TOPIC 1: BUILDING SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE

The risks posed to ocean ecosystems by global environmental change should be assessed at multiple scales and the options for adaptation, mitigation, management and responses of ecological and social systems should be explored. This increased understanding can form the basis for scientific guidance on options for adaptation of human social and economic systems to a changing ocean, and for setting regional and global objectives for conservation and the sustainable use of a dynamic ocean.

The changing polar climate systems

Miquel Alcaraz (Spain)
Vladimir Ryabinin (Russia)
Invited speaker: Hellen Phillips (Australia) 

Polar Regions play a fundamental role in the earth's climate system as they are sites of air-sea heat and gas exchange, water mass formation and transformation, and through storage or release of large amounts of freshwater that can impact sea level rise and the global ocean circulation. Climate change is amplified in Polar Regions with warming about twice the rate at lower latitudes and the disintegration of ice shelves, glacial and ice sheet melting has enhanced public awareness of a warming world. Changes in ocean properties and circulation strongly influence the distribution and abundance of marine organisms and/or chemical substances within the polar coastal marine ecosystems. We invite papers on the physical, geological, chemical and biological aspects of changing polar systems.

Regional warm seas: a laboratory for the future

Jordi Salat (Spain)
Maurizio Ribera d’Alcala (Italy)
Invited speaker: Xabier Irigoyen (Saudi Arabia) 

Models predict that as a result of the global warming the open ocean will become more stratified, oligotrophic and less productive. However it is difficult to predict how communities will respond to the multiplicity of changes (temperature, food concentration, water transparency). Laboratory experiments cannot reproduce the complexity of the natural communities and our access to the oligotrophic warm regions of the ocean, the oceanic gyres, is limited by the distance, logistic requirement (cruises in large vessels) and cost. Regional warm seas such as the eastern Mediterranean or the Red Sea offer a cost effective approach to study a gradient of warm oligotrophic conditions with easy access to both the sea and well equipped laboratories. The objective of this theme is to establish state of the art research in regional warm seas in order to promote future collaborative programs. We invite papers reporting recent research in all areas of marine science on regional warm seas but with particular emphasis on temperature and oligotrophic conditions and effects.

Low oxygen and low pH environments in coastal and ocean waters

Richard Feely (USA)
Marilaure Gregoire (Belgium)
Invited speaker: S. Wajih Naqvi (India) 

Evidence continues to amass for the increase of low oxygen and low pH conditions in coastal and ocean waters around the globe. Areas impacted include semi-enclosed coastal waters, eastern boundary current upwelling zones, and regions influenced by nutrient runoff. Many studies are underway around the globe to assess the extent and causes of these low oxygen and low pH conditions, as well as to understand the vulnerability of organisms and ecosystems to these conditions. The goal of this session is to assess the extent and impact of low-oxygen and low-pH conditions in coastal and ocean waters around the globe, including their impact on oceanic ecosystems. Other relevant issues include potential synergistic effects in the presence of both low oxygen and low pH, and the use of models to forecast future oxygen and aragonite saturation conditions around the globe.

New frontiers in modelling for oceanography, fisheries and marine ecosystem management

Shin-ichi Ito (Japan)
Pierre Petitgas (France)
Invited speaker: Coleen Moloney (South Africa) 

Modelling approaches have become global with a need for integrated understanding of ecosystems, from climate forcing to human interactions. The challenging objective is integrated governance of seas and oceans, where exploitation, conservation and multiple uses are balanced and sustained. High computational power now offers the ability to develop modelling platforms (numerical laboratories) to integrate processes across scales and disciplines, linking oceanography to biogeochemistry to ecosystem pathways and exploitation. New challenges include high resolution modelling of the ocean to the coast, dynamic modelling of biological adaptation and resilience, linking lower and upper trophic levels and linking with human behaviour. These complex coupled models must deal with uncertainty when investigating management scenarios with these models. The objective of the session is to discuss new advances in data handling and dynamic coupled modelling. Particular focus will be on modelling biological adaptive behaviour and resilience, linking lower and upper trophic levels and achieving overall integration to investigate management scenarios.

Transforming our understanding of ocean processes through new technologies

Jack Barth (USA)
Gabriel Gorsky (France)
Invited speaker: Douglas Connely (UK) 

The introduction of new technology over the past decade has significantly improved our understanding of the ocean. While some of this new technology might have been driven and developed in response to pure scientific inquiry, some new technology also stems from the need for marine exploration by commercial companies, for example in the fishing, and oil and gas industry. The objective of this session is to explore collaborative benefits by developing partnerships between science and industry for a sustained ocean observational network.

How many species in the ocean? Trends in biodiversity

Marta Estrada (Spain)
Ward Appeltans (Belgium)
Invited speaker: Marc Costello (New Zealand) 

Knowledge about marine species and ecosystems lags far behind that of terrestrial systems. The current number of known marine species is estimated at 230,000, but we cannot even characterize the health of many common marine species and ecosystems. What relatively little is known about the state and trends of living marine resources is based on species exploited commercially for fisheries; protected marine mammals, turtles, and fishes; and certain commercially significant and accessible coastal ecosystems such as wetlands and coral reefs. A synergy of human threats, including overfishing, global warming, invasive species, and pollution, has caused a rapid decline in global marine biodiversity. This session will focus on trends in biodiversity loss in the ocean and the potential impacts on ecosystem function and the reduction in ecosystem services.