Ricochet News

A School of Marine Scientists Arrives in PE

Jul 4, 2017
A School of Marine Scientists Arrives in PE

Port Elizabeth is preparing to welcome hundreds of marine scientists and students to the Bay area. The South African Marine Science Symposium (SAMSS) is an event that occurs every three years and brings together not only local researchers and students, but also international visitors that are working along the coasts and in the seas of South Africa.

SAMSS (www.samss2017.co.za) is a premier event on the South African academic calendar, show-casing and promoting marine science, biology, and oceanography. SAMSS 2017 is taking place at the Boardwalk Convention Centre 4-7 July. Designed to enhance networks and strengthen collaborations, SAMSS is hosted by the South African Network for Coastal and Oceanic Research (SANCOR) and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

Participants in this symposium study a wide variety of topics and ocean life – from microscopic plankton to hump-back whales, and everything in between! The SAMSS main theme is Embracing the Blue – Unlocking the oceans economic potential whilst still maintaining social and ecological resilience. This is to address the very bold approach of the South African Government, together with a number of other African States and the African Union, with their new maritime strategies to develop ‘blue economies’. In South Africa, this strategy is called Operation Phakisa (http://www.operationphakisa.gov.za/), which means ‘hurry up’.

Also represented at the symposium through floor exhibitions will be a number of maritime industry partners as well as local conservation groups such as the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). Some of the featured international speakers are from Australia, Uruguay, and the United Kingdom, and local speakers represent premier South African universities and research institutions.

The chairperson of SAMSS 2017, Prof Ronel Nel from NMMU, looks forward to welcoming all the delegates to Port Elizabeth, which is itself a hotspot of marine science and research, with the Bay being home to thousands of marine organisms and the fastest moving current in the world.

There is an opportunity for the public to also attend events at the Boardwalk venue during the symposium. There will be a free public lecture on July 4 at 6 pm by Dr Mark J Gibbons, a researcher from the University of the Western Cape. He will focus on the remarkable jellyfish, an animal that has been swimming the seas for 500 million years.

It is anticipated that up to 400 delegates will be welcomed to the Algoa Bay area, and the SAMSS symposium will mark great South African marine science achievements and discoveries.