EUROPEAN UNION OF AQUARIUMS CURATORS Conference 2019 october 14 - 18

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Tuesday, October 15

  • PhD Sciences de Gestion, Paris 2 Pantheon Assas
  • Veterinary PhD, 1999, Maisons Alfort 
  • Degree in Social Psychology (2002)
  • Master General Management, MBA Change Management & Innovation (2008)
  • Past member Executive Committee Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management
  • Certified Coach – ComProfiles®, PNL
  • Dean, The NEXT MBA – Founder & President, TEDxAi

The reinvention of Public aquariums social impact in a changing society

As humans, we have for centuries tried to differentiate ourselves from the animal kingdom, forgetting sometimes our key role within an integrated natural ecosystem. Too often mankind observed and dealt with animal life as an external stakeholder. Pinnacle of the known unknowns, mostly hidden to direct sight, the unexplored depth of the oceans has given birth to many myths, legends and mysteries, as oceans represent more than 70% of Earth surface and almost 95 per cent of living species, a significant share of marine life being still unexplored. 

While the rise of technologies could make us less and less human, a paradoxical effect is rising: we increasingly understand the strong need to relate more, as individuals, citizens and societies to our natural environment and roots. 

Developing research, fostering education and spreading knowledge about marine life, public aquaria have up taken the challenge to help us discover, understand and protect marine ecosystems. 

More and more, they are becoming cultural and educational hubs, embodying our shared will and duty to protect our natural resources and nurture biodiversity. Bridging science, education and culture with a unique combination of top-notch research, pedagogy and experiential learning, they inspire their public and cater this growing need for understanding better, and nurturing the world we live in.

Marco Weydert got his Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California (1985). After a few years of research, he joined the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, to work on the Marine Sciences and Technologies Research Programme. After some other assignments, he joined the Marine resources unit in 2014 and the Healthy Seas and Oceans unit on 1 June this year.

Connecting our seas and ocean with our citizens

The author will discuss the importance of the oceans for our planet, climate, food security and well-being of us all. Urgently a major effort to make citizens aware of the importance of a healthy and productive ocean is needed.

Wednesday, October 16

Thursday, October 17

David Johnson is a Director of Seascape Consultants Ltd and Emeritus Professor of Coastal Management at the UK Southampton Solent University and Honorary Professor at University of Edinburgh.

He is a chartered geographer and chartered scientist and has held a Caird Fellowship at the UK National Maritime Museum.

He is a global expert working at the interface of marine science and policy and an experienced and influential advisor on policy and public affairs concerning the future of global oceans.

He was previously Executive Secretary to the OSPAR Commission (2006-2012) responsible for refocusing the work of the Commission including production of the Quality Status Report 2010 and establishing the world’s first network of Marine Protected Areas in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.

Seascape Consultants managed the EU FP7 MIDAS project (2013-2016), evaluating environmental impacts of deep-sea mining. In 2016 David led an Article 154 Performance Review of the International Seabed Authority. Since 2013 he has coordinated the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, supporting efforts by the Convention on Biological Diversity to describe over 321 Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas worldwide, and is retained as an adviser to the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme.

He also currently leads the policy work package of the blue growth EU H2020 ATLAS project and has been the North Sea focal point for the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Platform. In 2017 he was awarded the IMarEST International Award in recognition of actions to help developing countries improve their ability to comply with international rules and standards relating to marine safety and the protection of the environment.

Count it, conserve it and make it count

Every time scientists explore the deep-sea, they make new discoveries. At the same time marine biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate. Science strives for certainty but it seems certain in the meantime we will lose much of what we didn’t even know we had. Key challenges are the impacts of too many people, climate change and a legacy of poor management and governance. This is exacerbated by low public awareness of ocean issues and lack of ownership:  rhetoric instead of responsibility.

Answers lie in an evolving legal framework, long-term policies and full-cost accounting. It is important to understand losses and trade-offs, to exemplify them and communicate them to decision-makers and the public. We need to recognize the most significant places for marine biodiversity and if possible, restrict impacts on them as well as anticipating future challenges.

For me the role and responsibility of aquariums is to reflect genetic diversity, to interpret and inspire. I admire efforts to tell stories, make it personal, and foster citizen science.  

With a training in biology and a doctorate in oceanology, Nadia OUNAIS has completed a scientific course that after various experiences in aquaculture, led her first to take the direction of the Aquarium of Monaco and thereafter to become operational director of the Oceanographic Institute. She was in charge of the Aquarium, the educational service, public conferences, exhibitions and scientific congresses.
Since March 2017, she has been appointed Vice-President of International Affairs at the Oceanographic Institute.
President of the European Union of Aquarium Curators (EUAC) for 9 years, founding member of the International Aquarium Network (IAN), Founding Member of the World Ocean Network, member of several other international organizations, author of dozens of scientific publications, and diver confirmed.
Appointed Knight in the Order of Saint-Charles by HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco for his career in 2011.
Honored by the Trident Gold in 2012 by the International Academy of Underwater Science and Technology, the highest distinction of the aquatic world.
Of Tunisian origin, she was awarded in 2016 by the Tunisian head of government with the trophy of “Radiant International Tunisian woman.

The World Coral Conservatoire: a Noah’s ark for corals and reef ecosystems
Nadia OUNAIS1, Didier ZOCCOLA 2
1 Institut océanographique, Fondation Albert Ier de Monaco
2 Centre Scientifique de Monaco, 8 Quai Antoine 1er, 98 000, Monaco

Climate change causes global decline of coral reefs. Using the network of World Public Aquariums, we propose to build a “Noah’s Ark” biological repository for corals. Seawater aquaria will serve as a reservoir for the purpose of conservation, restoration, and research of coral reefs to preserve these magnificent ecosystems that provide invaluable services to humankind. In addition to the environmental and scientific interest, this project will provide a global dimension to coral reef education and protection thanks to the involvement of the most prestigious aquariums.

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