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EMB launches new Position Paper on Marine Citizen Science

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Today EMB is launching the latest installment in its Position Paper series. Number 23 is entitled “Advancing Citizen Science for Coastal and Ocean Research” (pdf) and aims to provide new ideas and directions to stimulate further advancement of Marine Citizen Science.

Citizen Science, where members of the general public collaborate with scientists to generate and use data relating to the natural world, is a powerful research methodology that should not be overlooked. It’s potential to further marine science research and knowledge is significant. The sheer scale of coastal and ocean environments mean that it is almost impossible for scientist to gather the requisite data alone, and hence the ability to mobilise large numbers of willing and interested people with whom to collaborate is invaluable.  Nor are the benefits of Citizen Science limited to scientists. Marine Citizen Science enables the general public not only to engage in scientific research and gain knowledge and skills, but also empowers them to help preserve their local environments and to provide input to the scientific knowledge-base which will inform future marine policy.

Now, more than ever, marine science research is needed to understand the impacts of a world undergoing change. The rise of Marine Citizen Science to help address this need is therefore timely. This paper highlights opportunities, challenges and best practice in Marine Citizen Science, and sets out a list of high-level strategic recommendations for the future development of Marine Citizen Science in Europe.

The paper is being launched this afternoon at a dedicated workshop on “Citizen Science and the Future of Coastal Monitoring” being run as part of the European Commission’s European Maritime Day 2017.

The position paper can be downloaded here, and the press release can be found here.

EMB Launches New Policy Brief on Decommissioning

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A new EMB publication, Policy Brief 3 entitled “Decommissioning of offshore man-made installation: Taking an ecosystem approach” (pdf), assesses the role of marine science in reducing the environmental impact of decommissioning and highlights the scientific questions that now need to be answered to settle the debate on what should be done with these structures.

Recent estimates suggest that there are currently around 1,350 oil and gas installations in the North Sea and North Atlantic regions and 1,800 offshore wind turbines in North Sea region alone.  And this number is rising. The total cost of full decommissioning of oil and gas installations in the North Sea alone for the period 2015 to 2040 is estimated at between US$70 and US$82 billion. The numbers of installations requiring decommissioning is also set to increase dramatically as renewable energy devices begin reaching the end of their operational life, and as plans for exploiting renewable energy sources in the near future grow. Globally, industry and governments are embracing different decommissioning approaches, from full removal to the production of artificial reefs. The question of what is best for the environment is still to be answered. Ultimately, appropriate decisions need to be made in the very near future regarding the decommissioning of oil and gas and renewable energy structures. At present, there remains a need for more scientific research to better inform the decision-making process regarding their fate.

The publication was launched at European Maritime Day 2017, in Poole, UK. The EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella received a copy from the hands of EMB Executive Director, Niall McDonough on 18 May 2017 (picture).

EMB Executive Director, Niall McDonough, speaked at a workshop on the subject of involving industry in marine data initiatives entitled “Blue Growth Data Challenge Part 2: Offshore Energy Case Studies”. The workshop, which run from 17:00-18:30 on Thursday 18 May 2017, was jointly organized by the EU ATLAS project and the INSITE initiative, which is featured in the new publication.

You can download the Policy Brief here, and the Press Release can be found here.

EMB Workshop and Position Paper Launch at European Maritime Day 2017

Monday, 15 May 2017

EMB will be hosting a dedicated workshop on Marine Citizen Science on Thursday 18 May to launch the new Position Paper (#23) on Marine Citizen Science.

The annual European Commission-run European Maritime Day will take place on 18-19 May 2017 in Poole, UK. European Marine Board will be hosting a 90-minute workshop at European Maritime Day, running from 15:15-16:45 on Thursday 18 May, on “Citizen Science and the Future of Coastal Monitoring”. This workshop will introduce Citizen Science and promote best practice in Marine Citizen Science initiatives and data collection to support marine management and policy, and to promote Ocean Literacy.  The workshop will also be the official launch event for the new Position Paper.

