Some of the planet’s leading ocean scientists are gathering in Plymouth this week to discuss some of the key challenges facing the marine environment.
The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) is holding its annual meeting in the city for the first time, featuring a series of talks and events over four days.
It will include discussions about future projects and research directions, as well as the opportunity for delegates to tour key marine research facilities in the city.
The annual meeting is taking place at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Station, and has been coordinated by a committee that includes representatives from the University, the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML).
Around 60 delegates are expected to attend during the four days, coming from leading institutions in the UK and 30 other countries.
Professor of Ocean Science at the University Peter Burkill, a Past President of SCOR, is chair of the local organising committee. He said:
“This is the first time SCOR’s annual meeting has been held in the UK since 1999 and it is a huge honour for Plymouth. It gives us the opportunity to show the world why the city is so highly regarded in the field of ocean science. It could also enable scientists from the city to get involved in future international projects that can really make a positive difference to our oceans.”
Dr Ed Urban, the Executive Director of SCOR who is attending this week’s meeting, added:
“The UK is a key global player in our field and Plymouth has one of the highest concentrations of marine scientists in the world. The range of institutions it hosts make it the perfect venue for our annual meeting, and we are hoping it will also encourage other UK scientists to get more heavily involved in our work over the coming years.”
Professor Stephen de Mora, Chief Executive at PML, added:
“We are delighted that such a prestigious organisation has chosen Britain’s Ocean City as the location for its annual meeting this year, and we are excited by the prospect of PML’s continuing involvement in a range of projects that help us further understand and tackle some of the key challenges our oceans face.”
Established in 1957, SCOR was the first permanent interdisciplinary body formed by the International Science Council (ISC). Its belief is that the scientific problems of the ocean are often so large and complex that they require an interdisciplinary approach, harnessing the resources of many nations.
Its membership spans 32 countries, each with a national committee, and many of the committee leads will be in Plymouth this week.
Part of the key business of the meeting will be to review the progress of SCOR’s existing projects, but also to agree funding for two further groups (which will each enable 10 scientists to meet and develop a new upcoming topic in ocean sciences).
There will also be social events around the city, including a dinner attended by local dignitaries at the National Marine Aquarium, with the final day of the event featuring tours of marine research facilities at the University, MBA and PML.
Professor Richard Thompson, Director of the Marine Institute at the University, added:
“I am delighted to welcome the SCOR to Plymouth for their 44th annual meeting. This is the first time the meeting has been held in the UK for almost 20 years, and choosing Plymouth as their venue is clear recognition of the significant global contribution our scientists make to ocean research. There is considerable synergy between our research in the Marine Institute and that of several SCOR working groups, and this meeting provides an excellent opportunity to stimulate even greater collaboration between the University and the ocean research community.”