After four days of cutting-edge and state-of-the-art marine science, ICES Annual Science Conference has come to an end in Dublin.
The standout contributors were formally recognized and presented with awards by the chair of ICES Awards Committee Lidia Yebra during the conference dinner, held at the Guinness Storehouse.
Dannielle Eager, University of Plymouth, UK, was presented with the Overall Best Presentation Award for her study entitled "Fine-scale oceanographic drivers of pelagic biomass around a tropical coral atoll within the Chagos Archipelago Marine Protected Area". The jury chose Danielle for her very clear and enthusiastic presentation, supported by excellent and informative visuals, showing a biological oceanography approach applicable to fisheries MPA management.
On receiving her award, Danielle said, "Thank you ICES for this wonderful recognition. I am truly grateful to receive this award and to have been so warmly welcomed as an early career researcher at my first ICES ASC. My research focuses on the fine-scale oceanographic drivers of pelagic biota in the central Indian Ocean. In particular, how flow-topographic interactions, around coral atolls and seamounts, affect the spatiotemporal distributions and behaviours of pelagic biota. Understanding these factors is essential for defining the drivers of biodiversity hotspots in the otherwise oligotrophic Indian Ocean. This research resonates with many of the ICES scientific priorities. Within ecosystem science, my research aims to understand the 'structure, function and dynamics' influencing fish schooling distributions with the anticipation that this work can lead to effective conservation plans supporting these tropical biodiversity hotspots. I would like to acknowledge funding support from the Garfield Weston Foundation and Bertarelli Foundation".
The award for Best Poster went to Tora Olsen, University of Oslo, Norway. Her work, "Separating the roles of several ecosystem components on four major collapses of the Barents Sea Capelin" was chosen because it was a very clear and well-presented study on the drivers of the Barents Sea Capelin stock collapses. Tora says, “My PhD focuses on variation in life histories in migratory fish. My poster looks into the population dynamics of Capelin - a small pelagic fish species with great fluctuations in population size. I can find no single factor that can explain the four recent stock collapses of the Barents Sea Capelin, and the collapses are all due to different influences. Now, I want investigate whether the fluctuations are due to internal dynamics of the Capelin and its migration patterns. The population dynamics that Capelin display are not uncommon, and understanding them is important for ICES work on stock assessments and fisheries predictability".
In addition, there were two awards for Best Presentation by an early career scientist. These were awarded to Marina Sanz-Martin, Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC) and Amanda Schadeberg, Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands.
Marina Sanz-Martin was awarded for her very engaging presentation on climate change and resilience in the Mediterranean Sea, "Velocity of climate change drives unexpected and resilient responses in species of the Western Mediterranean Sea".
She notes that, "My research is focused on the study of climate change and its redistribution of commercial marine species in disparate oceans. Nowadays, I am mainly working on the Western Mediterranean Sea, applying state-of-the-art climatic metrics methods such as climate velocity (a relatively novel metric of species' distribution/movement in response to warming), large environmental/biological datasets, and statistical models that relate both commercial and artisanal fisheries (the latter in Marine Protected Areas, MPAs). My goal is to produce the scientific knowledge required to propose and further climate-smart adaptive strategies thus enhancing the ecological and socio-economical resilience of vulnerable ecosystems.
The success of this demanding task depends on the development of new research, expanding upon existing knowledge and crafting its integration into participative processes to support evidence-informed climate policy and ecosystem management.
To achieve this goal, I have a postdoctoral fellowship at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC) supported by the Balearic Government and a project recently funded by AXA Research Fund. In addition, I have the support of an amazing team of researchers (Group of Ecosystems Oceanography, GRECO) and an inspiring, supportive supervisor Dr. Manuel Hidalgo."
Amanda Schadeberg was also awarded for talk on "The future of the mesopelagic zone is being written today – but by whom?". The jury felt her presentation was very well adapted for the video format to show what we know about the mesopelagic zone using machine-learning tools.
Asking Amanda about her research question, she says that it was very simple, “What do we talk about when we talk about the mesopelagic zone? My co-authors and I used automated content analysis to identify the key ideas about this ecosystem fom 2000 scientific abstracts and 4000 tweets. We expected to find different ideas in the two sources but our analysis shows that, rather than being a space for dissenting ideas, Twitter is used by scientists to communicate what the mesopelagic zone is, what lives there, and why it might be important. We also analysed policy documents and found no specific policy about the mesopelagic zone (yet). We argue that because scientists are the only people who can really interact with this deep-water ecosystem, they are crucial actors in shaping and framing what can be known by the public and policymakers alike. We conclude that this makes scientists the 'de facto' governors of the mesopelagic zone (at least for now). It's therefore important to reflect on what values and norms might be embedded in our work and the impacts this might have on how ecosystems are governed. During the ASC this week, there have been some exciting conversations about our role as a community in producing knowledge and how the way we perform our science can lead to different governance outcomes. I look forward to the continuation of this conversation! “
As all awardees are early career scientists, they each receive a 750€ voucher to attend ICES activities, such as training courses and symposia.
Congratulations to all award winners!
ICES ASC 2022, the first hybrid conference ICES has offered, saw over 500 in-person and over 200 remote participants from multiple disciplines and sectors gather to discuss and engage in the latest thought-provoking marine research, spread out across 18 theme sessions covering a wide range of topics including sustainable aquaculture, the role of small-scale fisheries and communities in ocean governance, oceanography and ecosystems in the North Atlantic, and ecosystem-based management.
Marina Sanz-Martin, who participated in the ASC remotely, was awarded one of two Best Presentation by an Early Career Scientist.