The Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP) is a virtual center for information and communication on the human uses of marine ecosystem services around the world.

 The MESP is a Project of

The Ocean Foundation


About Us

Learn more about the MESP, its mission, and vision.

The Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP) was proposed in early 2010 as an effort to create a virtual center for information and communication on the human uses of marine ecosystem services around the world. Responding to the growing library of economic valuation data, the Partnership strives to provide up-to-date and easily accessible data for the use of policy makers, environmental managers, researchers, and marine ecosystem stakeholders. In its first iteration, the MESP database held over 900 entries of economic valuation data representing over 2000 values.  Not intended to replace other databases, the Partnership strives to be a community of practice through which data users and managers can work collectively to better integrate ecosystem services data with marine policy needs. This collaboration is aided with the use of tools such as the valuation mapper – a dynamic map allowing users to burrow down through different types of data by inputting spatial and thematic queries.

Mission Statement

To help society identify and sustainably manage the globe’s ocean and coastal ecosystems for the benefit of people and society by understanding the value of these ecosystems and the services they produce.

Vision Statement

MESP will improve the estimation, dissemination, and use by decision makers of social and natural science data about marine ecosystem services by

  • easing access to ecosystem valuations by creating a centralized and submission-enabled data repository that is spatially explicit.
  • improving communication between valuation researchers and policy makers.
  • utilizing web-based tools to better target areas where new research is needed
  • providing contextual and up-to-date perspectives for understanding valuation data in relation to environmental management decisions.

Economic and subsistence values of the standing stocks of seagrass fisheries: Potential benefits of no-fishing marine protected area management

Unsworth, R. et al. Ocean and Coastal Management Vol 53:218-224 2010
Primary Country: Indonesia

An economic analysis of blast fishing on Indonesian coral reefs

Pet-Soede, C. et al. Environmental Conservation 26(2), 83-93 1999
Primary Country: Indonesia

The Economics of Using Ocean Observing Systems to Improve Beach Closure Policy

Pendleton, L. Coastal Management 2005
Primary Country: United States

Land and water use of wetlands in Africa: Economic values of African wetlands

Schuijt, K. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. 2002
Primary Country: Malawi

Economic valuation of wetlands: a survey

Gren, I.M. et al. Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics 1994
Primary Country: Indonesia

British Tourists' Valuation of a Turkish Beach Using Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Methods

Blakemore, F. et al. Journal of Coastal Research 2008
Primary Country: Turkey

The Partners

The MESP is possible with the help of its many working and managing partners.

Working Partners

noaalogo.JPGNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.


wrilogocolor.jpg World Resources Institute (WRI)

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a non-profit, global, environmental policy research institute, which goes beyond research to put ideas into action. WRI’s main programs work on aspects of global climate change, sustainable markets, ecosystem protection, and environmentally responsible governance. Our work on coral reefs includes the Reefs at Risk series (modeling local and global threats to reefs), and our Coastal Capital series, which has implemented economic valuation of coral reef goods and services in five countries in the Caribbean.


unep.jpg UNEP-WCMC

The Marine Assessment and Decision Support (MADS) Programme at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) provides scientific information to guide decisions impacting on the marine and coastal environment. We achieve this by facilitating the collaborative creation and improvement of critical marine and coastal datasets, including those associated with marine ecosystem services, and enabling their use in relevant environmental and socio-economic assessments and tools.


noep_logo.jpg National Ocean Economics Program

Established in 1999, the National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP) provides a full range of the most current economic and socio-economic information available on changes and trends along the U.S. coast and in coastal waters. The program is funded by federal, state, university, and private grants and contracts.

ecosystemcommonslogo.png Ecosystem Commons

The Ecosystem Commons is a networking tool and collaborative workspace for a broad-based community of practice on ecosystem services to organize, clarify, and advance the rapidly evolving arena of ecosystem services.  Individuals interested in linking ecosystem services science, practice, and policy to improve decision making and foster investment in conservation are encouraged to join and participate in this interactive community. This Community of Practice is a collaborative network of organizations and agencies that are actively involved in ecosystem services science and the development of market-based strategies and tools aimed at the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems like forests, farms, wetlands, coastal habitats, and other open space.


