Messages from the deep at marine sciences forum

Marine scientists are examining some of the mysteries of the ocean at the Canyons to Coast Conference in Adelaide this week.

Flinders University researchers are explaining their latest discoveries at the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) conference, led by College of Science and Engineering Professor Sabine Dittmann, who chairs the  scientific committee, and conference co-organiser Dr Ryan Baring.

The conference aims to develop a new perspective on connections between deep sea canyons and nearshore coastal ecosystems. Presentations will cover recent findings into seafloor mapping, oceanographic processes, biodiversity and also the blue economy.

“For a long time, the ‘Catchment to Coast’ concept has influenced our thinking of drivers of coastal processes,” Professor Dittmann says.

“By sharing knowledge gained from increased research efforts between offshore and nearshore ecosystems, we seek to progress our understanding of further drivers.”

Along with several other Flinders staff and students on the organising committee, Flinders is presenting 25 talks – including two plenary sessions – and eight posters at the national conference, with Flinders scientists leading three of the symposia at the conference.

“The presentations are not just covering the oceanic depth gradient, but also feature everything from coral reefs to the southern ocean, and from microbes to whales,” Professor Dittmann says.

About 350 delegates, including scientists from six overseas countries, will discuss their research over 230 oral and 35 poster presentations, and a series of workshops held around the conference.

“While we are still making basic discoveries, ocean ecosystems are also undergoing change from global warming, invasive species, marine debris, and other extractive uses,” adds ASMA president, University of Sydney Associate Professor Will Figueira.

“The conference will also cover new insight from research and management which can inform a sustainable future,” he says.

An exhibition hub and information on Australia’s new research vessel – along with acknowledgement of sea country connections and Indigenous research priorities – are part of the 55th national annual conference (1-5 July).

Coinciding with the conference, a forum on “Coastal Conflicts” held at The Science Exchange (Wednesday 4 July) will also allow the public to hear from keynote speakers and ask questions in a Q&A session led by TV personality and author Michael Veitch.

For full details about the conference go to the AMSA conference website and follow the conference on Twitter and Facebook (#amsa18 on social media).

Dr Ryan Baring collecting seagrasses off the Adelaide metropolitan coastline. He is presenting on fauna count data for marine park conservation assessment.
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