News articles

EC Blue Growth Infographic (Credit: European Union 2014)

ATLAS is designed with an explicit connection to ‘Blue Growth’, but what exactly is Blue Growth? The third ATLAS General Assembly explored various contending definitions and concluded that ATLAS should not be constrained by any single definition, but rather respond to a collection of nuanced definitions that frame its research agenda. Here, David Johnson, leader of WP6, describes what Blue Growth really means and how ATLAS fits in. 

Image of Íris Sampaio (right) with Dr. Manfred Grasshoff (left) at Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany

Out now: ‘Census of Octocorallia (Cnidaria: Anthozoa) of the Azores (NE Atlantic) with a nomenclature update. Following on from a research visit to Senckenberg Museum, Íris Samapio, ATLAS PhD Candidate has published her work on the History of Octocorals. Find it here

By Íris Sampaio, ATLAS partner, IMAR-UAz

The city of Frankfurt (Germany) introduces itself as an open window to the world. It is no coincidence that a statue of Atlas and his globe stands atop the central station where you observe the diversity and contrast in people from all over the world. Global citizens are as diverse as the organisms I was looking for in the Natural History Museum – Senckenberg: the octocorals. These unique Frankfurt citizens are themselves history tellers, inhabitants of the explored North Atlantic Ocean and the wonderful children of a coral taxonomist I dreamed of meeting.

The Global Ocean Conveyor Belt. Credit NASA/JPL

The ATLAS consortium was very excited to learn of Nature’s decision to publish an ATLAS-funded study on Anomalously weak Labrador Sea convection and Atlantic overturning during the past 150 years. To learn more about this important topic, the Newsletter is proud to present a short explanation of AMOC by none other than the study’s co-author and ATLAS partner Dr Peter Spooner (UCL).

The Atlantic Meridional overturning Circulation (AMOC) is one of the most important climatic phenomena on Earth. Like many natural systems, the AMOC is so complex that in many respects it still defies our understanding. However, simplified models can be useful when thinking about its role in weather, climate, and ecosystems.

Image of Marine Spatial Planning in action. Credit: Joint IOC-UNESCO – EC DG-MARE International Forum for Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning.

Prof David Johnson (Seascape Consultants Ltd., UK), represented ATLAS at the kick-off event for the Joint IOC-UNESCO – EC DG-MARE International Forum for Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP), a new International Forum that aims to develop international guidelines on cross-border and transboundary MSP, exchange good practices and generally inspire the MSP community. The forum was started as an offshoot of the 2nd International Conference on Marine Spatial Planning and took place in Brussels from 22 – 25 May 2018. 

Global leaders in the marine sector recently gathered in Galway, Ireland for the 5th  Our Ocean Wealth Summit (OOW) on the 28th and 29th of June 2018. The annual summit forms a key part of Irish and International Government plans to ‘Harness Our Ocean Wealth’ and coincides with SeaFest – Ireland’s national maritime festival.

This year the summit featured a variety of panel discussions and announcements and hosted the Marine Ireland Trade Show. The two-day event also attracted distinguished speakers including Mary Robinson, former Irish president and founder of The Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, who delivered a keynote speech on the threat of climate change and its potential impacts on marine ecosystems and coastal societies, which was highlighted in her recently published article in Nature.

We'll be holding the assembly once more in Colonia Sant Jordi, Mallorca from 1-5 April 2019.

Please save the date - registration and further information will be posted early next year. 


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Attendees at the Science Policy meeting, Ottawa, May 2018

The second science-policy meeting for the ATLAS project took place in Ottawa on Friday 11 May 2018.

24 participants - comprising senior policymakers, stakeholders from industry and NGOs, representatives of international organisations, and leading scientists - attended a very productive meeting. Hosted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), this meeting served mainly to bring the project to the attention of the Canadian government stakeholders and to gather their feedback on where ATLAS results will be of benefit to their work in the future development of management of ecosystems in the Atlantic.

Meeting participants were welcomed by Dr Louise Laverdure, Director General of Ecosystem Science at DFO. Prof David Johnson chaired the meeting, a full report on which can be found here.

Image showing chimney of the new field where hydrothermal activity is visible. Image from ROV “LUSO”, Portuguese Task Force for the Extension of the Continental Shelf

An international team of scientists have discovered a new hydrothermal field near the Gigante Seamount in the Azores, a rare finding they are very excited about. The team, including scientists from the EU Horizon 2020-funded project ATLAS, have been surveying the largely untouched seas of the Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic which harbours some of the most important deep-sea ecosystems in the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers from the University of the Azores (IMAR–UAz) are leading Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations in the “Blue Azores” expedition organised by the Oceano Azul Foundation, in cooperation with the Waitt Foundation and National Geographic PRISTINE SEAS, and in partnership with the Regional Government of the Azores.

ATLAS 3rd General Assembly group with ATLAS beanies, Mallorca April 2018

Find here the 3rd ATLAS General Assembly presentations with video recordings and posters.

Georgios Kazanidis (ATLAS) with Eliana Ferretti (MERCES/SponGES projects) at WCMB2018

The 4th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity (WCMB) took place in Montréal, Canada this year. Running from 13–16 May, WCMB is the major focal assembly to share research outcomes, management and policy issues, and discussions on the role of biodiversity in sustaining ocean ecosystems.

Het programma van de NICO expeditie foto NICO

ATLAS colleagues Dick van Oevelen and Evert de Froe have recently returned from a research cruise. Read more about them at their cruise blog here.

A Dutch newspaper, Omroep Zeeland, also featured an article on the cruise. Read more about it below.

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Children learning “to be coral scientists" during ocean week on the Azores (IMAR-UAz) 

This one-day symposium on 12 May 2018 is aimed at scientists, practitioners, policy makers and representatives of civil society with expertise and interest in the future of these area-based management tools (ABMTs) in the North Atlantic, and will take place immediately before the 4th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity. Presentations will highlight emerging results from ATLAS, and the status of ABMTs informed by predicted shifts in ecosystem dynamics will be reviewed. Discussions will highlight opportunities and processes for adaptive management and recommend future priorities and directions.

ATLAS is delighted to announce we have secured a session at The ICES Annual Science Conference 2018 (24 - 27 September, Hamburg, Germany) and we would like as many of you to submit your abstracts.

Theme G: Ocean basin-scale research and management: challenges and opportunities

Conven​ers: J. Murray Roberts (United Kingdom) and Ellen Kenchington (Canada)

Deadline: 19 March 2018

This session will explore the themes emerging as both the marine scientific and management communities embrace assessments of ecosystem connectivity, biogeography, and function at broader geographical scales. Research and policy development at ocean basin scale has been driven by the realization that climatic change and human impacts are rapidly altering marine ecosystems at the same time as governments seek to promote increased economic output from the marine environment. This broad context sets a considerable challenge and opportunity for marine science, industry, management and policy to shape the frameworks through which Blue Growth can be achieved.

During December 2017, ATLAS researchers Marina Carrerio-Silva (IMAR – University the Azores) and Lenaick Menot (Ifremer) and ATLAS PhD students Berta Ramiro Sanchez(University of Edinburgh) Yaiza Santana (IMAR – University the Azores) and Crisitina Gutiérrez-Zárate (IEO) attended the International training workshop on the identification of corals from image data at Plymouth University.