The National Ecosystem Services Partnership (NESP) engages individuals and organizations at the public and private level to enhance collaboration within the ecosystem services community. NESP also works to strengthen coordination of policy and market implementation and research at the national level. As of December 2010 the partnership is housed at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and is guided by a multi-stakeholder steering group. NESP’s current focus is in two project areas. First, collecting examples of ecosystem services projects and programs in the United States. Second, exploring the potential for national coordination of indicators, metrics, and standards for ecosystem service quantification and crediting.


foresttrendslogo.png Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) of Forest Trends


The Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program aims to protect crucial marine ecosystem services by harnessing markets and private sector investment, in order to complement conventional coastal and marine management and safeguard human well-being. MARES targets the following four main objectives in promoting its overall goal of protecting marine ecosystem services:

  1. developing a solid foundation of understanding of marine ecosystem services and their economic value;
  2. elaborating best practices for the conservation of those services;
  3. communicating information about ecosystem services and the potential to effectively and efficiently protect them, in order to raise awareness and generate political will; and
  4. helping to build a community of practice for marine payment of ecosystem services (PES) and other innovative financing mechanisms.

In meeting these objectives, MARES uses analyses, assessments, pilot projects, and other tools to derive lessons learned from PES initiatives and to build capacity for marine ecosystem services protection. The MARES Initiative presents a new focus for Forest Trends, building on the core work done by the organization in terrestrial ecosystems and conventional markets. It works with other Forest Trends programs and with the Katoomba Group and Ecosystem Marketplace to adapt their models in developing the conceptual underpinnings for marine PES markets and biodiversity offsets and to expand the global network of PES practitioners and experts to include the marine community.


iucn.jpg IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, Switzerland.


Crisp_logo.gif Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific

The Coral Reef InitiativeS for the Pacific (CRISP) aims to develop a vision for the future of coral reefs and the communities that depend on them and to introduce strategies and projects to conserve their biodiversity, while developing the economic and environmental services that they provide both locally and globally.

Data Partners

cilogo2.jpg Conservation International

At Conservation International (CI), we are 900+ individuals in more than 25 global offices, united in our belief that every person on Earth deserves a healthy environment and the fundamental benefits that nature provides.We are committed to helping societies adopt a more sustainable approach to development—one that considers and values nature at every turn. Together, we will help reverse the unprecedented drawdown of Earth's natural resources, protecting nature and its gifts—a stable climate, fresh water, healthy oceans and reliable food—to ensure a better life for everyone, everywhere.

Please explore www.science2action.org to find out more about the science-to-action approach and the scientific findings that we share through continuing communication with policy makers, resource managers, and other decision-makers at local to global levels to facilitate successful, science-based conservation.


harte.jpg Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies is an endowed research component of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi dedicated to advancing the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. HRI’s goal is to be a research center of excellence providing international leadership in generating and disseminating knowledge about the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and its critical role in the economies of the North American region.

The Harte Model is based upon the unique structure and mission of the Harte Institute. The institute is built around the synergy created by the focus of the six endowed chairs: coastal and marine geospatial sciences; ecosystems and modeling; biodiversity and conservation; ocean health; marine policy and law; and, socio-economics. It is the interdisciplinary collaboration between the chairs to address ecosystem scale problems and the understanding that people and the environment are inevitably linked in their solution that makes HRI unique in the community of marine science institutes.


fsd.gifFoundation for Sustainable Development (FSD - Netherlands)

The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is a not-for-profit research & consultancy foundation which aims to support the conservation and sustainable use of natural ecosystems by building knowledge and stimulating awareness of the many ways in which people benefit from natural ecosystems. FSD's scientific assessments and on-going research are utilized by a range of organizations and institutions as input into decision-making that strives for outcomes based on ecological integrity, social well-being and economic welfare.

Besides our research and educational work, FSD provides institutional support to a number of on-going activities including the Ecosystem Services Partnership (www.es-partnership.org), the Nature Valuation & Financing Network, the Natuurkalender (Nature’s Calendar),COST725 projects and the EarthCollective network (see www.fsd.nl for more details).



Managing Partners

tof.jpg The Ocean Foundation


Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Guided by its working partners, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University manages  the  effort to build web-based tools and data portal, increase coordination between partners, and promote web-based networks of data users


mgel.jpg Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory

Duke University's Marine Geospatial Ecology Laboratory serves as the lead technical partner within the partnership. Using expertise honed in building map-based tools for many scientific consortiums, MGEL is inetegrating the databases archives to build a spatial data explorer and data