Life Below Water 

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework to turn global ambitions into local action. Florida International University is ranked No. 2 in the world and No. 1 in the United States for positive impact on Life Below Water according to the 2023 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Our faculty, students and staff are addressing sea level rise, the environmental and economic realities of climate change as well as management strategies for sustainable fisheries. We are working on the frontlines of conservation across the globe’s biodiversity hotspots to conserve and restore sharks and rays, whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, coral reefs and seagrass. Our efforts are helping to ensure a sustainable future for Life Below Water.



14 Life Below Water

"FIU is a place of power. People come here because they want to make a difference. It's a gift to have places like this, where people can move where they are in terms of knowledge. One of the things I like about this university is they have Aquarius, the world's only underwater research laboratory." 


Dr. Sylvia Earle
President and Founder of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance

Our Impact

As the State of Florida’s University of Distinction in Environmental Resilience, FIU is providing the science for a healthier and more sustainable planet. In the Next Horizon 2025 Strategic Plan, we have furthered our commitment to sound strategies including green building, water conservation and waste minimization to reduce our ecological footprint. We are working in our communities to collectively address the greatest challenges of today. And we are conducting research and implementing programs all across the world to help ensure a sustainable future for Life Below Water.

  • In the World

    Our ridge-to-reef approach in environmental research is conducted across the globe, collaborating with partners locally and internationally to advance science that will keep our oceans, seas and marine resources healthy. Find out more about our research in the world. 

  • In the Community

    Our goal is to inspire the next generation and immerse the greater South Florida community in the solutions-based work at FIU to conserve and promote sustainable use of our oceans, seas and marine resources. Find out more about our engagement in the community.

  • On Campus 

    As a university community, we apply best practices to protect and preserve our oceans, seas and marine resources. Find out more about our on campus efforts.

  • 220+FIU scientists participating in research and advocacy for Life Below Water
  • 4,000+FIU research publications focused on Life Below Water

Life Below Water

FIU researchers are working across all targets set by the United Nations General Assembly in Sustainable Development Goal 14 to achieve a sustainable future for the world's oceans, seas and marine resources.

Boat on water with buoy

14.1 Reduce and prevent pollution

FIU scientists, through research and action, are preventing and reducing marine pollution of all kinds including nutrient, plastics and microplastics, PFAS forever chemicals, oil and industrial contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and other marine debris. Our scientists are doing the detective work to prevent ecological disasters. Find out more on FIU’s efforts to reduce and prevent pollution.

14.2 Manage and Protect Ecosystems

From the deepest depths to our coastlines, FIU is helping to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to strengthen their resilience, restore biodiversity and protect critical resources. Find out more on FIU's efforts to manage and protect ecosystems.

14.3 Address ocean acidification

FIU is providing scientific solutions to the devastating and complex challenges of ocean acidification through innovations on seagrass work, coral restoration, climate change research and studies on overall ocean health. Find out more on FIU's efforts to address ocean acidification


14.4 End destructive fishing

From the illegal shark fin trade to the unintended bycatch of marine mammals, FIU is working with international governments, local fishermen, NGOs and others to end overfishing, illegal, unreported, unregulated and other destructive fishing practices. Find out more on FIU's efforts to end destructive fishing.  

14.5 Conserve marine areas

By providing open-access actionable data on critical marine issues, serving as major research partners for marine sanctuaries, and advising international governments on establishment of protected areas, FIU is providing the science to ensure oceans remain healthy. Find out more on FIU's efforts to conserve marine areas. 

14.6 Inform policy

FIU scientists provide supporting evidence to issues of overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to inform regulatory agencies through research and advocacy. Find out more on FIU's efforts to inform policy.

14.7 Collaborate with island states

All across the world, FIU scientists work with communities and governments in Small Island Developing States to establish sustainable use of marine resources including ecotourism, aquaculture and sustainable management of fisheries. Find out more on FIU's efforts to collaborate with island states. 

14. a-c Improve resources

Innovative technologies and collaborative research are at the core of FIU’s efforts to improve ocean health and protect marine biodiversity. Find out more on FIU's efforts to improve resources.