The workshop will feature three speakers from the EMB Working Group on Citizen Science -  Gro I. van der Meeren (Co-Chair), Jane Delany and Julia A. Busch, as well as Jon Parr from the Marine Biological Association and coordinator of the H2020 Sea Change project, of which EMB is also a partner. The workshop will be chaired by EMB Executive Director, Niall McDonough, and will include significant audience participation and panel discussion.

This presents an ideal opportunity to launch the latest addition to the EMB Position Paper series. Number 23, “Advancing Citizen Science for Coastal and Ocean Research”, aims to provide new ideas and directions to stimulate further advancement of Marine Citizen Science.

EMB will also have a strong present throughout the event via an exhibition stand.

The European Maritime Day 2017  involves both an exhibition and a 2-day conference, with interactive workshops on the themes of “Innovation & Growth”, “People & Skills”, “Safety & Security” and “Sustainability & Governance” forming a major part of the conference.

Registration for the European Maritime Day 2017 event is still open.

We hope to see you there!

EMB welcomes new member – University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Tuesday, 02 May 2017

EMB is delighted to announced that it gained a new member during its Spring Plenary Meeting in Tenerife last week. Following formal application from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, Professor Katarina Abrahamsson from the Department of Marine Sciences represented the University in Tenerife. She presented the University, highlighting the highly multidisciplinary nature of the Department, which was established in 2015, and its many connections to the wider marine science landscape in Sweden. The Board Members unanimously approved the application, and Professor Abrahamsson attended the rest of the meetings as a full member. EMB welcomes the new member and looks forward to close collaboration with University of Gothenburg going forwards. Further information about the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg can be found online.

EMB Spring Plenary Meeting (26-27 April, Tenerife)

Thursday, 27 April 2017

The EMB Spring Plenary convened on 26-27 April 2017 in Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). The meeting brought together 23 delegates and was hosted by EMB member IEO (Spanish Institute of Oceanography). The meeting took place at the Oceanographic Centre of Canarias. At the Open Session, presentations were made by the local host Director Luis Jose López Abellán and researcher Eugenio Fraile Nuez; and by Renuka Badhe (European Polar Board), Claire Jolly (OECD), Donatella de Pascale (CNR), Jeanette Andersen (University of Tromso) and Andrew Mearns Spragg (Jellagen). The Evening Lecture was given by Dorothy J. Dankel (University of Bergen) on Transdisciplinary Approach to Inform Marine Ecosystem-based Management. More highlights of the meeting will be available soon.

The ticking time bomb of climate change

Friday, 03 March 2017

A new EMB Science Commentary questions the over-emphasis in global policy discussions on 21st Century impacts of climate change. ‘The ticking time bomb of climate change and sea-level rise’ Science Commentary (pdf) has been launched today, at the VLIZ Marine Science Day, in Bruges, Belgium.

The Commentary questions why global climate policy discussions focus predominantly on a time horizon that extends only to the end of this century. The short policy paper is based largely on a seminal review article published in Nature Climate Change in February 2016 by Clark et al. The authors argue that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activity will remain in the atmosphere and continue to affect the Earth’s climate for tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Many of the resulting long-term impacts are now unavoidable. Sea level, in particular, exhibits a much slower response time than rises in air temperature. If we look 10,000 years into the future, it is proposed that even a modest emissions scenario will result in a global mean sea-level of rise of 28 m, causing inundation of many of the world’s most densely populated coastal cities and regions and displacing billions of people.

Advances in ocean and climate modelling mean it is now possible to look much further into the future and the picture that emerges for future generations is one of catastrophic climate change. This longer-term perspective tells us that the need to move towards complete decarbonization of the world’s energy systems is urgent. Put another way, decisions we make in the next 10 years could profoundly affect the next 10,000.

You can download the Science Commentary here and you can find the first EMB Science Commentary on Ice-free Arctic here. The press release can be found here.

