Project Seagrass

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A long-standing tradition of Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) conferences is the friendly and collegial environment and the unwavering support for early career scientists. This #CERF2015 was no exception with a multitude of leading marine scientists inspiring the next generation with #OceanOptimism as together we tackle the Grand Challenges together. This was despite a brilliant opening keynote by Berth Kerttula, Director of the National Ocean Council. ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ of marine problems!

#CERF2015 was very active on social media, check out the hashtag

To give you a quick history lesson, CERF conferences have been held biennially since 1971 with the aim of:

”…advancing human understanding and appreciation of the Earth’s estuaries and coasts, to the wise use and management of these environments and to making the results of their research and management actions available to their colleagues and to the public.”

Such admirable ambitions are inline with our own at Project Seagrass and so CERF conferences are natural home for promoting our vision:

“Our vision is that our marine ecosystems are healthy, well-managed and full of life.”

At this conference a whole range of topics pertaining to seagrass meadows were discussed. Seagrass restoration techniques were presented by Per-Olav Moksnes, Louise Eriander and Eduardo Infantes of Göteborg University in Sweden, whilst Rohani Ambo-Rappe showcased us transplantation methods for seagrass restoration in the Indo-Pacific.

Michael Rasheed from James Cook University, Australia was able to report on the protection of the Great Barrier Reef seagrasses. He presented work on innovative monitoring of seagrasses at high risk from coastal development. Similarly Len McKenzie (also of JCU) was able to report on the status of seagrass meadows adjacent to the highly urbanized city-state of Singapore.

One of the most inspiring research projects to be discussed at CERF2015 must surely be the work of the Zostera Experimental Network (ZEN). Pamela Reynolds provided a summary of research into the biodiversity and complexity of seagrass functioning across the northern hemisphere. Such collaborative research is surely cause for #OceanOptimism!#

There were some fantastic posters at the conference documenting a range of seagrass research topics.

Yet it wasn’t just the established names who were doing exceptional seagrass research. There were over 700 students and early-career scientists at the conference who had produced some fantastic research and were contributing significantly to our global knowledge base. Not least Erin Voigt won best student talk ‪#CERF2015‬ for her work on the effect of structural complexity and biodiversity on seagrass ecosystem function.

To all those involved in the hosting of the conference – thank you, and to all those who are conducting seagrass research – thank you! Keep up the good work and see you at ISBW2016.