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Terms not listed here are presumed to carry their expected meaning.  Suggestions for additions to the glossary may be sent to science@oceanhealthindex.org



The metrics that are used to calculate the value of a dimension. Components may be calculated using a single data layer or multiple layers depending on the goal and the dimension being assessed.

Composite Indicators

A composite indicator is formed when individual indicators are compiled into a single index on the basis of an underlying model. Many dimension scores, all goal scores and the overall Index score are composite indicators.


Ideally the health of habitats is assessed for condition (density of coverage, presence of disease, etc.) and extent relative to reference points.  Because global data are not sufficiently detailed to indicate condition directly, the Ocean Health Index uses change in extent as a proxy. 


data layer

Actual data (proxy or otherwise) used to measure a component (or part of a component).


A dimension is an aspect of a goal that contributes to its current status or likelihood of being able to sustainably deliver that goal in the future. The four dimensions used are Status, Trend, Pressures and Resilience and are described in detail in Methodology. We compute each dimension based on various components and data layers that are common across regions. Each dimension has a single unitless score per goal per region that ranges in value from 0-1.


exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

A country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extends out to 200 nautical miles offshore. Within its EEZ a country can determine the use of marine resources, including fishing regulations, production of wave and wind energy, designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the mining of natural resources. Some countries with extensive coastlines, such as the United States, Chili, and Australia, contain multiple EEZs.  Most goals for the Ocean Health Index are assessed for a region's EEZ, though some are only assessed out to 3 nm. 

EEZs include 40% of the global ocean area and nearly all of the world’s continental shelf area. These areas produce the vast majoriry of food, natural resources, recreation, livelihoods and other benefits to humans. They are also the areas most impacted by pressures from human activities. 


The amount of harvest for a natural product relative to the extent of habitat available for its harvest. Exposure is used in the Natural Products goal to estimate harvest sustainability. 



One of ten public goals that are widely recognized for their important benefits for supporting human well-being and sustainable ocean ecosystems. We compute scores for each goal using four dimensions described in Methodology. Each goal has a single unitless score per region representing the current status and its likely future trajectory.



An indicator is a direct measure of something that is used as a proxy for a broader concept, status or condition that is not directly measured. It is not a specific term and instead depends on how one defines the indicator.


likely future status

Enter glossary term definition here


ocean health

A healthy ocean sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future.



Anthropogenic stressors that negatively affect the ability of a goal to be delivered to people. Pressures can affect either ecological or social (i.e., human) systems.



Region is a general term to connote the reporting scale for an Ocean Health Index score and can be global, regional or country- specific. Results reported here are national in scale. Future iterations of the Index will be calculated for case study regions.


Social, institutional, and ecological factors that positively affect the ability of a goal to be delivered to people.



The current value of a goal or sub-goal relative to its reference point.


Several goals have sub-goals for which data on all four dimensions exist, allowing calculation of a complete sub-goal score. In these cases the goal is the average of these sub-goals.



The recent change in the value of the Status. See Methodology for further details.

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