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Commissioner Vella consults CEOs of European Marine Board member institutes on priorities for advancing ocean observation and seabed mapping (8 July, Ostend)

Friday, 08 July 2016

Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries is meeting with ocean research leaders at the European Marine Board offices in Ostend, Belgium, today to discuss ocean research challenges. The meeting with Commissioner Vella follows on from a previous consultation, held in March, which identified ocean observation and seabed mapping as crucially important for managing human activities in European seas and across the global ocean. Today’s meeting will advance the discussions on ocean observing and seabed mapping in Europe (set within a global context), by identifying critical gaps in our capability, investment needs and potential funding sources for the future. “The ocean research community in Europe has led the development of ocean observing technologies and programmes which deliver valuable data for a range of scientific, commercial and public users” explains Dr. Niall McDonough, Executive Secretary of the European Marine Board. “But there are big gaps in the system. Commissioner Vella is showing his commitment in advocating for adequate investment for ocean research and technology development and we welcome the opportunity to present the views of the marine research community to the Commissioner and his team.” The meeting with Commissioner Vella marks the second in a series and is an important platform for the ocean research community to communicate directly with the Commissioner on ocean research issues. The meeting agenda and press release are both available online. Picture features Commissioner Vella with CEOs and representatives of European Marine Board member institutes.

European Marine Board prepares for meeting with Commissioner Vella (7 July, Ostend)

Thursday, 07 July 2016

Tomorrow, the European Marine Board will host a meeting with Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. In preparation for the meeting, the CEOs of EMB member institutes are gathered at the EMB offices in Ostend today, to discuss ocean research challenges, with a specific focus on the perspectives of the marine research community on advancing ocean observation and seabed mapping to support Blue Growth, Europe’s long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors. The EU Blue Growth Strategy will only be sustainable if we understand, manage and minimise the impacts of commercial activities on the health and productivity of Europe’s seas. To achieve this, coordinated ocean observation and seabed mapping is considered crucial. EMB member institutes will present their views to the Commissioner during his visit tomorrow. The meeting agenda is available on the European Commission’s Maritime Forum website.

AtlantOS holds its second Annual Meeting (28 June - 1 July, Kiel)

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

This week, more than 160 scientists from Europe, North America, South America, and Africa met in Kiel, Germany for the second Annual Meeting of the AtlantOS project. AtlantOS (Optimising and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System) is a BG 8 research and innovation project that proposes the integration of ocean observing activites across all disciplines for the Atlantic, considering European as well as non-European partners. Discussions during the meeting covered ongoing activities within each Work Package, and included a workshop on biodiversity and fisheries within ocean observation. EMB co-leads WP 10 "Engagement, Dissemination and Communication". Further information on activities can be found on the AtlantOS website. Picture features AtlantOS project partners.

CommOCEAN 2016: Call for abstracts extended to 15 July 2016

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

On 6 and 7 December, the European Marine Board and its Communication Panel, the IODE Project Office for IOC/UNESCO and the Flanders Marine Institute are organizing the CommOCEAN2016 conference on marine science communication. The conference (in Bruges, Belgium) is aimed at marine scientists and communicators. The program promotes the exchange of good practice in modern ocean science communication, dissemination and outreach, as well as learning about current marine science research. Abstracts can now be submitted for an oral presentation, a poster presentation or a one hour interactive workshop until 15 July. The conference programme comprises four major sessions: the fundamentals of science communication/reaching out to the public; optimizing impact; social media & graphics and; thinking out of the box, new formats & creativity. Read more about abstract submission here.
In addition, on 8 December an Ocean Teacher training course on ocean communication will be organized by the IODE Project Office for IOC of UNESCO in Ostend for max. 50 persons (upon selection). Further information on the training course is available here. Registration to attend the conference is now open. You can also follow us via Twitter (@CommOCEAN2016).

EMB Working Group Citizen Science holds its 2nd meeting (2-3 June, Galway)

Monday, 06 June 2016

EMB’s Citizen Science working groupAdvancing Citizen Science for Seas and Ocean Research’, held its second meeting on 2-3 June at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The purpose of the working group is to highlight the potential of citizen science to make significant contributions to marine sciences and to increase ocean literacy as well as to provide new ideas and directions for further development of marine citizen science into the future. During the meeting, Angel Duarte, Technical Coordinator of Coastwatch International, presented on the technical management of the Coastwatch programme, citizen engagement and a selection of results to date. The working group also became citizen scientists by carrying out a selection of marine citizen science activities. In addition, the group learnt about the importance of local marine knowledge through talking to traditional seaweed harvesters from the west coast of Ireland and heard about  marine outreach activities at the National Aquarium of Ireland.

