2004 Hobart

As Australia’s peak professional body for marine scientists from all disciplines and for over 60 years has promoted all aspects of marine science in Australia. AMSA operates with a membership network of individuals and corporate affiliates as a not-for-profit organisation.

AMSA2004 Hobart

AMSA2004 – Hobart 6-9 July 2004


Held at the Grand Chancellor Hotel, Hobart from 6-9 July 2004, over 240 papers and posters were presented in concurrent sessions over three full days, with more than 330 registrants from overseas and all around Australia.


General Program, Sponsor Information & Keynote Abstracts (pdf, 2.5mg)
List of Posters (pdf, 66kb)
Abstracts (pdf, 1.32mb)

AMSA 2004 Annual Conference Report


The Australian Marine Sciences Association Annual Conference was held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart from 6 to 9th July 2004. The conference brought together a dynamic mix of marine science and technology, with presentations incorporating aspects of marine science in Australia and elsewhere. The general and specialised sessions of AMSA2004 featured current research and exciting advances in areas of aquaculture and fisheries, marine ecology, oceanography, larval biology and marine mammals.


Hobart is the national centre of Antarctic and Southern Ocean research, so one of our major themes was the marine science of these southern latitudes. Tasmania’s literal connection with Antarctica pre-dates historical records and Hobart has hosted the majority of Heroic-Age explorers, like Mawson and Amundsen. July was mid-winter in Hobart, and we sure felt that distinctive Antarctic atmosphere. 


We had a specialised memorial symposium to honour the life of Peter Holloway. Peter was a physical oceanographer, prominent in AMSA, whose research focus was internal waves, particularly on Australia’s Northwest Shelf. The symposium was an opportunity for colleagues to dedicate papers to his memory.


A marine education session at the Conference helped advance collaborations between the scientific and education communities. Marine environmental education and interpretation programs have enabled school students and community groups, working with scientists, to monitor coastal environments. In this way, local communities can take responsibility for, and help address their own environmental concerns.


As part of AMSA2004, Dr Graham Robertson, presented a public lecture on The development of fishing gear and their effects in reducing seabird mortality in longline fisheries. Graham’s passion for these magnificent birds has led to practical fishing techniques that dramatically reduce accidental bird deaths. 


A large contingent of Western Australian biological and physical oceanographers came to tell us about eddies of all descriptions including cyclonic eddies, anticyclonic eddies, desert eddies and oasis eddies. This exciting research described desert eddies as death traps while oasis eddies act as nurseries for finfish and rock lobsters.


The Australian and International Acoustic Telemetry Workshop brought together researchers from many scientific backgrounds. A workshop dealing with Introduced Marine Species focused on the translation of research into management, defining problems and proposing solutions.


French marine exploration in Tasmania predates even the heroic Antarctic exploration. Now, research institutes in Hobart play a major role in French-Australian collaboration across fields of geoscience, climate and fisheries. The Science and Technology section of the French Embassy held a workshop at the conference to showcase some of these collaborations. The workshop helped identify priorities for future collaborative marine science between France and Australia. 


The keynote speakers at AMSA2004 were a wonderful mix of our finest national and internal players in marine science. Plenary speakers from Germany, Canada, US, France, mainland Australia and Tasmania presented topics spanning fields of marine science as diverse and distinct as their homelands. Our keynotes were Robert Bidigare, Maria Byrne, Christophe Guinet, Craig Johnson, Gunter Krause, Ron O?Dor and Mark Merrifield.


And for our conference field trip we experienced a Catamaran Cruise down the Derwent River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the wildest, wettest, windiest day of the year whilst eating blueberry muffins.


The sponsorship for AMSA2004 was overwhelming. Sponsors range over local, state and federal government agencies, industry and universities. Tasmanian scientific institutes have been very generous and it is great to have small local industries providing support in the form of accommodation, wine and cheese. We are very pleased to receive such enthusiasm and encouragement for marine science from both the public and private sectors. Our sponsors included ACE CRC, CSIRO Marine Research, AIMS, FEAST-France, DAFF, DEST, NHT, NOO, AAD, DPIWE, P&O Polar, Antarctic Tasmania, Census of Marine Life, SeaWorld, VEMCO, MetOcean Engineers, Woodside Energy, ADFA, Lotek, UWA, Flinders Uni, University of Tasmania, IASOS, Lactos, BOAGS, HCC, Woolstore. 


