MarBEF World conference

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Revision as of 13:13, 4 September 2009 by Daphnisd (talk | contribs) (Some of the research highlights of the Conference)
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MarBEF organized the first World Conference on Marine Biodiversity where all of MarBEF scientists presented their latest research results in a five-day meeting that clearly demonstrated the enormous progress in the field of marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning over the last few years and the contribution that MarBEF has made in this field. Nearly 600 scientists from 42 countries were present at the world conference, giving giving 200 oral presentations and nearly as many posters. The participants also discussed and agreed upon a Valencia Declaration for the Protection of Marine Biodiversity.

Scientists at the conference reviewed the current extent of understanding of marine biodiversity and its role in marine ecosystem functioning. They assessed the current and future threats and the potential strategies for conservation and regulation of marine resource and defined the future research priorities.

Some of the research highlights of the Conference

Climate change

A rapid, climate change-induced northern migration of invasive marine species was one of many research results announced during the opening day of presentations. Investigators reported that invasive species of seaweed were spreading at a rate of 50km per decade, a distance far greater than that covered by invasive terrestrial plants, and that this difference may be due to the rapid dispersion of seaweed propagules (e.g., seeds) in the ocean.

Deep sea

Rapid advances have been made in deep sea research capability, thanks to technical developments such as customised submarines, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous vehicles (AUV). These have enabled study of hydrothermal vents or submarine volcanoes first discovered in 1977. Researchers have described more than 500 hydrothermic vent species, most of them endemic, as well as 200 cold-water seep species and 400 morphological species of chemosynthethic ecosystems which form on the carcasses of whales. For instance, on the mud volcanoes in the Cadiz gulf, thirteen new species of polychaetes (marine worms) are described including a new genus, Bobmarkeya (k or l?), which owing to its characteristic appearance was named after Bob Marley. These submarine volcanoes sustain high densities of fauna which, with specific adaptations, live independently of solar energy.