Issue: Contributions of the coasts and oceans to human life - Medicines and other potentially useful biological compounds
This is an issue under the Coasts and oceans theme of the Data Reporting System.
The marine environment contributes many benefits to human life but extracting those contributions can exert pressures on the environment. Environmental degradation resulting from the pressure of extracting these benefits, combined with other pressures, has the potential ultimately to erode the ocean’s capacity to supply these benefits. In the shorter term, the additional effort needed to obtain these contributions in the face of environmental degradation could exert greater and more damaging long-term pressure on the environment.
To have the full story, it is therefore important to track not only what is happening to the pressures, the resulting condition of the oceans, and the societal responses, but also what is happening to the contributions. If the contributions can be maintained or increased (or replaced) while responses are undertaken to ensure that environmental pressures are reduced and environmental condition maintained or improved, then the contributions to human life from the oceans can become environmentally sustainable.
Marine organisms are a source of many useful compounds that have found their way into medicines and pharmaceuticals. The greater the diversity of organisms, the greater the potential for discovery of additional useful compounds. However, harvesting of useful biological compounds can potentially place pressure on the ecosystems from which they are harvested.
- CO-09 Number of compounds from coastal and marine sources at some stage of commercial development
Marine organisms are a source of potentially useful biological compounds, including medicines. Number of compounds originating from the oceans that are at some stage of commercial development would be indicative of the ocean’s past, current and potential future contribution to medicine and science.