The DEVOTES project at the IMBER Open Science Conference

by A. Borja and A. Newton

imber_devotes_group imber_bergen
When Angel and Alice suggested a special session on Marine Biodiversity to the organizers of the IMBER Open Science Conference in Bergen, Norway, they did not expect such an overwhelming response form the science community. Anna-Stiina Heiskanen presented on the “Conceptual framework to assess the state of marine ecosystem services
IMBER is the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research project, an interdisciplinary global environmental change research initiative.
For more information about IMBER, see
Sabine Cochrane’s presentation was entitled “Towards an integrated assessment of European marine biodiversity – from concepts to tools
The conference theme was “Future Oceans – Research for marine sustainability: multiple stressors, drivers, challenges and solutions”. Tiziana Luisetti explored the difficult theme of “The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive: barriers to its implementation
The topic proposed by Angel and Alice for the special session was Marine environmental status and biodiversity: from structure to functionality, delivering ecosystem services. James Strong explained “The role of biodiversity in marine ecosystem functioning and their relevance to the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, its monitoring, modelling and management
Angel said “This proved to be very attractive to the scientific community and resulted in over 60 submissions of abstracts for oral and 15 poster presentations”. Aurélie Chaalali questioned “How will climate-induced primary production changes affect the overall food-web functioning of a highly exploited ecosystem?
There were several presentations about the DEVOTES project and active participation from the international science community, showing that this topic is of global relevance. There were presenters from Canada, the USA, Israel and Australia as well as many presentations from Europe. Joana Patricio presented the “Monitoring networks currently used in European seas” and asked “Is the marine monitoring for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive fit-for-purpose?”. Joana also showed another DEVOTES output, the catalogue of Monitoring Networks. To find out more about this useful catalogue see Deliverable 1.3
“It was a difficult choice, but finally we narrowed the selection to 25 oral presentation in a session that was 2 days long. 4 of the presentations were keynotes and there were also 6 posters” said Alice. There were also several presentations from the Marmoni project and regional seas, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and the Barents.“Circumstances in Crimea meant that some of our DEVOTES colleagues were not able to join us” said Alice, “it was a pity that Tanya Churilova could not make her keynote presentation”.
Angel Borja made the first keynote presentation on “Good Environmental Status of marine ecosystems: What is it and how do we know when we have attained it?” based on the Borja et al (2013) paper. “If we don’t have a working definition of Good Environmental Status we don’t have a clear objective” said Angel. It is wonderful to meet up with colleagues who are also friends” said Anna-Stiina, “you have time to talk about science and get to know each other. This is more than just science networking”.
Mike Elliott gave the second keynote presentation on “How will climate change affect our ability to meet Good Environmental Status for marine biodiversity?”. Mike explained how changes in the climate were changing the baseline. Mike said “It is like trying to hit a moving target”. We are grateful to IMBER for hosting the special session” said Alice “it is exciting to see how they are moving towards Future Oceans within the implementation of the Future Earth programme”.
In the third keynote, “Biodiversity indicator inventory – a catalogue software and a review of the current indicator set”, Anna-Stiina Heiskanen presented one of DEVOTES’ first outputs, the DEVOTES software Tool. “The tool is designed to help managers select indicators for the Marine Framework Strategy Directive”, said Anna-Stiina. To find out more about this useful tool see: Angel has organized a Special Issue of Continental Shelf Research to publish the papers resulting from the presentations.

  • Both oral or poster contribution/s can submit a paper
  • Submit on line, using this page:
  • Read carefully the guide for authors. Prepare your manuscript in the format explained there.
  • When your manuscript was ready, go to the above link. If you are not registered, you need to register and then start submitting a new paper. Then, in ‘Choose Article Type’, select: “SI: ECOSYS”
  • IMPORTANT AND STRICT DEADLINE: 15th September 2014. No extension will allowed.
  • The papers will follow the habitual peer-review process, with two reviewers and a final decision by the guest editors and the journal editor.
  • Our intention is getting the special issue published by April 2015.
  • Any doubt: aborja(at)
In the fourth and last keynote Alice Newton took us on a journey “Exploring links from Eutrophication to Biodiversity: two descriptors accessing the good environmental status of the European seas”. Alice explained how the links could be useful in designing cost effective monitoring but also could be the source of double accounting if they are not fully understood.


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