DEVOTES Annual Meeting, 26-28 November 2013, Bilbao

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Group picture of participants at the meeting

The last week of November 84 scientists, representing the 23 partners of the European DEVOTES project, gathered in Bilbao, Spain, for three days of discussions, progress analysis, and planning for the coming months. This project, of 12 million euros, which extends from 2012 to 2016, focuses on developing innovative tools for assessing the environmental status of marine waters, under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The first DEVOTES Annual meeting was organized by the Coordinator of the project, Ángel Borja and his team from AZTI-Tecnalia. In addition to plenary sessions focused on progress and status of the project there was also significant time devoted to break out parallel sessions where individual work packages and tasks could discuss their progress and made plans for the second year of the project. The most important advances were presented. E.g. the list of most promising indicators to be used in assessing the environmental status of marine biodiversity, a software to select them, a study on the monitoring networks existing in Europe to study marine waters, the most important models that can be used to assess biodiversity status in the oceans, an operational definition of the meaning of good environmental status of seas, etc.

Three members of the Advisory Board as well as the European Commission representative have also attended the meeting, actively contributing on the discussion with a wide perspective. Lectures from Prof. Paul Snelgrove (CHONE, Canada) and Dr. Simon Greenstreet (ICES, Scotland) and sessions on cross-cutting themes as Ecosystems services and indicators and Management services took place.

A poster session for PhD students involved in the project and a Workshop on molecular tools for detecting alien species and Harmful Algal Blooms (with 20 attendees) were also organized.