New Report Highlights Urgent Need for Ocean Science Literacy

Office of Communications | May 28, 2014
Bob Chen, contributor to the COSEE OCEAN Inquiry Group Report

Bob Chen, contributor to the COSEE OCEAN Inquiry Group Report
Image by: Harry Brett

Threatened coastlines, resource depletion and environmental health are urgent concerns for us all. These ocean-related issues have direct impacts on the lives of humans; however, our understanding of the ocean, known as ocean literacy, remains elusive. A new report written by a panel of scientists, educators, and museum experts reviews the current state of ocean literacy and offers recommendations for improvement.

COSEE OCEAN Inquiry Group Report: Opportunities for Creating Lifelong Ocean Science Literacy reviews the state of ocean science education in formal and informal settings and offers suggestions for improving ocean science education. It provides references for hundreds of resources and tools that scientists, educators and organizations can use to help their audiences understand ocean science. Brainchild of Dr. Alan J. Friedman, renowned science communicator and former New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) director who sadly passed away this month, the 124-page report was supported by the National Science Foundation and UMass Boston Oceanographer Dr. Robert F. Chen. The report can be downloaded at no cost from UMass Boston.

“The relationship between humans and the ocean is intimate and complex, yet, as terrestrial beings, for us it is an alien world,” said Dr. Stephen Uzzo, vice president of science and technology at NYSCI and one of the contributors to the report. “The Inquiry Group Report brings into sharp focus the urgent need to transform learning about the ocean, to provide opportunities for all citizens to be more aware of its influences and to think more deeply about its systems.”

The report includes contributions from Dr. Paul Boyle, senior vice president for conservation and education for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and founder of The Ocean Project; Vincent T. Breslin, professor of science education and environmental studies at Southern Connecticut State University; Lisa Craig Brisson, executive director for the Michigan Museums Association; Dr. John Fraser, president & CEO for New Knowledge Organization Ltd.; Dr. Alan J. Friedman, a physicist and consultant in museum development and science communication; Katie Gardner, teacher programs developer at Liberty Science Center; Sarah Schoedinger, senior program manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Education; Dr. Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific; Dr. Stephen Uzzo, vice president for science and technology for the New York Hall of Science; and Dr. Steven Yalowitz, principal of Audience Viewpoints.

COSEE OCEAN: Opportunities for Creating Lifelong Ocean Science Literacy was supported by National Science Foundation award OCE-1038853 to the New York Hall of Science, in collaboration with award OCE-1039130 to the University of Massachusetts Boston.

About the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI)

The New York Hall of Science presents 450 exhibits, demonstrations and design spaces that explain science, technology, engineering and math. A visit to NYSCI is a hands-on, energetic educational experience where you can indulge your curiosity and nurture your creativity. NYSCI offers professional development for teachers, produces curricula and resources for classrooms, and studies how technology, gaming and play affect how we learn. NYSCI was founded at the 1964-65 World's Fair and has evolved into New York’s center for interactive science serving a half million students, teachers, and families each year. For information, visit or call 718-699-0005.

About UMass Boston

Recognized for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: chen , cosee , csm , education , environment , ocean , oceanography , publications , research , science

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