Round-up of 20th POGO Annual Meeting in Mindelo, Cabo Verde | POGO

Round-up of 20th POGO Annual Meeting in Mindelo, Cabo Verde

The 20th POGO Annual Meeting (POGO-20) was held from 21-25 January 2019, hosted by the Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento das Pescas (INDP) and the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, at their newly inaugurated joint research venue, the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo (OSCM) on the island of Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde. The participants were welcomed by the meeting hosts, Dr. Osvaldina Silva, Director of INDP, and Prof. Peter Herzig, Director of GEOMAR, and the  meeting was officially inaugurated by H.E. the Minister of Maritime Economy of Cabo Verde.

During the opening session, the outgoing Chair, Prof. Karen Wiltshire, Deputy Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, handed over to Prof. Nick Owens, Director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). Prof. Owens thanked Prof. Wiltshire, on behalf of all POGO trustees and members, for all her hard work, passion and dedication to POGO over her four-year term as Chair. Trustees stepping down from the Board were Dr. Alessandro Crise (OGS, Italy), Prof. Richard Coleman (IMAS, Australia) and Dr. Margaret Leinen (Scripps, USA), and they were also thanked wholeheartedly for all their contributions and commitments to the leadership of POGO.

The POGO-20 Meeting was extremely well attended, bringing together 86 delegates from 25 countries. The meeting location was strategically chosen in line with POGO’s current focus on bringing in African countries to contribute to the global ocean observing agenda, and to become members of POGO. Thus, representatives of institutions and universities in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia were present and provided valuable insights into the needs and priorities of northern and western African countries.

Another strong focus of the meeting, influenced by its location, was the effect of Saharan dust fertilisation on the biogeochemistry of the waters around Cabo Verde. A half-day workshop on “Mineral-dust fertilisation of the marine environment and its consequences for the carbon cycle” was organised by Jan-Berend Stuut and Henk Brinkhuis of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), with keynote presentations by Jan-Berend Stuut, Cécile Guieu (Laboratoire Oceanographique de Villefranche, France) and Mark Moore (National Oceanography Centre, UK).
Other topical sessions focused on “Sustained observing in the South Atlantic Ocean and beyond”, “Ocean observing technology and sensor development”, and a lunch Side Event on Capacity Development. Other sessions included updates on POGO activities, and presentations by partner organisations and by new and selected POGO members.

POGO was delighted to welcome four new members who joined in 2018: Instituto Nacional de Desenvolvimento das Pescas (INDP), Cabo Verde; Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (INVEMAR), Colombia; University of Algarve, Portugal; and Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), Germany. During the meeting itself, an additional 3 members applied and were accepted as new members of POGO: a Consortium consisting of Institut de Recherches Halieutiques et Océanologiques du Bénin and International Chair in Mathematical Physics and Applications  (ICMPA-UNESCO Chair), Bénin, as well as two new members from Canada, Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI). These recent additions represent a total addition of 5 new countries to POGO’s membership, a testament to POGO’s renewed efforts to increase its global outreach and inclusiveness, particularly of developing countries.

The plenary Meeting was followed by a one-day Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the newly formed POGO Charitable Incorporate Organisation, which was an opportunity for POGO members to discuss POGO business, activities, priorities and partnerships. Two new trustees were elected to POGO’s Board: Gilles Lericolais (Ifremer, France) and Tiegang Li (First Institute of Oceanography, China), and subsequently a third trustee was appointed by the Board, Dr. Wendy Watson-Wright (OFI, Canada). The POGO Board and Secretariat would like to extend a warm welcome to those new trustees and look forward to working together over the next two years.

The members discussed POGO’s priorities for the coming year, including its Biological Observations Working Group activities, the “Open Access Marine Observation Devices” (OpenMODs) project, participation in Ocean Obs’19, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the GEO Blue Planet Initiative. A draft “Cabo Verde Declaration on Ocean Observations” was also discussed, which is currently being finalised and will be circulated widely in the coming weeks.

The summary report, final agenda and participants’ list can be downloaded from the POGO website, and the presentations have been made available to all the delegates. A brief meeting report, and the minutes of the AGM, will be circulated to the participants in the coming weeks.

The members agreed to fund 3 new Working Groups and 1 new training initiative for 2019/20:

  • DNA sampling tools for the global CPR Survey
  • “Inshore” - a novel, affordable, technologically innovative approach to measure the rate of change and the latitudinal variance in changes to global oceanic temperatures in coastal waters
  • “Oceanoscientific 2020” -  Observing the ocean from sailing vessels of opportunity
  • Training on Continuous Plankton Recorder silk analysis methods, from cutting the silk to statistical data analysis and interpretation.

More details on these will be made available via the POGO website and subsequent issues of the POGO newsletter.

The next POGO Annual Meeting will be hosted by the First Institute of Oceanography (FIO) and the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (QNLM) in China, from 20 to 22 January 2020.

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