Although the socio-economic relevance of the aforementioned issues may often remain underrated by society, mankind impact on the marine environment is all too frequently demonstrated. Oils spill response (Exxon, Erika, Prestige, Deep Sea Horizon) requires the interdisciplinary input of multidisciplinary staff, including oceanographers, marine biologists, chemists, geologists, and environmental and resource managers. Climate change effects, such as surface seawater warming, sea-level raising and ocean acidification and eutrophication, are a matter of increasing concern for governments, scientists and society. These are exemplary problems; none can be solved separately.
OECD has recently recognised (The Ocean Economy in 2030, OECD 2016) that growth prospects for the ocean economy and its potential for employment creation will be successful only if ocean health is duly preserved. The growth of a number of marine industries over recent decades, such as offshore renewables and aquaculture, points to greater levels of exploitation and hence demand for trained staff who understand the marine environment.
Companies, consultancies, agencies, and research institutions are committed to the compliance of international recommendations and conventions, together with European Directives and regulations. Both public and private sectors require high quality graduates, who can make a difference in the management of the marine environment.
Against the above background, there is a need for training in: the understanding of the marine environment and the consequences of climate change; the sustainable management of the coastal zone; the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, against pollution and other human threats; and the conservation of biodiversity and ocean natural heritage.