And lastly the success of this conference was largely due to the organizing committee, a wonderful mix of talents and personalities including Corey Bradshaw, Peter Craig, Narelle Hall, Edwina Hollander, Craig Mundy, Kerrie Swadling and Paul Thomson. The organisation and commitment of the student team was overwhelming, I had no idea of how efficient and well orchestrated a group of people could be. The student team led by Iain Field included Bruce Deagle, James Dell, Luke Finley, Michael Grose, Fay Helidoniotis, Nick Holmes, Matt Lansdell, Fred Olivier, Heidi Pethybridge, Tamara van Polanen-Petel, Anthony Reid, Michael Sumner and Jacob Virtue.


Patti Virtue, Chair, AMSA2004


AMSA2004 a diary from the floor

Day 1

What a good start – Senator Bob Brown talking about his view of the marine world and what it needs. We may not all agree with his politics but who could not agree with his call for more research funding? And who could also not feel gladdened that a federal Senator took the time to learn the names of a number of Tassie?s more famous marine organisms so he could give us a slide show!


It’s cold. It’s really cold outside. Lucky the conference venue is well heated and cosy. I look at the temperature gauge on the Mercury building each time I go past and I haven?t seen it higher than 5C yet!


So many other great plenary speakers and talks today. I learnt about FADs and FADIOs and HULAs. I learnt about oil in Antarctica and tracking grey nurse sharks, among other things.


The night time saw the Student Night at UTAS but someone whose shall not be named (Past Pres John Sherwood) had called an AMSA National Council Meeting for that night. Needless to say there were 3 councillors with invites to the student night who did comment that Council was interesting but free beer at UTAS would win hands down every time. Unfortunately, the meeting was not adjourned so we could test this theory?


Day 2

More great plenaries. Mercury building tells me its 2C when I arrive!! I think the ABC got it wrong last night when they predicted 11C for today?
The day was workshops workshop workshops. After the AGM and some spirited discussion of AMSAs role in Regional Marine Planning, it was off to the workshop for the Introduced Marine Pest R&D Plan. It was an interesting and productive workshop. Quiet evening.


Day 3

Silver Jubilee Award to a very worthy recipient followed by a great talk, all followed by more good plenaries. For me today was marine policy, science and pests day. Today really was a day of juggling which session to attend and it was hard. They were all so good. Evening was the poster session with wine and cheese.

Mercury building still not showing anything above 5C. I’ve now taken to randomly stratifying my sampling across time and day and I am still yet to see a temp even vaguely near double figures? If I wasn’t so cold I’d be worried about my sampling design.


Day 4

Once again a great start to the day with 2 more plenaries including Joe Valentine’s talk as winner of the Tassie Young Scientist Award for 2004. And yet another day of talk juggling. I reckon not many conferences can hold up over 4 days but AMSA 2004 was quality to the end and it was hard to pick which talk to see. Mercury building hits 6C! First time this week.


Craig Johnson, Regina Magiewski at the Conference Dinner
Quiet evening ? oh? no wait? conference dinner! After being concerned that warm up band had a banjo in it, loved every bit. Good dinner, great company. So many student prizes now that I wonder if we need concurrent prize-giving sessions!


Patti Virtue, chair of organising committee, with Jake Virtue – a technical master of AV presentations
Official band was interesting. Whereas most of us wanted some 80s rubbish, 70s disco and 90s memories, we had a different experience. They got people up and I saw some rather strange versions of heads being banged at one point. Then off to dance post-conference. People ask ?so what really happened after the conference dinner?? Well, it is always slightly better not to ask. After a few beers on a pier somewhere (in a bar), it was off to Hobart’s premier nightspot ? Hoozies, Spotties, Zuzus? whatever, somethinglikethat ? I don’t recall the name but they did a fine line in 80s rubbish and good solid techno. As for turnout there were two AMSAs there that night and I’m pleased to say that I reckon our one had just as much a presence as the Aust Medical Students Association, who was also in town. Mercury building temp matches the time ? 3. Groan.


Saturday after Conference
Hmmm? quiet day?
Still cold.
Great week in Hobart.

Anth Boxshall (AMSA Councillor & AMSA2004 registrant)