The morphology, physiology, and behavior of marine organisms have been a valuable source of inspiration for solving conceptual and design problems. Here, we introduce this rich and rapidly expanding field of marine biomimetics, and identify it as a poorly articulated and often overlooked element of the ocean economy associated with substantial monetary benefits. We showcase innovations across seven broad categories of marine biomimetic design (adhesion, antifouling, armor, buoyancy, movement, sensory, stealth), and use this framing as context for a closer consideration of the increasingly frequent focus on deep-sea life as an inspiration for biomimetic design. We contend that marine biomimetics is not only a “forgotten” sector of the ocean economy, but has the potential to drive appreciation of nonmonetary values, conservation, and stewardship, making it well-aligned with notions of a sustainable blue economy. We note, however, that the highest ambitions for a blue economy are that it not only drives sustainability, but also greater equity and inclusivity, and conclude by articulating challenges and considerations for bringing marine biomimetics onto this trajectory.
Citation: Blasiak, R., J.-B. Jouffray, D.J. Amon, F. Moberg, J. Claudet, P.S. Jørgensen, A. Pranindita, C.C. Wabnitz and H. Österblom. 2022 PNAS Nexus 1(4).