World Association of Marine Stations (WAMS)
The World’s leading Marine Station Networks have recently come together in a global initiative to create the World Association of Marine Stations.
The World Congress of Marine Stations (WCMS) took place between the 17th and 19th November, 2021 and bought together those responsible for Marine Stations and Marine Station networks from around the world to progress towards the full establishment of WAMS.
The first two days of the online Congress included a range of overviews of marine stations from across the globe, cross-cutting sessions, panel discussions, and keynote presentations from the IOC-UNESCO.
Day 3 was partly reserved for high-level discussions on the WAMS Committee as well as the future of WAMS more broadly and as such, there was a dedicated discussion in the morning involving members and potential members of the committee. The other focus for the third day of the Congress was on fostering multi-lateral and bilateral relationships and collaboration with the purpose of connecting experts from across the globe.
In this spirit, the UK Science and Innovation Network in Russia (SIN Russia) hosted a bilateral side-event during the third day of the Congress, which focused on UK-Russia marine science cooperation in the Arctic. The goal of this bilateral ‘flagship’ agreement was to support UK-based researchers to actively engage with Russian researchers in the field of Arctic marine science.
The World Association of Marine Stations Communiqué
There is an urgent requirement to mobilise scientific capacity to support the achievement of the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There are also a range of targets developed under numerous frameworks such as the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C. The world’s approximately 1000 marine stations offer significant resource in support of these aims, particularly in offering key support for the activities of the UN Decade of Ocean science for Sustainable Development and its work on SDG 14. In addition to informing policy drivers, marine stations also provide a vital link between science and wider society through education and outreach activities from public aquariums to citizen science.
In order to mobilise this resource, a group of representatives from marine stations and global networks met at the World Congress of Marine Stations on November 19th to agree to the establishment of a new committee of the World Association of Marine Stations (WAMS). The World Congress, which took place between the 17th and the 19th of November was the first official full conference for WAMS bringing together people from arrange of countries and continents. The planned integration into the UN Decade support network as an implementing partner will help ensure that the WAMS moves forward as an active body with clear reporting mechanisms and links to the aims of the Decade.
The new acting chair of the committee Dr Matthew Frost said “it is great to see people coming together globally in recognition of the importance of a new global marine station network to provide a collaborative framework to meet key societal challenges. The Congress has therefore been a great success for marine science internationally”.
The first urgent activities of WAMS agreed at the meeting include: drafting clear TORs for the new committee along with mechanisms for its support; to develop a series of short to long-term objectives for WAMS; to complete the submission of WAMS as a Decade Implementing Partner; to organise a WAMS platform at the Lisbon UN Ocean Conference in June 2022; to have, by June 2022, a functional digital World Atlas of Marine Stations; and to begin planning the next World Congress for 2023.
Dr Matthew Frost (Chair), Giulia Licocci (Secretary), Alexander Tzetlin (Director, Pertsov White Sea Biological Station of Lomonosov Moscow State University), Kazuo Inaba (President, Japanese Association for Marine Biology), Mike Thorndyke (Ex-President,The European Network of Marine Stations), Bernard Degnan (Director, Centre for Marine Science, The University of Queensland), Nicolas Pade (Executive Director, European Marine Biological Resource Centre), Sun Xiaoxia (Professor, Jiaozhu Bay National Marine Ecosytem Research Station, Institute of Oceanology Chinese Academy of Sciences), Iwona Pawliczka (Director, Hel Marine station, University of Gdańsk), Alex Sukhotin (Zoological Institute Russian Academy of Sciences), Augusto A. V. Flores (Director, Center of Marine Biology, University of São Paulo), Neil Davies (Executive Director, Gump South Pacific Research Station), Sophie Seeyave (Executive Director, Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean), Gustavo Chiaramonte (Director, Estación Hidrobiológica de Puerto Quequén), Francisco A. Arias Isaza (General Director, INVEMAR), Mike Weber (Director, Littoral Station of Aguda), Kevin Scott (Marine Station Manager, St Abbs Marine Station), Murray Roberts(Professor, University of Edinburgh/Changing Oceans research group), Henry Burgess (Head, UK NERC Arctic Office), Christos Arvanitidis (Chief Executive Officer, Lifewatch Eric), Enrique Montes (Research Associate, Institute for Marine Remote Sensing), Axel Miller (Deputy Director, Scottish Association for Marine Science), Jean Pierre Feral (Emeritus director of research, Centre for National Scientific Research), Francisca Delgado (Ministry of Fishing and Aquaculture of Angola), Bangquin Huang (Professor, National Observation and Research Station for the Taiwan Strait Marine Ecosystem (T-SMART), Xiamen University), Vladimir Zabavnikoc, (Russian State Fisheries Committee).