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Conserving & sustainably using the oceans, seas, & marine resources for sustainable development is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 1). This goal strives to prevent marine pollution, protect & conserve ecosystems, & end destructive fishing.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals are shared in our latest Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report. They are shared below to illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

Sustainable Development Goals Logo


Oceans provide key natural resources, including food, medicines, biofuels, climate moderation, and carbon storage. Because oceans are so essential to life on earth, the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s oceans, seas, and marine resources is vital to protecting all of Earth’s life forms. Maintaining healthy marine systems supports climate mitigation, economic development, good health and wellbeing, and biodiversity.

Auburn University is moderately engaged with Goal 14 across teaching, outreach, and research activities. Auburn University is engaged most with Goal 14 through its teaching activities, offering a minimum of 51 courses from 2019 to 2021. Auburn University is a sea-grant institution in addition to being a land-grant institution. Because Auburn University’s mission is to serve the state of Alabama, and because Alabama has a strong coastal community providing income and livelihood for thousands of Alabama residents, the health of marine systems directly involves Auburn University. Additionally, Auburn University’s global perspective and desire to achieve a global impact make marine conservation, preservation, and restoration relevant concerns.

View our most recent Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report  for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The Marine Resources Management Major in the College of Agriculture emphases the intersections of biology, ecology, and engineering of healthy life below water as well as the sustainable management of aquatic resources. The degree leaves students well versed in the management of aquatic resources as well as the conservation of oceans, wetlands, and marshes. Participants also complete a series of off-campus marine science classes. Post graduation, students pursue careers in marine farming, environmental law, and wetlands conservation and management. Students work in collaboration with one of the country’s most renowned fisheries facilities, the Center for Aquatic Resource Management.

Person doing marine resource management
Auburn students in Australia holding a Auburn flag in front of a waterfall

The Tropical Veterinary Science and the Great Barrier Reef is a seventeen-day immersion program based in Townsville, Australia. Offered by the College of Veterinary Medicine and open to all majors, the immersion program examines native marine and terrestrial flora and fauna and how climate change and the economy alter populations. Running most recently in Summer 2019, the Tropical Veterinary Science and the Great Barrier Reef allows students to partake in programs and studies on environmental health and resiliency with particular emphasis on how to optimize reef health in the Anthropocene.

The Marine Biology Major, housed in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, serves to provide expert training for its students and covers a full range of topics including coral reefs, coastal marshes, the Everglades, marine pollution, chemical and coastal wetlands ecology, and climate change. Students in the program act as ambassadors and have participated in educational opportunities to explain the importance of marine systems, the impact of plastics in the environment, the ongoing impacts of generalized global pollution on coastal regions, and the impact of plastics and fossil fuels on the atmosphere, oceans, climate, and humans. The program provides experiential learning and research opportunities that empower students to protect the world’s oceans.

Marine biology student SCUBA diving sdg Photo courtesy of Chadwick Laboratory
Alabama Water Watch logo SDG 14 Logo courtesy of Alabama Water Watch

Alabama Water Watch (AWW), part of Auburn University Water Resource Center, is a citizen volunteer water quality monitoring program covering all of the major river basins of the state. The mission of AWW is to improve both water quality and water policy through citizen monitoring and action. AWW uses EPA-approved monitoring plans with a community-based approach to train citizens to monitor conditions and trends of their local waterbodies. AWW helps volunteers collect, analyze, and understand their data to make positive impacts. The AWW vision is to have a citizen monitor on every stream, river, lake, and coast in Alabama. AWW aims to foster the development of statewide water quality monitoring by educating, training, and empowering citizens.

Dr. Dennis DeVries is the Assistant Director for Research Programs within the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture, & Aquatic Sciences of the College of Agriculture. Dr. DeVries work focuses on inefficiencies in applied management of aquatic resources. Working at the intersections of ecology, fisheries, and natural resource management, Dr. DeVries studies the complex interactions between species and community structures, as well as the use of ecological principles to achieve restoration of rare and endangered species. Particularly, Dr. DeVries focuses on how to improve threatened and endangered species harmed by the development of dams.

Person holding a paddle fish
Ugandans fishing sdg Photo courtesy of The Daily Monitor

College of Agriculture’s Shamim Naigaga, under the direction of Dr. Claude Boyd, explored aquaculture in Uganda in her dissertation, “Potential Influence of Climate Variations, Water Quality and Soil Quality on Uganda’s Aquaculture.” Expansion of the aquaculture sector is needed to increase aquatic protein for human consumption, but fisheries production from lakes and other natural waters in Uganda is declining. This study was conducted to improve understanding of limitations imposed on aquaculture by environmental factors of climate, soils, and water quality in Uganda. Ugandans can implement practices to mitigate these limitations and maximize sustainable aquaculture production to ensure a stable protein source for human consumption.

People & Stories

Food & Dining Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG12, SDG14, SDG15, SDG2, SDG3, STARS | No Comments
By Bella Wright  Food is essential to the survival of all living beings on our planet. How this food is grown, processed, and distributed significantly impacts the environment. Auburn University has extensive dining services across campus, offering a variety of choices for nutrition and dining. Where food on campus is…

Waste Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG12, SDG14, SDG3, SDG6, STARS | No Comments
By Hannah Schwartz  Reducing waste is a cornerstone of sustainable practice for universities worldwide. By minimizing their ecological footprint, institutions not only contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment but also demonstrate a commitment to responsible stewardship. From conserving natural resources to saving costs and inspiring future generations, waste reduction in…

Water Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG14, SDG6, STARS | No Comments
By Hannah Schwartz  Conserving water is crucial for the health of our planet and future generations. With water scarcity continuing to be a pressing global issue, every drop saved makes a difference. By reducing water usage, we protect ecosystems, wildlife, and agricultural lands that rely on this precious resource.  With…


| Guest Posts, SDG14, Updates | No Comments
By Savanna Wooten In many ways Earth Day celebrations invite us to think of green: tree plantings, the advent of spring, conversations about renewable energy, convening at green spaces. And they should. Green – shown to benefit us mentally and physically – is, generally, good for us.  But… is it…

The Big and Small ways to Celebrate Earth Day

| Guest Posts, SDG13, SDG14, SDG15, Updates | No Comments
by Becki Retzlaff Every Earth Day I am reminded of two things. The first is when I was a teenager, and my friends and I volunteered to plant trees at a park near my home in Michigan. We labored all day to carefully plant little pine tree seedlings in long…

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