China-EU Blue Year

Friday, 03 March 2017

On 2 March, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and his Chinese counterpart embarked on formal talks linked to the “China-EU Blue Year” in Brussels. The aim of this initiative is to further cooperation and dialogue to promote innovation and ensure the sustainable development of maritime economies of China and the EU Member States. A number of dedicated events and exchanges will take place in both the EU and China throughout 2017.

On 3 March, the EMB Secretariat participated in a meeting with a delegation of officials from the State Oceanic Administration of China and the Chinese Representation to the EU. The visit took place in Bruges, alongside the VLIZ Marine Science Day. The meeting was also attended by representatives from EMODnet, the Danish Meteorological Institute and Ifremer. During the visit, the EMB Executive Director, Niall McDonough, welcomed the delegation and presented the work of the Board, as well as introducing some of the current activities.  The interactions were very positive and duing the meeting, options for joint activities were discussed. A number of topics were also identified as possible areas for future joint Working Groups.

The programme and presentations from the meeting can be found here.

In Memoriam - Professor Mário Ruivo

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The EMB community is deeply saddened by the news that our esteemed friend and colleague, Professor Mário Ruivo, has passed away. Prof. Ruivo died peacefully at his home in Lisbon on 24th of January. He was 89 years old. Prof. Ruivo has for many years been an active Delegate of the European Marine Board, representing the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

Throughout his long career, Prof. Ruivo has been a champion of ocean issues. First and foremost, he was a biologist and oceanographer, an accomplished scientist and teacher. But he was also a gifted politician, and he put his political skills to use in promoting a greater appreciation of the ocean among the general public, and in advancing the political case for better management and governance of ocean resources.

Prof. Ruivo received many awards and honours for his work and held numerous leadership roles. Among others, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Fifth Portuguese Provisional Government in 1975, Secretary of State for Fisheries, Director General of Aquatic Resources and Environment with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (1975-1979), and Chairman of the National Commission for the Fund of the Nations (1974-1979). He also served with the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, both as its Executive Secretary (1980-1988) and vice-Chair (2003-2007). He was very active in developing and promoting cooperation in marine science at European level, notably through his long and active participation in EMB and EurOcean.

Prof. Ruivo leaves a significant legacy in bringing ocean affairs and environmental issues to the fore in political discourse both in Portugal and internationally. Everyone who knew him will remember his generosity of spirit, his integrity, his vast historical knowledge and his passion for the ocean. He will be greatly missed by an extensive international community of marine scientists and ocean advocates. But his life’s work and achievements will also be celebrated. We extend our sincere condolences to Prof. Ruivo’s family at this time.

Have your say on the future of European Ocean Observing - online consultation

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The European Marine Board and EuroGOOS are working together to promote and develop a new framework for advancing Europe’s capacity for ocean observation. The European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) is a coordinating framework designed to align and integrate Europe’s ocean observing capacity, promote a systematic and collaborative approach to collecting information on the state and variability of our seas, and underpin sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources. An open consultation was launched on 12 December 2016 to collect views of the European ocean observing community and wider stakeholders and will be critical to inform any decision-making about a future EOOS. The survey is based on the EOOS Consultation Document, which provides further information on what EOOS is and why there is a need for such a framework. Both the consultation document and the stakeholder consultation are available through the EOOS webpage. The survey is open until 20 January 2017. Have your say now on the future EOOS!

Aristotle and marine biodiversity

Friday, 16 December 2016

Did you know that the great Greek philosopher Aristotle can also be regarded as "the father of marine biodiversity"? More than 40% of the animals he studied in his zoological works had a marine origin. In recognition of this important contribution to philosophy and science, UNESCO declared 2016 (the year of his 2400th birthday) as the "Aristotle Anniversary Year". Visit Lifewatch to learn more about how Aristotle's scientific contributions to taxonomy, ecology and species distributions link to current-day initiatives such as the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the European Lifewatch project (featuring Belgian and Greek contributions), the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and the European node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (EuoOBIS).

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