Second World Conference on Marine Biodiversity in Aberdeen, Scotland from 26 to 30 September 2011

January 18th, 2011 by University of Aberdeen

The first World Conference on Marine Biodiversity in Valencia, Spain in 2008 attracted about 500 international scientists, and had a waiting list of over 250 who could not be accommodated in the Conference venue.

(Click image to go to World Conference on Marine Biodiversity website)

Aberdeen and St. Andrews Universities have agreed to host a second World Conference on Marine Biodiversity in September 2011.

The oceans provide an irreplaceable resource to humankind which must be protected and managed into the future.

The impact of changes in biodiversity as a result of direct and indirect human impact must be fully considered.

The World Conference on Marine Biodiversity has the overall aim of bringing together scientists, practitioners and the public to discuss and advance our understanding of the issues surrounding the importance of biodiversity in the marine environment.

The conference will address issues of marine biodiversity across a deliberately wide range of relevant spheres and interacting topics.

Jean-Michel Cousteau will speak at the opening ceremony of the conference and also take part in a public outreach event.

Other Plenary speakers include Anne Larigauderie, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); Phil Bourne, University of California, San Diego; Richard Brock, Brock Initiative; and Jacqueline McGlade, Director, European Environment Agency.

Haliclystus octoradiatus from the sea shore at La Valette, Guernsey (photographed on 17 July 2003 - ©RLLord click image to expand)

The aim of the conference is to:

  • Review our knowledge of marine biodiversity and its role in marine ecosystem functioning
  • Assess the most critical threats to marine systems and consider management strategies
  • Discuss sustainable development and socio-economic impacts on the marine sector
  • Identify future research priorities
  • Change the way Science is communicated.

The conference will be aimed at the widest possible groups of participants stakeholders from academics to industry and include elements specifically targeted at the public and school children.

The conference will be broadly split into 5 themes:

  • Biodiversity Loss
  • Pollution
  • Habitat Destruction and Fragmentation
  • Climate Change
  • Resource Overuse

It is envisaged that as we move through the conference so the themes move from an outline of the problems to possible solutions.

While academic papers will be split into the wider themes, the specific areas of research detailed below have also been identified:

  • Taxonomy
  • Biodiversity
  • Changes in Biodiversity with Time
  • Marine Technology: Platforms and Sensors for the 21st Century
  • Blue Biotechnology
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Climate Change
  • Marine Extremes
  • Bioinformatics and Data Delivery
  • Advances in Statistics in Relation to Marine Biodiversity Science
  • Marine Policy and Law
  • Marine Biodiversity and Human Health
  • Integrative Frameworks of Linking Physical Dynamics and Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity – Ecosystem Function
  • Linking Biodiversity – Ecosystem Function and Services
  • Biodiversity, Education and Outreach
  • Environmental Physiology
  • Human Impacts of Biodiversity

The hermit carb, Pagurus bernhardus, and the polychaete worm, Nereis fucata, living in a whelk shell, Buccinum undatum (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Conference Outline

It is intended that the second conference is larger and further reaching than the first event aiming to attract in the region of 1,000 international delegates to Aberdeen.

In addition it is envisaged that an exhibition – which will be open to local organisations runs along side the conference and that three public outreach events are organised which will highlight some of the issues and possible solutions regarding marine biodiversity and sustainability for local people.

Academic Conference

This will comprise three whole days and two half days of conference proceedings, including invited speakers, plenary and parallel sessions from submitted papers.

Side Meetings

In addition, a number of side meetings will take place either immediately before or after, or in parallel with the event, depending upon their nature. Organisations currently hosting side meetings include: the International Association of Biological Oceanography General Assembly meeting, World Register of Marine Species Steering Committee and The Census of Marine Life.


Relevant organisations will be invited to exhibit at the event and that this element will be open to local organisations as well as academic delegates and possibly local school children.

It is anticipated that there will be between 50 – 100 exhibitors.

Public Programme

This will run in conjunction with Techfest and will include:

  • a public lecture by Jean-Michel Cousteau
  • an evening of film relevant to the conference theme
  • a question time styled debate on marine biodiversity and sustainability

For more information contact the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity organisers.

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