climate change on the Ocean.

Scientists Dig the Deepest Ocean Hole in History

This year scientists successfully bored a hole at the deepest Ocean depth ever attempted to learn more about the 2011 Tohokuoki earthquake that initiated the massive tsunami and resulting Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. From the research vessel Kaimei, a long, thin drill was lowered down to the bottom of the Japan Trench—five miles below—where it then drilled a 120-foot-long sediment core. By studying the rock obtained via the core scientists hope to learn more about the earthquake history of that area.

A Shark Becomes the Largest-Known Glowing Vertebrate

Scientists identified the kitefin shark as the largest glowing species with a spine. The animal weighs up to 18 pounds and can measure up to six feet in length of blue-green bioluminescent charisma. Netted at 2,600 feet off the coast of New Zealand, the shark specimens were examined by marine bioluminescence expert Jérôme Mallefet from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. The hormone that activates the fish’s bioluminescence is the same one that makes us sleepy: melatonin.