Oceanites is a nonprofit environmental, scientific and educational organization founded by Ron Naveen in 1987.
Oceanites (“ocean-eye-tees”) is the scientific name for a group of oceanic birds called storm-petrels, including the Wilson’s storm-petrel, which breeds in Antarctica and then, when its breeding season concludes, migrates northward to all of the world’s oceans — and, we believe, a fitting symbol for conservation of the world’s oceans, islands, and their wildlife.
We are the eyewitnesses to Antarctic environmental change, gathering data on Antarctic penguins and other wildlife, and reporting the facts back to all who care about conserving the Antarctic for future generations. Indeed, our importance to — and influence with — Antarctic Treaty countries has been recognized by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Our mission is to provide actionable information rooted in independent scientific data and analyses, open to the public, and engaging all members of the Antarctic community.
Why do we do this work? Because there is only one Antarctica.
Championing science-based conservation. Since 1994, Oceanites has been monitoring and analyzing penguin and seabird population changes across the vast Antarctic Peninsula, where it’s warming faster than anywhere else on Earth except the Arctic. Working with our collaborative partners, The Lynch Lab at Stony Brook University, Black Bawks Data Science (UK) Penguin Lifelines at the University of Oxford (UK), and One Oceans Expeditions (Canada). Oceanites represents the world’s only nonprofit, publicly supported Antarctic research program. We are the only project monitoring the entire Antarctic Peninsula region. We began our 25th consecutive annual Antarctic Site Inventory in November 2018.
In 24 seasons, November 1994 to February 2018, the Antarctic Site Inventory has made 1,716 site visits and collected data from 223 Antarctic Peninsula locations, building a comprehensive database. Everyone in the Antarctic Treaty system relies upon our data — from diplomats and governments, other Antarctic scientists, and the environmental community, to expedition tour operators and concerned citizens. In 2016, our penguin population tool MAPPPD (Mapping Application for Penguin Populations and Projected Dynamics), which the Lynch Lab at Stony Brook University & the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have developed for Oceanites, went ‘live’ (http://www.penguinmap.com). It is used for assembling and making publicly available penguin population data across the entire Antarctic continent.
Oceanites serves as an independent, nongovernmental observer at meetings of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which oversees and regulates fishing activities in Antarctica. As well, Ron Naveen has served as a public sector adviser on the US Delegation to Antarctic Treaty Meetings since 1992. Oceanites convened the inaugural Future Of Antarctica Forum February 28 – March 9, 2016 onboard the MV Akademik Ioffe during an Antarctic Peninsula expedition.
Raising awareness, Data and information about the Antarctic Site Inventory, Antarctica, penguins, and climate change is available on the Oceanites website, and on our various social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). Since 2011, Ron and Oceanites have maintained a series of SKYPE Virtual Classroom sessions with schoolchildren.
The work of Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory took center stage in a recently released documentary film — THE PENGUIN COUNTERS (http://www.penguincountersmovie.com) that has raised awareness nationally and internationally about penguins and the pressures of human activities on our changing, warming planet.
The Future Of Antarctica . . . Is Now! Antarctica is ‘ground zero’ for understanding how a changing climate affects Earth’s living organisms. What happens to Antarctica’s penguins, wildlife, land, ice, and ocean affects us all. Oceanites has inaugurated a major, long-term Climate Challenge research project that will help distinguish the direct and interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and national operations in the Antarctic Peninsula, which, in turn, is expected to assist improved environmental management in this vast region as it is warming. We’ll keep you posted on developments here.
Stemming from that inaugural Future Of Antarctica Forum, Oceanites and our Antarctic Site Inventory collaborators have been challenged to establish an international interdisciplinary effort to ‘distinguish the direct and interactive effects of climate change, fishing, tourism, and national operations on ecosystems in the Antarctic Peninsula region for improved environmental management’. Our unique database will be essential to sorting the climate-krill-predator ‘puzzle’ in the vastly warming Peninsula.
Also, regarding penguin conservation: The Association of Responsible Krill Harvesters (ARK), whose operations comprise 80% of all krill fishing in the Antarctic Peninsula, have announced a voluntary plan to not fish where penguins are breeding or foraging; Oceanites has jumped into this initiative and is providing maps and penguin location reports to assist this penguin avoidance effort.
Climate Change Must Be Addressed. All tolled, Oceanites’ work in the Antarctic Peninsula is crucial. This region is warming dramatically — over the last 60 years, by 3˚C./5˚F. year-round and by 5˚C./9˚F. in the austral winter — and its penguins have become our proverbial "canaries in the coal mine.” Their populations are radically changing — gentoo penguins increasing their numbers and expanding their range, while Adélie and chinstrap numbers are plunging significantly. In essence, these penguins are sending us messages we shouldn’t ignore about adapting — or not — to new environmental realities.