AMSA2006 : Cairns, Queensland 9 - 13 July, 2006
The Australian Marine Sciences Association and the Society of Wetland Scientists held a joint annual meeting in the tropical city of Cairns at the Cairns Convention Centre in July 2006 with the theme "Catchments to Coast".
Catchments to Coast was an international conference, the major focus of which was the vital role and value of wetlands within the terrestrial and marine environments. Importantly, the joint conference provided an international platform for showcasing the need for, and benefits of, a multidisciplinary approach to the complex issues associated with the land-sea interface.
The conference was supplemented by a range of more specific wetland and marine science topics of current interest, including estuaries, aquaculture, migratory species, hydrological/geological processes, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology, ecosystem-based management and protected areas.
This joint conference brought together the annual meetings of these two major scientific societies and allowed the development of international linkages around the connection between catchments and coasts.
1. The Australian Marine Science Association is the major national professional association for marine scientists from all related disciplines.
2. The Society of Wetland Scientists is the largest professional body of wetland scientists and managers in the world, with more than 4000 members.
The conference was held in the Cairns Convention Centre between 9 and 14 July. There were a number of plenary sessions on each day followed by more focussed sessions. There were up to 8 concurrent sessions. The Cairns Convention Centre was an excellent venue and allowed easy crossover between sessions.
There were over 220 talks and 38 posters presented by delegates from the Society of Wetland Scientists and more than 180 talks and 25 posters from delegates from the Australian Marine Sciences Association.
The content of the conference was highly regarded by all delegates. The standard of papers was considered by many delegates to be higher than normal for both conferences which were not only a tribute to the conference attendees but also to the effort put in by the Chairs of the Scientific Program Committees, Prof Colin Field and Prof Jack Greenwood.
There were approximately 590 registered delegates at the conference.
- 260 delegates at AMSA
- 330 delegates at SWS
Delegates attended from 27 countries. Australian delegates made up more than 50 percent of attendees and delegates from the USA about 25 percent. Countries represented were:
American Samoa France Nepal Samoa
Argentina Germany Netherlands South Africa
Australia Hong Kong New Zealand Sri Lanka
Belgium India Pakistan Switzerland
Canada Japan Philippines Thailand
China Kenya Poland United Kingdom
Czech Republic Mexico Romania USA
The conference covered a wide range of science, policy, management and education topics. It brought together practitioners from many disciplines and as well as providing opportunities for detailed scientific discussion, also provided opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion and networking.
Focussed sessions at the conference included:
- Catchments and corals - land-sea interactions in the tropics
- Catchments to Coasts - linking management and science
- Coastal geomorphology and geology
- Coastal oceanography
- Fish, fisheries and aquaculture
- General / Other Marine Research
- Marine communication and education
- Marine chemistry
- Threats to coastal environments
- Tropical and temperate marine ecology
- Water quality in Australian catchments
- Management of ecosystem response to sea level rise through ecological forecasts
- The effect of climate and sea level changes on coastal wetlands
- Where temperate meets tropical: habitat stability and functional response of coastal wetlands to nutrient enrichment
- Innovative approaches for assessing nekton nursery value of estuarine and coastal wetlands
- Mangrove Response to Sea-level and Climate Change
- Understanding and mitigating the impacts of tidal floodgates on wetland ecosystems in New South Wales, Australia
- Constructed Treatment Wetlands
- Global Gradients in wetland function and distribution
- Managing wetlands in the Great Barrier Reef catchment
- Impacts of wastewater discharges on freshwater and marine wetlands
- Using rapid indicators to document the ecological integrity of wetlands
- International Perspectives on the dynamics of forested floodplain ecosystems
- Implementing the RAMSAR Convention: priorities and challenges
The most significant achievement of the conference was to bring together scientists and managers from a variety of disciplines who do not generally meet at the same forums. This enables exchange of intellectual property and importantly recognition of the relationship of the various disciplines. This integration and recognition of the importance of taking a whole of catchment approach to understanding and to managing wetlands, coastal and marine environments was a message that the conference organisers wanted to give to the community and to broader stakeholders.
The conference attracted significant interest from television, radio and print media and provided an opportunity to present a strong message of taking a whole of catchment approach to understanding and managing waterways and wetlands.
It was one of the largest coastal focussed conferences ever held in Australia and provided many scientists and students the opportunity to attend an international conference.
Feedback from participants
The success of the conference is best assessed by the reaction of delegates. Many have provided feedback about the exceptionally high quality of talks presented at the conference, about the excellent facilities, the professionalism of the audio visual component, and the well catered opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Many participants from SWS and from AMSA have assessed the conference as being one of the best ever.
One of the major successes of the conference was the high level of support and sponsorship obtained. This enabled us to keep the costs per delegate to a minimum and helped to make the conference affordable to students.