Oceanography’s diversity deficit

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Centuries of exclusion have resulted in a tangible human diversity deficit, where the diversity of oceanographers does not represent the global diversity of people impacted by ocean processes. We present six challenges faced by oceanographers who have one or more marginalized identities: (1) historical practices of conquest, discrimination, and exclusion underpin oceanographys modern diversity deficit; (2) undervalued and uncompensated labor by oceanographers from underrepresented groups can perpetuate a lack of representation by leading to burnout and attrition; (3) marginalized individuals are often forced to hide parts of their identities (languages, appearances, partners, behaviors) that deviate from outdated expectations of professionalism; (4) oceanography requires trainees to navigate extensive logistical and financial hurdles; (5) individuals from non-Western cultural and religious traditions often conceal their spiritual obligations in attempts to assimilate or avoid forgoing valuable research experiences; and (6) limited planning and transparency in oceanographic fieldwork can threaten the physical and mental safety of marginalized individuals. We highlight how holding multiple, intersecting identities can compound negative impacts on the well-being of marginalized oceanographers. Finally, we recommend solutions that individuals, mentors, professional societies, funding agencies, and institutions should undertake to move toward a more diverse oceanographic community.