Guide to navigating through OHI resources

by Erin O'Reilly

Down the rabbit hole. No, I’m not referring to Alice in Wonderland but instead the moment you google a topic, only to emerge hours later on a completely different subject, questioning how you ended up there.

As the new communications coordinator for the Ocean Health Index (OHI), this is a situation I want to prevent when people try to learn more about OHI. Through a quick “ocean health index” Google search, you are faced with four seemingly separate websites followed by news articles. This begs the question, where do I start and how do I find the information I need?

I recently dug through these different resources and went down the rabbit hole myself to explore every aspect of the websites and locate the most useful information. For help navigating through the sea of websites and sources, here are a couple of tips for orienting yourself with OHI and finding the information you need. This blog is structured in the way I think about approaching the different websites, starting with introductory concepts and then diving into specifics.

The extreme basics

If there is one thing you remember from this blog, let it be that OHI has two main websites – and – each with their own purpose. As a general rule of thumb, gives an overview of OHI, while provides a technical perspective of OHI and insights into the open data science that supports the creation of OHI scores.

I want a general introduction

Before jumping straight into the nitty gritty details of data analysis and coding, I always find it most useful to gain a big picture understanding of a project. For OHI, this includes learning about framework’s goals, objectives, and methodology, all of which help frame the project.

OHI is a comprehensive framework for evaluating the conditions of many things people value about oceans. By synthesizing data into concrete scores, the framework equips managers and policymakers with meaningful “vital signs” that can help them manage oceans sustainably. The framework can be applied at global, regional, and national scales, enabling tailored assessments with relevant results.

Helpful Links:

I want to explore OHI scores

Through interactive data visualization techniques, the OHI team has developed fun and engaging ways to explore yearly assessments.

Helpful Links:

I want to learn how OHI promotes open data science

The OHI team employs data science and open science practices to increase the reproducibility and transparency of the OHI process.

Helpful Links:

  • Better Science in Less Time: look into how the OHI team uses open source tools to streamline their workflow, as presented in their publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution
  • Data: open access, downloadable data
  • Training: online data science trainings for topics such as open data science, the OHI toolbox, and data visualization
  • Publications: list of publications associated with OHI and OHI+ assessments

I want an in-depth look into the parameters measured

OHI is commonly referred to as the Fitbit for our oceans, but what exactly does this mean and how is ocean health measured? The OHI framework encompasses a suite of goals (generally 10), each representing a social, ecological, or economic benefit people receive from the ocean. They range from food provision to sense of place to tourism and recreation.

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I want to conduct my own assessment In addition to the yearly global assessment, there are also independently-led assessments called OHI+ assessments. These assessments are a local effort to conduct an assessment on a smaller scale with more detailed or tailored data. Keep a look out for an upcoming blog featuring the OHI+ process!

Helpful Links:

  • OHI+ Locations: map, list, and information about countries involved in the OHI+ process
  • OHI+ Process: overview of the 4 steps involved in the OHI+ process
  • OHI Manual: in-depth look into the conduct phase of the OHI+ process that focuses on the preparation and use of the OHI toolbox

Hopefully this blog provided you a guide to navigating through all of the OHI resources out there and locating the information you need. Happy exploring!