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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.