Deep Sea Science Course & MOOC

The Deep Sea Science & MOOC is a new course for marine scientists, including students and early career researchers in the Western Indian Ocean.

The course is delivered and accredited by The University of Seychelles supported by Nekton, the Minderoo Foundation and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Associated (WIOMSA).

The course is being developed in early 2023, with registration mid 2023 and begins in September 2023.

The Need

In consultation with WIO stakeholders, WIOMSA and WIOGEN, the need and the structure of the course has been developed.

There are significant ocean science and conservation activities underway within the WIO. Historically, the focus has been on nearshore and coastal areas largely due to the economic importance of these habitats for coastal communities, but also due to lack of expertise, financing, and equipment to empower research of the offshore and deep ocean habitats. There is growing interest in the Blue Economy including in developing opportunities within the deep-sea, notably within transboundary or high seas areas of the WIO.

Although sustainable development of deep-sea resources has been highlighted as increasingly important (UNEP-WIOMSA, 2015), the use of these areas without specific knowledge of them and the associated consequences of these activities could result in severe degradation of open ocean resources. As countries begin to embrace the Blue Economy for wealth creation and poverty alleviation, it will be essential to ensure the sustainability and protection of deep-sea resources that are vital to underpin development.

In response, knowledge generation within these understudied areas has been highlighted as essential by co-ordinating bodies such as the Nairobi-Convention, the UNDP and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA).

Since deep-sea science is still in its infancy in the WIO region, it is necessary to make significant and immediate efforts to develop programs that provide training, disseminate best practices and identify the emerging technological trends through science communication and networking opportunities.