Special Sessions

The Organizing Committee invites contributions to the following Special Sessions:

Argo floats contribution to the marine research and operational monitoring of the Mediterranean Sea – Evolution, Achievements, and Future Needs

Conveners: Dr. Dimitris Kassis; Dr. Giulio Notarstefano; Dr. Estérine Evrard

This Special Session focuses on the extension of the Argo network in the Mediterranean Sea and the potential of the Argo floats array to provide high quality information on the oceanic variability, the dynamics of the physical state, and the marine ecosystems in its sub-basins. Based on the example of the international Argo programme, which has evolved to an essential component of the global ocean observing system, the Mediterranean Argo network is already providing unprecedented amounts of cost effective and high spatiotemporal resolution data. However, the number of countries participating in the Mediterranean Argo network is small; a fact that underlines the need of establishing a solid base of co-operation activities between scientists and policy makers across the Mediterranean network that will further boost the oceanographic monitoring and research in the area.

Focusing on these aspects, this session aims to promote the Euro-Argo ERIC’s objectives that describe the necessity of international cooperation for the monitoring needs of the European Marginal Seas both under technical, and scientific point of view. Following up the successful 1st Mediterranean and Black Seas Argo workshop, that was held in April 2021 under the framework of Euro-Argo RISE H2020 project, this session aims to present the potential of Argo, highlight its importance for operational oceanography, climate studies, scientific research, and environmental monitoring, and contribute to the development of new collaborations for the enlargement of the Mediterranean Argo community.

During the session, Euro-Argo ERIC executives and experts will present the on-going efforts, achievements, and future targets on the abovementioned fields. Scientists with similar expertise and interest are invited to attend and present their work whilst, in particular scientists from Mediterranean countries outside Euro-Argo ERIC will be supported to present their research studies and activities. The session will include the following topics of interest:

Field activities and synergies: Argo missions in the Mediterranean, the coastal Argo case, co-operation on deployments and recoveries, synergies with other platforms.

BGC Argo, new technologies/sensors: The biogeochemical Argo component at a global and Mediterranean scale, new biogeochemical sensors, biogeochemical data.

Argo and environmental policies: Argo and environmental monitoring, the contribution of Argo to the MSFD and the Green Deal.

Argo and climate studies: Monitoring climatic variability with Argo, the role of Deep Argo, Ocean Heat and Salt content variability.

This session is supported by the Euro-Argo Research Infrastructure Sustainability and Enhancement Project (https://www.euro-argo.eu/EU-Projects/Euro-Argo-RISE-2019-2022), and the Euro-Argo ERIC Office (https://www.euro-argo.eu/About-us/The-Research-Infrastructure/Euro-Argo-ERIC-office).

Anthropogenic Litter and Plastics Pollution

Conveners: Prof. Konstantinos Topouzelis; Dr. Christina Zeri

Anthropogenic litter and plastics pollution are widely recognized as a global problem of ecological significance, with several adverse effects in the environment. This special session is dedicated to litter and plastics pollution of the aquatic environment covering all related aspects. We invite oral and poster presentations dealing with observations and methods of litter and plastics from macro- to nano- scale; sources and pathways; distribution and transport/accumulation modes; modelling approaches; chemical interactions; impact on biota through ingestion, colonization or entanglement; effects on the natural ecosystem functioning; experimental studies on the optical properties of ocean plastics relevant to earth observation; algorithms for marine litter detection using earth observation platforms; methods and algorithms to infer the potential accumulation areas and the movement of marine litter (e.g. front detection, oceanic current estimates from satellite, altimetry); and multi sensor earth observation approaches (combination of SAR/optical/multi – hyperspectral). Presentations related to scientific initiatives and projects as well as to citizen –science initiatives and mitigation strategies, are also welcome.

Vulnerability of freshwater ecosystems to multiple stressors impacts

Conveners: Dr. Ioannis Karaouzas; Dr. Eleni Kalogianni

Freshwater ecosystems, including streams and rivers, are among the most dynamic, complex and diverse aquatic ecosystems, but also among the most threatened ones. They are vulnerable to natural drought and anthropogenic water stress and the combination of extensive water abstraction, river fragmentation, and climate change has dramatically reduced river runoff. Mediterranean freshwater ecosystems in particular, have a remarkable and a unique native fauna, adapted to natural drought events but are also exposed to point and non-point pollution from industrial and agricultural activities. The combined effects of pollution and water stress may produce cumulative impacts on the biota of freshwater ecosystems as they are subjected to a concomitant habitat shrinkage, water quality deterioration and increased competition for limited resources. In this special session, we invite oral and/or poster presentations dealing with multiple stressor effects and their impacts on freshwater ecosystems and on their biodiversity and functioning.

The big picture matters: Whole ecosystem approach in the field and in experiments

Conveners: Dr. Paraskevi Pitta; Dr. Ioulia Santi; Dr. Anastasia Tsiola; Iordanis Magiopoulos

Aquatic systems are very complex; they contain organisms that vary in terms of taxonomy, size and trophic modes and include viruses, archaea, heterotrophic bacteria and cyanobacteria, flagellated and ciliated protozoa, a wide range of phytoplankton and mixotrophic protists, all exhibiting complex interactions. Although studying single species in lab experiments may provide valuable information on specific characteristics such as dependence on abiotic factors or growth, ingestion rates etc, it is also valuable to study the complexity of natural aquatic systems in terms of multispecies community structure and function in relation to the environment. Such studies may provide information on how aquatic ecosystems respond to natural and/or anthropogenic stressors and may assist to predict the ecosystem response to future scenarios of climate change.

This session welcomes studies from the field or from experiments, studies that comprise several trophic levels of microbial food webs from marine or freshwater, plankton or benthic environments.

Mediterranean Sea (and Fresh Water) Literacy in the Era of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

Conveners: Dr Yolanda Koulouri, Argiro Andriopoulou

The United Nations declared 2021-2030 to be a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, to support and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14, concerning the sustainability of the ocean and its resources (Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources), included in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development which supports other SDGs. The Decade aims to achieve major scientific and technological progress by generating seven societal outcomes including considerable advances and increase of Fresh Water and Ocean Literacy for sustainability in society, from education and school curricula, to decision-makers and the public at large.

Ocean Literacy (OL) has been defined as “an understanding of the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean” (Cava et al., 2005), which means that an ocean-literate citizen should understand essential ocean issues, be able to communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way and can make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. Consequently, OL is not only about knowledge of ocean issues, but it is also about the ability of people to protect, conserve, sustainably use and manage marine resources.

The Mediterranean Sea is characterized as one of the most important global biodiversity hotspots. However, it is also described as being “under siege” due to multiple human pressures on biodiversity, the functioning of marine ecosystems, and their capability for providing essential goods and services to human society. To address these pressures, many actions are needed, aiming, among others, at establishing Ocean Literacy (OL) across the Mediterranean countries and preparing future generations of Mediterranean Sea-literate citizens.

Based on the above, the aim of this special session on Mediterranean Sea and Fresh Water Literacy is to present relevant studies of marine scientists and educators currently taking place in the Mediterranean Sea region as well as keynote presentations concerning OL issues worldwide in the Era of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.