Expert Report

From Monsoons to Microbes: Understanding the Ocean's Role in Human Health (1999)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

The more humans learn about the ocean, the more that is realized about how critical these vast bodies of water are to human health and well-being. Sometimes the ocean helps humankind, as when a marine organism yields a new medical treatment, and at other times, the ocean poses the threat of coastal storm surges or toxic algal blooms. This report explores the links among physical oceanography, public health, epidemiology, marine biology, and medicine in understanding what the ocean has to offer. It also recommends ways society can implement exciting new technologies to monitor the physics, chemistry, and biology of the ocean to recognize change as it happens.