From February 1st-5th, I attended the 2nd MARES Conference for Marine Ecosystems Health and Conservation, in Olhão, Portugal. The first two days of the Conference consisted of training workshops in the areas of Effective Outreach and Research tools. The workshops were geared towards helping young scientists, like me; improve their skills in the areas of Oral and poster presentation, statistical programming and scientific illustration. I opted for the Effective Outreach tool package and over the two days, I learned tips on how to keep my audience engaged during an oral presentation and how to create a clear and engaging scientific poster. I also enjoyed the sessions that outlined the dos and don’ts of manuscript submission and review and the advantages of Open Science. The first two days were very exciting and the Conference hadn’t officially started as yet!
The Conference commenced on the evening of February 2nd. For three days, 186 delegates from 24 countries gathered together to present, learn and exchange ideas on Marine Health and Conservation. The aim of the Conference was to bring together individuals with different backgrounds and experiences to address the issues facing marine ecosystems. It focused on six themes, Future oceans, Natural resources, Biodiversity effects, Biological invasions, Habitat loss and Ocean noise. With such a large and diverse group, the themes were discussed from different angles and points of view.
Since my study species is albacore tuna, I enjoyed Dr. Jake Rice keynote talk on Overfishing. I also liked the talks given by Dr. René Dekeling, which focused on ocean noise management, and Dr. Tundi Agardy who presented on the topic of marine spatial planning. One string of thought that connected all the presentations was the need for a holistic approach to address the task of preserving the marine ecosystem.
All in all, it was a great week and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also managed to take some time to appreciate the beautiful views of the little town of Olhão.