AMSA2013 Golden Jubilee
AMSA2013 - Gold Coast, Queensland: 7-11 July 2013
AMSA2013 Golden Jubilee Conference was held at Jupiters on the Gold Coast, Queensland from 7-11 July 2013. The conference theme was Shaping the Future. At this Jubilee conference, our goals were to highlight achievements in marine sciences in Australia, demonstrate the current state of knowledge, reflect on global perspectives, evaluate long-term data series, look at lessons from historical ecology, and explore how well we are equipped with knowledge, human and technical capabilities to address future research needs.
AMSA2013 Technical Awardee - Mr Andrew Boomer, Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Sydney NSW
The Gold Coast was the perfect location to celebrate this year's Golden Jubilee conference. 430 delegates met at Jupiters Casino to experience four days of outstanding science and a fun social schedule. We had a packed scientific program with 21 symposia, 300 talks and more than 50 posters. Professor Carlos Duarte's opening keynote address about how the oceans may provide solutions to many of society's challenges set delegates thinking about how their own work could contribute to 'Shaping the Future' of marine science. Professor Maria Byrne, Professor John Pandolfi and Dr Beth Fulton followed up with three more excellent keynote addresses that urged us to examine the effects of multiple climate stressors on marine organisms, to learn from historical data and to consider how we can better integrate management of marine resources.
Our 50th conference was the perfect milestone for us to consider how we could shape the future of AMSA conferences. We thus decided to embrace new technology and introduced a conference 'app'. More than half of the delegates elected to use the app instead of the conference handbook, which saved approximately 25,000 sheets of paper! The app offered many advantages over the traditional handbook. Its search function enabled delegates to easily find talks and posters of interest and to plan their daily schedules; it provided a more interactive platform for our sponsors to showcase their expertise, and also enabled individual delegates to upload their personal details and links to their websites. The functionality of apps will continue to improve and integrating apps with social media platforms is revolutionising the way scientists communicate at conferences. AMSA is now well placed to remain at the forefront of this revolution! This year we also introduced the generic conference bag which we hope delegates will re-use at future conferences (although mine is proving to be a very useful grocery bag!). Hopefully the Jubilee Conference has been the start of AMSA conferences transitioning to new technologies and reducing their environmental footprints.
A highlight of AMSA conferences is the opportunity to celebrate the success of our members. This year's recipient of the Silver Jubilee award was Professor Ian Potter, who was recognised for his lifelong work on fish and his pioneering research on lampreys. Andrew Boomer was the very worthy recipient of the AMSA Technical Award, which he received in recognition of his efforts in managing, developing and promoting IMOS' Australian Animal Tracking and Monitoring System.
The conference could not have succeeded without the overwhelming support of our sponsors. We thank our silver sponsors, the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University and Geosciences Australia. BMT Group and DHI provided bronze sponsorship and CSIRO, AIMS, NERP Biodiversity Hub, and Healthy Waterways sponsored the social functions and our international keynote speaker. Our sponsors enabled us to make the Golden Jubilee a very vibrant conference and, importantly, to bring it in on budget! We are very grateful for their support.
The secret of running a successful AMSA conference is to have a great team of people on the Organising and Scientific committees. I would like thank the Organising Committee members Tim Stevens, Andrew Olds, Megan Saunders, Paul Maxwell, Simon Walker, Jason van de Merwe and Claire Davies. Not only did everyone work extremely hard, but they were a fun team to work with! Rod Connolly, Chair of the Scientific Committee is to be congratulated for putting together an outstanding scientific program and Rod was well supported by Scientific Committee members Iain Suthers, Gary Kendrick, Maria Byrne, Bronwyn Gillanders, Joe Lee and David Rissik. I would also like to thank Narelle Hall from Real Events for going beyond the normal efforts of a professional conference organiser.
Finally, a highlight for me was to have foundation members Joe Baker, Jack Greenwood and John Lucas join us at the Jubilee Conference (as usual, Joe was the first delegate to register for the conference!). Joe, Jack and John have seen enormous changes happen over their 50 year membership of AMSA and it wonderful for us to benefit from their experience and to enjoy their company and continued enthusiasm for marine science.
Next year, for the first time, we will head to Canberra where we eagerly anticipate 'Investigating our Marine Nation'. We wish Gina Newton and her team well in preparation for AMSA2014!
Chair, Organising Committee