Ocean health in focus at 2nd International Ocean Health Symposium


On Wednesday, August 31, the second International Ocean Health Symposium came to a close at the Steigenberger Hotel in Kiel, Germany. International experts, including from the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, researchers from Kiel Christian Albrechts University (CAU) and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, as well as other institutions in Germany, exchanged views during the two-day conference on how to achieve and maintain a good state of the world's marine ecosystems. In addition to fundamental key questions about the relationship between health and disease in the ocean, the conference also focused on the classification of current extreme events such as marine heat waves and the dynamics of the spread of viruses and bacteria. Still largely unexplored is whether epidemics and diseases of marine organisms are increasing due to climate change or loss of biodiversity, what role microbes play in the resilience of marine ecosystems, and how stressors affect the future availability of marine resources such as fish, shellfish, and algae.

For example, how can we best manage the societal and economic impacts of disease progression in the ocean? And how can marine ecosystem management succeed in the face of numerous unknown factors? "We are studying the interactions between society and marine ecosystems, and how, for example, disease outbreaks in marine aquacultures can affect food security. Our goal is to derive options for action for effective management across time, space and borders," emphasizes Professor Dr. Marie-Catherine Riekhof, Director of the Center for Ocean and Society (CeOS) and Professor of Political Economy of Resource Management at the Institute of Agricultural Economics at Kiel University.

The 2nd International Ocean Health Symposium was jointly organized by the Kiel Marine Science (KMS) research center at CAU and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and supported by the Center for Ocean and Society (CeOS) / KMS, the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1182 "Emergence and Functioning of Metaorganisms" and the Helmholtz Research Field Earth and Environment (Topic 6, Marine Life), and strengthens the interdisciplinary and cross-faculty research activities on "Ocean Health" at Kiel. In addition, the symposium has been accepted as an activity under the UN Decade of Ocean Research and contributes to Goal 2, "A healthy and resilient ocean".

The full joint news from Kiel Marine Science (KMS), Christian-Albrechts-Universit├Ąt zu Kiel (CAU) and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel can be found here: