The ATLAS symposium on North Atlantic Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas, Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and High Seas Marine Protected Areas in a changing ocean was held on 12 May. The symposium attracted approximately 50 participants. Presentations centred around: the status of knowledge in biodiversity and biogeography in deep-sea ecosystems of the North Atlantic; transfer of massages to policy makers; the role of area-based management tools under changing environmental conditions and opportunities for Blue Growth in ATLAS selected case studies.
Presentations were followed by breakout group discussions on the following topics:
- Identification of Blue Growth Areas; Limits and tensions to Blue Growth – How do we ensure more stringent environmental impact assessment?
- ATLAS’s approach to standardise the “identification” of VMEs in North Atlantic and across case studies
- Adaptability to environmental change and creation of a more flexible suite of area-based management tools. Planning in the face of uncertainty.
ATLAS and its sister H2020 projects SponGES and MERCES, also had a session on ‘Ocean Basin Scale Research’ running throughout the week and hosted a booth for visitors. The session was very successful, attracting several WCMB participants (up to 50 people at times). The session was chaired by Prof J Murray Roberts (University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) and Dr Ellen Kenchington (Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Canada). Presentations covered a wide spectrum, incorporating works on: the restoration of coralligenous habitats in shallow-water regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the role of environmental parameters in the distribution of deep-sea sponge communities in North-East Atlantic and Arctic regions, biodiversity and biogeography of seamounts and the role of deep-sea sponges as ecosystem engineers.
To read more about ATLAS activities at WCMMB and the ATLAS Science–Policy meeting in Ottawa, please see our press release here
By: Dr Georgios Kazanidis BSc (Hons), MRes, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate in the University of Edinburgh (ATLAS project)
The ATLAS Team at WCMB, Montréal (Credit: J Murray Roberts)