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Co-organisers: The iAtlantic project (via Seascape Consultants Ltd); University of Edinburgh, UK; European Commission; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA; Fisheries and Oceans, Canada; International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
The multitude and magnitude of challenges facing today’s ocean are such that the scientific research needed to underpin solutions to these problems must also be conducted on a large scale. But the ocean is vast, much of it remains unexplored and collection of marine data is an expensive undertaking. With only an average of 1.2% of national research budgets allocated for ocean science, we need to work smart to generate the information and knowledge needed. Strategic thinking, innovative technology and – most importantly – genuinely productive partnerships between countries, regions and multiple sectors can achieve ambitious scientific objectives, support responsible decision-making and advance progress towards a healthier and more sustainable ocean.
iAtlantic is an EU-funded international research programme undertaking an ocean-wide approach to understanding the factors that control the distribution, stability and vulnerability of ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean. Our work will determine the tipping points – the points of irreversible change – for deep and open-ocean ecosystems, which drivers are most crucial in propelling ecosystems towards those tipping points, and provide new insights into the factors that influence and support ecosystem resilience to environmental change.
This is an ambitious programme, spanning the full scale of the Atlantic basin from the tip of Argentina in the south to Iceland in the north, and from the east coasts of Canada and Brazil to the western margins of Europe and Africa. International scientific collaboration throughout the Atlantic region is critical to the project’s success: sharing of expertise, equipment, offshore vessels, data and personnel is at the forefront of iAtlantic’s approach. This aligns with a commitment to enhance human and technological capacities, and to ensure science results are readily available to decision makers.
In this side event, we will showcase how the iAtlantic community has pooled resources and expertise to meet some of the pressing scientific challenges in the Atlantic, and how the project has fostered strong, productive collaborations with other organisations, initiatives and sectors to generate tangible progress in addressing critical scientific questions at the Atlantic ocean basin scale. Speakers are drawn from our network of partners across the Atlantic and represent academia (Seascape, UEDIN and others), government (DFO, NOAA), industry (IOGP), and civil society (IUCN). A special highlight of this event is a live link to scientists on the NOAA Okeanos Explorer research vessel in the high seas of the mid-Atlantic, where they will be investigating previously unexplored areas of the deep ocean. Collectively, our speakers will demonstrate how shared scientific ambition can be an effective driver for innovative and productive partnerships that bring benefits to the wider global ocean community.
This event was livestreamed on Zoom – watch the session recording below!
|18:00||Participants arrive; refreshments|
Welcome and introduction
Dr John Bell, Director ‘Healthy Planet’, Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, European Commission
|18:50||Murray Roberts, iAtlantic Coordinator, University of Edinburgh|
The iAtlantic approach: scaling up local observations to tackle ocean-wide science questions
|19:00||Derek Sowers, NOAA Ocean Exploration|
Engaging the international community in exploring the deep Atlantic Ocean
|19:10||Ellen Kenchington, Fisheries and Oceans Canada|
Trans-Atlantic collaborations reveal the secret language of deep-sea denizens
|19:20||Harvey Johnstone, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP)|
Contributing industry-collected data to the wider marine science research effort
|19:30||Kristina Gjerde, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)|
The importance of iAtlantic science outcomes to international governance processes
|19:40||Audience Q&A; discussion|
|19:55||Wrap up; closing remarks|
Dr John Bell is ”Healthy Planet” Director in DG Research & Innovation, leading the European Green Deal research and innovation transitions on Climate Change, Oceans and Arctic, Water, Bioeconomy, Food Systems, Environment and Biodiversity, Circular Economy, and Bio-based systems. This includes the €10 billion Horizon Europe investments, and chairing the Governing Board of the €2 billion Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking. He has led initiatives as the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance, Galway and Belém Statements, BlueMed and the EU Bioeconomy Strategy. He is also the Deputy Mission Manager for the Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030”.
Jane Lubchenco is the Deputy Director for Climate and Environment at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, on loan from Oregon State University. Dr Lubchenco is a global expert on the ocean, climate change, biodiversity, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. Dr Lubchenco served as the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 2009-2013 and was the first U.S. State Department Science Envoy for the Ocean from 2014-2016. She has received countless awards, including 23 honorary doctorates and a MacArthur (‘genius’) Fellowship.
Lawrence Hanson was appointed Associate Deputy Minister at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in March 2021. Prior to joining Fisheries and Oceans, Lawrence served in several Assistant Deputy Minister roles, most recently as Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy at Transport Canada (2017-2021). Prior to that, he served as Assistant Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development – first as Assistant Deputy Minister for the Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector and then in the Science and Innovation Sector. Lawrence received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.
Murray is the iAtlantic Coordinator and Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences where he leads the Changing Oceans research group. His research on cold-water corals and deep-sea biology has taken him to sites off the UK, Norway, Ireland and the SE United States in order to advance understanding of the biology and ecology of cold-water corals and provide the information needed for their long-term management and conservation. Murray has led or participated in 23 offshore research cruises.
Derek has worked as an expedition coordinator for NOAA Ocean Exploration for the past eight years. He has 16 years of previous experience working for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve network and the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program in both Oregon and New Hampshire. Derek has participated in oceanographic expeditions spanning remote areas of the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. When not at sea, Derek works at the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire.
Ellen is a benthic ecologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Her current research relies on large-scale habitat mapping, seabed mapping and water mass characteristics to be able to predict the distribution of organisms important in the marine ecosystem, such as deep-water coral and sponge beds. She has provided scientific support for both national and international fisheries management in sensitive marine areas and has established benthic biodiversity monitoring sites in the Canadian Arctic. In iAtlantic, Ellen is the regional coordinator for the NW Atlantic
Harvey is IOGP’s Environment Director. He joined IOGP in 2021 after a 34-year career spanning both the Government and the oil and gas sectors. Harvey spent 14 years with the Western Australian Government’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with roles spanning air quality monitoring, industry licensing, pollution management and contaminated sites. Harvey joined BP in 2000 in where he undertook roles managing remediation liabilities, decommissioning planning and operations, and advised on environmental management issues. Harvey is a member of iAtlantic's Advisory Board.
Kristina is Senior High Seas Advisor to IUCN’s Global Marine and Polar Programme. For almost 30 years, Kristina has worked on the progressive development of public international law relating to the marine environment, with a growing focus since 2003 on the high seas and international seabed area. Her many interests include ocean governance, shipping, fishing, deep seabed mining, as well as tools and technologies for advancing marine biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Kristina is a member of iAtlantic's Advisory Board.