Florianópolis, Brazil, 10-14 October 2022
After missing two consecutive in-person annual meetings due to Covid, the iAtlantic family finally met in Florianópolis, Brazil to reflect on progress, celebrate achievements to date, and plan for the final 12 months of the project. With around 60 people attending in person, and a further 45+ participating online, for many this was their first time meeting colleagues from the project, and for many others this first time since the project kickoff meeting in June 2019.
Over the course of five intensive days, participants were treated to 48 plenary presentations covering the full breadth of iAtlantic’s work. These were complemented by a further 32 pre-recorded video presentations which informed discussion sessions structured around iAtlantic’s five objectives. With a year left to go in the project, maximising impact was a principal theme throughout the conference, with a number of sessions examining the different pathways to getting results out into the wider stakeholder community and beyond. Contributing to these discussions were colleagues from other All Atlantic projects, some of whom who joined the two full days of plenary sessions at the start of the week, and others who joined for a special ‘Sister Projects’ session towards the end of the plenary on Tuesday. During this segment, representatives from the AquaVitae, TRIATLAS, Mission Atlantic AtlantECO and AtlantOS projects presented their work and reflected on lessons learned in carrying out ecosystem assessment.
This year’s iAtlantic Hero Award went to Jose Angel Perez at UNIVALI (pictured right) for his fantastic contribution to the programme and continued enthusiasm and support. Awards were also on offer during the annual iAtlantic photo competition, which attracted 32 very high-quality entries. After much debate, the judging panel selected the winning entry, along with two runners-up and two further images worthy of special mention. A popular vote was held among the iAtlantic project community, with the results exactly in line with the judges’ verdict. Many congratulations to our winners and huge thanks to all that took part.
A highlight of the week was the fieldtrip on Wednesday afternoon, which offered participants the opportunity to continue discussions in a more relaxed setting. A visit to the nearby AquaVitae aquaculture facility and the Projecto Tamar sea turtle sanctuary provided an insight into local marine activities, whilst a stroll along the coastline (or surfing for some!) offered a chance to relax and reflect on the meeting’s talking points to date.
The week wrapped up with a series of technical workshops, including a very productive special session organised and run by the iAtlantic Fellows for the Fellows, and feedback from the iAtlantic Advisory Board and Science Council members.
But for many the week didn’t end there! Early on Saturday morning, around 20 people transferred to the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina to join a 3-day capacity building workshop on deep-water coral taxonomy. Run in partnership with the Marine Animal Forests of the World (MAF-WORLD) COST Action and led by Brazilian experts Alberto Lindner, Renata Arantes, Marcelo Kitahara and Livia Loiola, this hands-on training school took a closer look at the identification of four major groups of deep-water corals: Octocorallia, Antipatharia, Scleractinia and Stylasteridae. Working with specimens from offshore Brazil and further afield, the workshop also covered aspects of coral identification using ROV images.
The General Assembly was also preceded by a 1-day capacity-building workshop on ocean governance, led by policy experts Ben Boteler, Matt Gianni and Luise von Pogrell, with contributions from David Johnson and Vikki Gunn. This session examined the current international and regional policy landscape for the Atlantic, and focused on ways to get iAtlantic’s key science messages across to stakeholders.
Huge thanks are due to the GA organising team – both on site and online – as well as to the staff at the Jurere Beach Village who made our stay very comfortable and enjoyable.