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Mysteries of the Big Blue

This month’s ocean focus takes us on a journey of discovery. We take a look at how IUCN is helping to unlock the secrets of The Deep and find ways of combating the many threats that are placing our marine world under siege.

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> 'What lies beneath?' Listen to François Simard
> Watch IUCN's Director General talk about IUCN's work on protecting the oceans
François Simard


- Species that have been moved - intentionally or unintentionally - into areas where they do not occur naturally are called ‘introduced species’ or ‘alien species.’ 

- An estimated 7,000 species are carried around the world in ballast water every day.


Future uncertain


Three months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, IUCN's Carl Gustaf Lundin gives his assessment of the impacts on the marine environment.

> Listen
> Looking beyond the horizon

Alien hitch-hikers in the seas


Invasive species are one of the main threats to our oceans. But what exactly are these mysterious creatures, where do they come from and why are they so dangerous?

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Unique data collected on Indian Ocean seamounts

Beryx splendens - Splendid alfonsino

IUCN, in collaboration with many partners, organized a survey of seamounts in the international waters of the southern Indian Ocean.

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> Seamounts in the Indian Ocean
> Photo gallery

Endangered whales at risk in Russian Far East

Gray whale

Gray whales in the north-eastern coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island are threatened unless the Russian Government postpones a planned seismic survey.

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Rigs and farms, or are they reefs?

Deployment of a wave energy foundations

Large-scale development of offshore energy installations may result in some significant environmental threats but it can also bring important benefits.

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Mysterious depths of the high seas

Deep-sea squid. Teuthowenia pellucida

IUCN is coordinating the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, an international partnership providing the scientific basis for conserving the unique biological diversity in the deep seas and open oceans.

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> Listen: Drama on the high seas

Seeing seamounts through fishermen’s eyes

Leatherback turtle tangled in longline

A survey carried out by IUCN among fishermen in the Western Pacific region of Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and the Cook islands has given precious insight into the state of seamounts.

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Mysteries of the Big Blue

Coral reef productivity and survival under threat  
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Mysteries of the Big Blue

 Find out how much you know about our oceans.
> Test your knowledge


Greening blue energy

The potential biodiversity impacts of offshore wind energy on the marine environment.
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A Framework for Social Adaptation to Climate Change

How to help managers, conservationists and communities that depend on tropical marine ecosystems adapt to climate change.
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Risks from maritime traffic to biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea

Threats to biodiversity resulting from shipping activities in the Mediterranean Sea and how to eliminate them.
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Protected forever

Koongara adjoins the famous Nourlangie Rock formation which contains spectacular and ancient rock art The Australian government has included the Koongarra project area into Kakadu National Park and World Heritage site, prohibiting any future mining activity in this area.
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Search for lost amphibians

Golden toad, Incilius periglenes Teams of scientists around the world have launched an unprecedented search in the hope of rediscovering 100 species of "lost" amphibians.
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IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) © 2010

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits © : Banner: J Tamelander/IUCN; Expert report: François Simard/IUCN; Future uncertain: Gabriel Grimsditch; Alien hitch-hikers: Christian Laufenberg; West Africa: IUCN; Unique data: Sarah Gotheil/IUCN; Mysterious depths: Peter Batson; Rigs and farms: O. Langhamer; Seeing seamounts: Kelvin Passfield; Endangered whales: Dave Weller; Photo gallery: Octavio Aburto-Oropeza; Quiz: J Tamelander/IUCN; Protected forever: Tourism NT; Search for: Public domain.