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Is the Global Ocean Healthy? We Can Answer That Now

by Ben Halpern, Jameal Samhouri, and Karen McLeod of

As the Ocean Health Index makes its public debut, three of its parents describe the moment of 'Eureka!' in summing up the well-being of the global ocean and its human dependents.

There are very few moments in science where years of work by dozens of people produces a single outcome, at a single moment in time. The "Eureka!" event for the Ocean Health Index project-which makes its public debut today in the journal Nature-occurred last spring when a global score emerged from a thicket of data.

More than a year ago we started writing a series in this magazine about the process of developing the Ocean Health Index, hoping to offer a window into the challenges of a complex research project that tackles big, pressing questions. In this case, we are trying to capture the idea that people are part of the ocean, so that measuring ocean health requires one to consider and combine both human and ecological concerns. 

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