Regular listeners might remember that two years ago I published a series of episodes about the SeaMonitor project and related research. So it was my great pleasure to accept an invitation to the two-day long SeaMonitor-STRAITS Conference, which marked the close of the SeaMonitor project and the launch of the STRAITS project. The speaker list included the cream of the crop of marine scientists, policymakers and representatives from governmental agencies. It was also a great opportunity to catch up with my friends and former podcast guests. Of course, I didn’t miss the chance to make new connections which will undoubtedly result in several episodes dedicated to marine science, in the near future.
The conference was held in the main hall of the impressive Guildhall building in Derry. I immediately noticed the outstanding audiovisual setting of the conference, large screens with themed videos and visually matching slides. The presentations and panel discussions threw so much knowledge at the audience that I found it hard to absorb it all. What I noticed was that panel discussions were not scripted and featured some lively debates where not all panellists were necessarily in agreement on certain topics. I came back with dozens of pages of notes and a head full of ideas for educational content, that with a bit of luck and effort on my part, you’ll be able to enjoy in the coming posts in this blog. So subscribe if you haven’t already and send it to a friend who might be interested in marine science!
One thing that was repeated a number of times was the extent of SeaMonitor’s ambition. Thanks to the partnership with Ocean Tracking Network (provider of the acoustic telemetry solutions) the researchers deployed several million dollars worth of research equipment into the sea not knowing if they would ever get it back or if they would even get any useful data. Well, they got most of it back and the data they gathered casts a new light on marine ecosystems. This includes animal movements, interactions between species and with humans, management requirements and marine protected areas recommendations. In the coming weeks, I will dedicate a separate piece to sharing with you the bits of information that I found the most interesting. However, the amount of data gathered will take years to analyse and I’m sure it will result in more amazing discoveries in the future.
Finally, we were treated to a number of presentations from major research institutions that are collaborating on the newly launched STRAITS project (Strategic Infrastructure for Improved Animal Tracking). This is an EU-funded infrastructure project that focuses on four key locations across Europe: the Danish Straits, North Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, Bosphorus and Dardanelles. It goes without saying that I look forward to bringing you episodes related to the STRAITS project.