Annual meeting February 2019

It is now possible to register for the annual meeting (Havforskermøtet) February 2019! Follow this link for the registration form.

Preliminary programme and information:

Monday 11th
(Norsk Økologisk Forening’s annual meeting during the day, see here and feel free to participate.)

The NHF annual meeting (Havforskermøtet) starts at 19:00 with a shared icebreaker with food and posters.

Tuesday 12th (UiT)
09:00-17:00 Debate “How can ecology and environmental research become more politically relevant?” together with NØF.

Before lunch we will look at how we work as researchers, and to which degree our results can be used to inform policy. We start off with a presentation by Ingvild Ulrikke Jakobsen (UiT) about §112 in the Norwegian constitution regarding decisions made based on results with associated uncertainty, and Katriona Shea (Penn State Univ, USA).

Then there will be a panel discussion on three reports ordered by the Norwegian government regarding the state of the natural environment in Norway, two of which concluded that there was not sufficient information or good enough methods for an adequate response. We debate whether, as researchers, we can be expected to respond despite uncertainties that challenge our professional integrity, and, on the other hand, how it reflects on scientific credibility when failing to answer society on what appears as a simple and well-meaning question. Participants: Signe Nybø (NMBU), Rolf A. Ims (UiT), Per Arneberg (IMR Tromsø).

After lunch, we open the venue to the audience, students and the media and look outwards toward society and how it uses research on ecology, nature and the environment. How is government administration organized to receive or disregard environmental research? Is there a need for better scientific advice from decision makers at the upper levels of government? And how can researchers work together with decision makers and others to design adequate and future-oriented solutions for society? Currently Prue Addison of the University of Oxford has been confirmed.

Conference dinner is Tuesday evening.

Wednesday 13th (The Edge)
Wednesday is NHF only. This year’s featured topic is “the coast”. Norway has a long coastline with fjords and distinctive ecosystems. The majority of Norway’s population lives along the coast. It is along the coast most of the value creation, food production, transport and industry happens. Still, we know astonishingly little about coastal ecosystems and the changes that occur there, among other things because time series and surveillance are very limited compared to efforts in the open seas. The NHF therefore hopes to spread a bit of enthusiasm and interest for coastal research. Presentations on all other marine research topics are, as usual, also very welcome.

The day ends at 16:00, enabling participants to travel back during the evening.

Registration and conference fee
The deadline for registration is set to December 16th as we need to give the hotel feedback regarding the size of the venue for the conference. We understand that this is a short deadline, but we hope that many of you are able to make a decision before this date. Subject to available space, it will be possible to sign up later, but we encourage anyone who has the opportunity to register before the deadline.

We have been awarded an event grant from the Norwegian Research Council and are able to reduce the participant fee: The meeting is NOK 1600 (NOK 600 for MSc and PhD students).

Each participant must pay for their own travel and accommodation. We have reserved a number of rooms at the venue (The Edge Hotel), and when you register, you will be asked whether you want to reserve a room. The room is paid directly to the hotel.

The next Havforskermøte will be held February 11-13, 2019 with a focus on coasts

The next annual meeting of the Norwegian Association of Marine Scientists will take place in February. This time we meet in Tromsø, and the focus of the meeting will be “coasts”. Norway has a particularly long coastline, with fjords and distinct ecosystems. The majority of people in Norway live at or near the coast. The coastal areas play an important for Norwegian economy, with food production, transportation, and industry. And we know surprisingly little about the coastal ecosystems and the changes that unfold there, in part because monitoring timeseries are few and scattered compared to offshore survey efforts. The Norwegian Association of Marine Scientists therefore hopes to spread enthusiasm and interest for coastal research, while at the same time welcoming presentations about all other types of ocean science, as usual.

While we look forward to meeting and being social with all you marine scientists, it has not gone unnoticed that there are about as many participants at our annual meetings nowadays as there were in the seventies, and just a few more than way back in the 1950s. Clearly, the Norwegian Association of Marine Scientists has not grown at the same rate as the number of scientists and students who are dedicated to ocean science. Why? After all, our organization should have ambitions to represent the diversity within ocean science in Norway, and be the natural choice for updates and debates.

Maybe ocean science is now undergoing the same transition that took place in climate science a couple of decades ago. Then, disciplines were fragmented, one was e.g., chemical oceanographer, wave physicist, or meteorologist, and one spoke together when needed but not so much otherwise. Pushed ahead by the need to make sense of anthropogenic climate change, these sub-disciplines were suddenly necessary pieces to a coherent understanding of the Earth System and its dynamics. Wave physics was no longer of esoteric interest only to an inner circle of specialists, but essential ocean-atmosphere coupling, central to high resolution ocean modelling, and key to ecological processes involved in the carbon cycle. Links have become more important, between the atmosphere and the ocean, between ice and waves, and between the chemistry in air and that of water, etc. By working together, expert knowledge has become deeper and more important, even though some of the borders that separated disciplines have faded.

Today, the ocean is a key player in climate dynamics, and many ocean scientists may identify more with climate science than ocean science. Fisheries biologists are increasingly turning towards global questions, like providing proteins to a growing human population. Others study nutrients in seafood and orient towards public health and medical sciences. Marine geologists form a foundation for important industries like petroleum and deep sea mining, or they map and study natural processes. Add aquaculture, mine tailings, shipping, tourism, and recreation to the mix, and it is clear that the ocean is a focal point for many stakeholders and interests for which methods, values, and identities diverge. Maybe the Norwegian Association of Marine Scientists has become relatively smaller because the ocean has gained importance for just about everything else?

Again, we can use climate science for inspiration. Rather than building walls, their disciplines met, explored boundaries to other disciplines, and thus grew more productive and with new vigour. For example, a broader arena for climate science did not annihilate wave physics, but revitalized it and led to new developments. The next annual Havforskermøte will therefore be arranged together with the annual meeting of a related national science association. This time, we will meet at the same time and place as Norsk Økologisk Forening (NØF; Norwegian Society for Ecology), in Tromsø 11-13 February 2019. NØF is a relatively new organization with about 200 participants at their annual meetings, but are currently dominated by terrestrial ecologists. Currently we are planning for one day with a joint program where land meets sea, with invited plenaries and stimulating talks from our members. After lunch we aim for an open debate at the University of Tromsø, and we end the day with a joint social gathering. The day after we have all to ourselves, and we turn our undisturbed attention to the ocean, with our own party in the evening, plenty of time to socialize, and we sing our songs. Please reserve the dates, and we will keep you posted as the program and other details settle.

Maybe it will be fun, and we can see how our marine studies grow in the presence of other fields of science? Or, maybe we will feel that we have a special, marine essence that disappears around others, and that we want to keep our meetings to ourselves for the future? We will debate that at the end of Havforskermøtet, to agree on ways ahead. Should we crave for more, one option is to plan for a joint meeting with Norsk Geofysisk Forening (Norwegian Geophysical Society) the year after, where climate change suggests itself as a theme of mutual interest.

We hope to see you in Tromsø February 11-13!