Sep 24
Friday round-up

​Well, where did the week go? Quick as a flash and it’s Friday already. Last night’s conference dinner, the social pinnacle of the event, is out of the way and we're all already staring down the barrel of the final 24 hours (or slightly less as the ultimate day is shorter due to no evening event).

Changing the subject

Whilst the Harmful Algal Bloom theme session picked up where it left off yesterday, two new theme sessions concentrated on cephalopods (a class of molluscs including quid, octopus and cuttlefish; the word is derived from the Greek meaning ‘head-foot’) and ecosystem services (the ecosystem is a Swiss Army knife that provides us with everything from fisheries and other food sources up to climate and water regulation to coastal tourism and human spiritual benefits) respectively.

Historically cephalopods, species which have crucial ecological roles as both predator and prey, have mainly been caught as bycatch. Now though, with their heightened prominence in fisheries across Europe, squid et al have been targeted by some commercial fleets.

Talks centered on the relationship between cephalopod abundance and climate change and the effects of various environmental traits on fisheries as well as the creatures in the context of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (and ‘good environmental status' around the continent’s salt waters). Another talk focused on an area often ill-accounted for when putting together stock assessments: recreational fishing.

fi4.JPGScientist, artist? Definitely. English language supremo? Maybe not yet...


Above: quoted from a theme session P talk on UK cephalopod fisheries; the need for more work to be carried out in light of attaining Good Environmental Status (GES). You can read more on the latest happenings of ICES Cephalopod group and the large fish indicator here.

Below: a more self-explanatory Tweet (t/y = tonnes per year)


Over in theme session N, meanwhile, issues under the microscope included the mapping of benthic (seafloor) habitats that provide ecosystem services (such as moving energy through the foodweb) their interplay with climate change and other stressors, and combined analyses between different ecosystems.

Theme session A takes home the award for catchiest title. As a non-scientist, I feel it's one of the areas that would most likely to appeal to an outside audience. The pattern of choice here was to show how changes in states of wind, water, salt, and temperature, and prey (amongst others) affect the behaviour of a range of marine species. One of the more compelling ones described how bluefin tuna turned up off the coast of Greenland recently. There was also 'the battle for food in the Barents Sea - cod Vs marine mammals' (which maybe doesn't have the same ring as Alien V Predator), which touched on, like many of the presentations here, the restructuring of foodwebs.

Prizing highly

The other major piece of news today was the conference's closing ceremony and, more importantly perhaps, the announcement of the winners of various ICES awards. No, that's not best actor (climate change), best visual effects (jellyfish blooms) or best original story (ocean acidification), but a range of prizes dished out to scientists that have unveiled the most accomplished presentations and designed the best posters throughout the week.


Paris Vasilakopoulos (above left) from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research was awarded the Best Presentation Award by ICES science committee chair Yvonne Walther (right) for his study 'quantifying ecological resilience in shifting complex natural systems: an application on Barents Sea cod.'


For the second year in a row, the best poster award was given to the University of Kiel's Rudi Voss for his effort 'Four fish in 2048 - What will be the status of the wild ones?' Above, Voss' colleague Jörn Schmidt picks up the prize on his behalf.

And here's Rudi Voss with his winning entry during Tuesday's poster session
Rudi Voss.jpg
The visually-striking poster tells the tale of several fish who are shown the future by a feline fortune teller. As the story unfolds, the idea of the collapse of wild fish stocks and the importance on farming becomes apparent. There's also the role of management, denoted on the poster by a superhero-like dog creature.

As well as being catchy in presenting sound science, each storyboard section also swings up revealing more information underneath.

Back to the awards...
Jessica Luo and Raquel Marques encapsulated the valuable involvement of early career scientists (those under 35) in this year's ASC and were honoured with best presentation awards. Luo for her talk 'Environmental drivers of the fine-scale distribution of a gelatinous zooplankton community across a meso-scale front' and Marques for hers, 'Dynamics of production and mortality of Aurelia aurita's (moon jellyfish) ephyrae (larvae) in Thau Lagoon, northwestern Mediterranean.

The early career scientist poster award went to the USA's Orian Tzadik for his presentation of "A non-lethal approach identifies ontogenetic shifts in d15N signatures in fin rays of Goliath grouper, Epinephelus itajara'.

As well as other gifts (including a few hundred dollar for assisting the winners with travel to future ICES meetings and workshops), the winners receive a huge congratulations from everyone connected with the ASC.


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