Sea Change holds its 1 year General Assembly (11-13 May, Athens)

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

After one year of activity, the Sea Change project held its first General Assembly meeting in Athens in May. The overarching goal of this project is to bring about a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea, by empowering them – as ‘Ocean Literate’ citizens - to take direct and sustainable action towards healthy seas and ocean, healthy communities and ultimately - a healthy planet. In its first year of operation, the Sea Change partners have been busy with a number of Ocean Literacy activities and deliverables, including a series of reviews examining different facets of Ocean Literacy, such as public perception of marine environmental issues, how Ocean Literacy is currently embedded in education and in marine policy, and ways in which the public engage with Ocean Literacy. Other activities include educational workshops to assess existing barriers to incorporating Ocean Literacy topics in formal education and competitions to design Ocean Literacy-themed games as well as ideas on how to increase people’s awareness and appreciation of the ocean. Further information on Sea Change results to date and ongoing activities can be found on the Sea Change website. Picture features Sea Change project partners and members of the International Advisory Group.

EMB Spring Plenary Meeting (27-28 April, Sopot)

Friday, 29 April 2016

The EMB Spring Plenary took place over two days in Sopot, Poland. The meeting, hosted by the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IO-PAN), brought together 24 EMB delegates as well as guests from the University of Malta, IO-PAN, EurOcean, EuroMarine, POGO and the EMB Communications Panel. Open session talks were presented by Janusz Pempkowiak and Ksenia Pazdro (IO-PAN), Jan Seys (EMB Communications Panel), Patrizio Mariani (DTU-Aqua), Ned Dwyer (EurOcean) and Karen Wiltshire (POGO). Young researchers from IO-PAN provided flash presentations on their current research, covering the tracking of Harmful Algal Blooms in the Baltic, responses of Arctic benthic biomass to climate change and the characterization of dissolved organic matter in the European Arctic. The Spring Plenary evening lecture focused on tidal glaciers as refuges for cold water fauna in a warming Arctic and was presented by Jan Marcin Węsławski, senior scientist at the Department of Ecology, IO-PAN. You can read more about the highlights of the Spring Plenary here.

One Planet - One Ocean: Massive Open Online Course starting 25 April

Thursday, 14 April 2016

In September 2015 the United Nations adopted a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) calling for better ocean management. Implementation of this SDG requires a holistic, knowledge-based approach that integrates ocean system understanding and human interactions with the ocean.
Starting on 25 April, One Planet - One Ocean: From Science to Solutions is a ten-week Massive Open Online Course presenting the challenges and opportunities facing oceans today. Bringing in some of the world's leading experts on ocean science to present the issues and potential solutions grounded in rigorous scientific research, it targets citizens around the globe who aspire to use this knowledge for better stewardship of our ocean. The course is subtitled in Chinese, Portugese and German and there are no course fees. The course is being offered by partners comprising the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean”, Kiel University, the International Ocean Institute, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Association. Course and enrollment details are available at

Save the date for CommOCEAN 2016 (6-8 December 2016, Bruges-Ostend)

Wednesday, 06 April 2016

CommOCEAN 2016 (6-8 December 2016, Bruges-Ostend) is the 2nd in a series of International Marine Science Communication Conferences. Whether you’re a marine scientist keen to be speed-trained in modern ocean science communication skills or a communicator, working for a marine institute, NGO or governmental body, this CommOCEAN International Marine Science Communication event is for you. Following on from the successful IMSCC-1, organized by CIIMAR, Ciencia Viva & EMBCP in 2014, the Bruges-Ostend CommOCEAN event is a unique opportunity to make a major leap forward in communicating your ocean knowledge. The organizers (VLIZ, EMB, EMBCP, UNESCO-IOC-IODE) are developing an inspiring, innovative and interactive programme consisting of two separate events: a 2-day conference in Bruges (6-7 December 2016), followed by a 1-day high-level training program at the InnovOcean facilities in Ostend (8 December 2016).
The call for contributions (orals, poster, workshop) is now open for the 2-day conference. We encourage the submission of abstracts from all areas of science communication with a special focus on the ocean, marine and estuarine realm. Further information on how to submit an abstract is available on the CommOCEAN 2016 website.

EMB’s animation on the Connections between Human Health and the Ocean launched for the Sea Change Project

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

EMB has developed an animation explaining the links between human health and the ocean as part of the EU Horizon 2020 funded Sea Change project. The video highlights five ways in which the ocean affects our health and wellbeing. These links include climate regulation, food, pollution, medicine and the blue gym effect. The aim of the video is to raise awareness of how the ocean affects our health and therefore the importance of keeping our relationship with the ocean healthy. You can watch the animation below and subscribe to the Sea Change Vimeo channel at