Creating opportunities through science symposia
Gibbons, Mark J.
Florence, Wayne K.
MetadataShow full item record
For most marine scientists, unless we work in the field of fisheries development or at the interface of science and policy, it is rare to feel that we are making an impact on the lives of people in the wider community. Most research scientists at universities and government laboratories also have limited opportunity to engage with schools and the general public outside of once-a-year open days. But beyond the science and networking, conferences, especially international conferences, can provide a myriad of opportunities for us to redress both these issues in a way that enriches all. Here, we describe the programme of development-related activities that supported the 6th International Jellyfish Blooms Symposium, and their impact, and we urge it be used as a template for other scientific meetings in the future. Jellyfish are far more than merely an interesting find on the beach. On the one hand, when abundant, jellyfish can cause economic harm to the tourism, aquaculture, fisheries and energy sectors1, but on the other hand, they provide food for other animals, e.g. turtles, shelter for juvenile fish and a potential resource to exploit2. In recognition of their role in marine ecosystems, the international jellyfish community updates and renews itself at a conference every 3 years or so. The first meeting was held in the USA in January 2000 and after conferences in Australia, Argentina, Japan and Spain, Africa’s turn came in 2019, after Monty Graham (University of Southern Mississippi) convinced one of us (M.J.G.) to host the conference at the University of the Western Cape.