News and Events

12 Sep 2021


OCEANS North America will be hosted in Alaska for the first time in 2017. The theme, “Our Harsh and Fragile Ocean,” or “How to protect the Fragile from the Harsh with application of modern technology and traditional knowledge working together” will bring consideration of the issues of Climate Change, Diminishing Arctic Ice Pack, Ocean Acidification, Increase vessel traffic in Arctic waters, Energy extraction and much more.

This events will feature sessions on Global Ocean Mapping and the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance: Implementing the Galway Statement. More information on those session is available below or on the official website.

Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance: Implementing the Galway Statement

Special Session 14 (SS14): Wednesday, September 20, 2021 11:00 – 12:00

Location: Tikahtnu Ballroom B
Name of Convenor/Organizer: Craig McLean(NOAA) and Katie Geddes(NOAA)
Email Contact of Organizer: katie [dot] geddes [at] noaa [dot] gov
Session Format:  TownHall
Attendance: Open to all attending OCEANS’17 and Exhibition Pass Holders

The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation was signed in Galway, Ireland on May 24, 2021 forming a research alliance among the United States, Canada, and the European Union known as the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA). This cooperation is intended to increase shared knowledge of the Atlantic Ocean and its dynamic systems by aligning our ocean observation and research efforts to improve ocean health and stewardship and promote the sustainable management of Atlantic resources. At present, AORA is comprised of four active international working groups in the following thematic areas: Aquaculture, Ecosystem Approach to Ocean Health and Stressors, Ocean Literacy, and Atlantic Seabed Mapping.

The overarching objective of the Aquaculture Working Group is to facilitate enhanced scientific cooperation and sharing of best practices to increase overall scientific knowledge and support a well-aligned ecosystem-approach to the management of aquaculture. This working group seeks to leverage research activities in a way that takes advantage of synergies in work already underway, coordinate the planning of relevant activities and resources, and develop ways to work together more strategically.

The aim of the Ecosystem Approach to Ocean Health and Stressors Working Group is to promote research to understand the North Atlantic Ocean to support the application of ecosystem based management (EBM) in order to improve ocean health, promote ocean stewardship, and advocate for the sustainable management of its resources. This collaboration will result in improved environmental and ecosystem assessments and increased understanding of stressors, vulnerabilities, and risk in order to increase ecosystem resilience, conserve biodiversity, manage risk, and appropriately determine competing social, economic, and environmental priorities.

Key objectives of the Atlantic Seabed Mapping Working Group include identifying the issues and priorities that need to be addressed by seabed mappers in order to prepare a unified seabed map of the shared North Atlantic Ocean, focusing on the need for an Atlantic seabed map; to progress data availability, harmonization and standards; and improve communication and sharing of best practices.

The Ocean Literacy Working Group cuts across all priority areas of the Galway Statement. This collaboration engages with international stakeholders representing ocean science, formal and informal education, government, marine education, business, industry and policy. This working group is integrating ocean literacy elements into the Atlantic Seabed Mapping Working Group and the Aquaculture Working Group, and has the capacity to network to integrate other ocean literacy programmatic efforts where appropriate, including the awareness campaign on Marine Litter, following the G7 Science Minister’s Declaration. This networking capacity is enhanced through work on the Sea Change International Advisory Group and other programs, including the Global Ocean Science Education and UNESCO IOC.

Furthermore, AORA has leveraged the strengths of each signatory by solicited cross-cutting contributions. A number of high profile Horizon 2020 projects designed to support the implementation of the Galway Statement in the Atlantic are now underway. The US is leveraging opportunities through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Canada has established a marine working group of academic, government and industry researchers, and program leaders to facilitate information distribution, coordination of existing research efforts, and networking and has provided opportunities for access to Canadian vessels to support ongoing efforts under AORA. This Town Hall will provide an overview of the progress on the implementation of the Galway Statement, opportunities for collaboration, and opportunities for collaboration.

Global Ocean Mapping

Special Session 2 (SS2): Tuesday September 19, 2017, 15:30 – 17:00

Location: Tikahtnu Ballroom B
Name of Convener/Organizer: Mr. Craig McLean, Assistant Administrator, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
Email Contact of Organizer: katie [dot] geddes [at] noaa [dot] gov,
Session Format: Panelists and Discussion
Attendance: Open to all attending OCEANS’17 and Exhibition Pass Holders
Panelists: Dr. Jennifer Jencks, the National Centers for Environmental Information; David Millar, Fugro Pelagos, INC.; Dr. Rochelle Wigley, the University of New Hampshire; Dr. Vicki Ferrini, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia

This town hall session will bring together stakeholders from academia, industry, and government to discuss key technology and cooperation requirements to map the global ocean in the next decade.  Panelists will review the global ocean mapping project of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), the Seabed 2030 initiative — to produce high resolution maps of the ocean by 2030.  This multi-disciplinary session will address key factors in achieving this goal including technology and data management innovation, international cooperation, enhanced capacity development, and expanded public-private partnerships.  The task of mapping the global ocean will provide a catalyst for new collaborations and coordination mechanisms and the opportunity to gather all presently available depth measurements into a global database for compilation and post-processing.  Therefore, database technology, computing infrastructure, and gridding techniques will likely advance as a result of this endeavor. The Seabed 2030 initiative supports production of high-quality data sets as a key foundation of sustainable development.  Mapping data supports: the creation of nautical charts for safe navigation; resource discovery; energy development; forecasts; living resources and habitats; and ecologically and economically sound resource management for the benefit of society.   Panelists will review the challenges, utility, and importance of ocean mapping to sustainable development and discuss their vision for the future.