Laying the Foundation for Marine Conservation

The Marine Biodiversity Unit (MBU) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Programme was formed to expand the representation of marine species on the Red List, and is headquartered at the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University, USA, with additional unit members based at Arizona State University, the Deep Aquarium (UK), and the Oceanário de Lisboa (Portugal). Our global, interdisciplinary team and network of volunteer scientific experts include specialists in taxonomy and systematics, marine biology, spatial analysis, resource management, science communication, and marine conservation planning.

Since its inception, the MBU has emerged as a key contributor to world marine conservation, and has been called upon to engage in direct conservation effort at global policy levels, as well as to enhance organizational and institutional capacity for marine conservation effort.

The principal mandate of the MBU is the completion of the Global Marine Species Assessment (GMSA) the first global review of the threat of extinction for approximately 20,000 marine species assessed using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. This ongoing initiative has contributed broadly to global, regional, and national marine conservation priority setting, planning, and action. Assessments are made publicly and freely available on the IUCN Red List.

The MBU team also initiates and contributes broadly to Global and Regional marine conservation initiatives, including Key Biodiveristy Areas, and serves as the Marine Fishes Red List Authority.

 The MBU proudly acknowledges the role of our sponsors and partners in supporting our work.