Share

AtlantECO podcast

Stories of the Atlantic Ocean through human adventures and scientific advances


Latest episode

  • 5. 49. Ocean cultures in South Africa

    16:56
    In the latest AtlantECO podcast we are exploring the fascinating realm of ocean cultures with our guest, Leila Nefdt from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.Leila brings a wealth of experience in marine biology and a deep commitment to ocean conservation and public engagement. Her journey from marine ecologist to science communicator offers unique insights into bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and community awareness.In our conversation, Leila shares her passion for nature, particularly the ocean, and her dedication to fostering ocean awareness through initiatives like See the Bigger Picture and her role at MARIS. She highlights the importance of connecting diverse communities with marine science and conservation efforts.We delve into the concept of ocean cultures, a term evolving from ocean literacy to encompass a broader understanding of the ocean's influence on society and vice versa. Leila explains how this shift in terminology reflects the rich tapestry of beliefs, traditions, and interactions that shape people's relationship with the ocean, especially in South Africa.Despite South Africa's coastal abundance, Leila notes the disparities in ocean access and perception among different populations. While some communities rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and spiritual practices, others face barriers like limited swimming skills or geographic distance from the coast.Turning to AtlantECO's contributions, Leila discusses ongoing efforts to enhance ocean literacy and engagement in South Africa. From developing educational resources to assessing marine science curricula, AtlantECO aims to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and local needs.Leila emphasizes the importance of collaboration and cultural sensitivity in promoting ocean stewardship. By fostering dialogue between scientists, educators, and communities, AtlantECO seeks to empower individuals to become advocates for marine conservation.With continued effort and collaboration, we can nurture a deeper connection to the ocean and ensure its protection for generations to come.Stay tuned for more updates on AtlantECO's initiatives and how you can get involved in shaping our ocean future.More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 4. 48. Strengthening biodiversity observation in support of decision making

    31:24
    In this episode of the AtlantECO podcast we delve into the Marco Bolo project with guest Nicolas Pade, the project coordinator. Marco Bolo is a research and innovation initiative funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe program. Nicolas shares his personal connection to the ocean, rooted in childhood experiences and a lifelong passion for marine biology.The discussion highlights the need to enhance biological observation in marine sciences, which often focus on physics and chemistry. Nicolas stresses the importance of integrating biology into observation efforts, aiming to create a robust base for biological data collection. He emphasises the necessity of open data practices and stakeholder engagement to ensure the data collected are relevant and utilised effectively.The Marco Bolo project addresses these challenges through three main components:Data Interoperability: Implementing high standards for data interoperability, making data open and accessible.Data Collection and Application: Developing robust protocols for data collection, applying collected data to inform environmental indicators and essential ocean variables.Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging stakeholders through surveys, community of practice meetings, and collaboration with other projects to ensure alignment with user needs.Nicolas highlights the importance of collaboration and coordination with other projects, acknowledging the complexity of marine observation and the diverse needs of stakeholders. The project aims to bridge the gap between research and decision-making, striving to create a global impact in marine science.Looking ahead, the project anticipates further stakeholder engagement, including community of practice meetings and stakeholder events. They also plan to address challenges such as adapting data to different indicators and expanding their team through recruitment efforts.Overall, the Marco Bolo project represents a concerted effort to advance marine science and foster collaboration within the research community, with the ultimate goal of improving our understanding and management of the oceans.Find out more on MARCO BOLO: https://marcobolo-project.eu/ More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 3. 47. Shallow sea mining

    18:45
    In the latest episode of the AtlantECO podcast, we delve into one of our case studies, which aims to apply the knowledge and resources developed in the project to existing challenges in shallow sea diamond mining. Our guest, Natasha Karenyi, sheds light on the considerations necessary for developing and implementing environmental regulations of coastal areas.Natasha, a marine biologist and lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT), shares her journey toward studying and researching marine biology. With a childhood curiosity sparked by high school biology classes and a love for swimming, Natasha's passion for the ocean led her to specialise in benthic ecology and pursue a PhD at the Nelson Mandela University.In our case study, we focus on two countries, Namibia and South Africa, both of which have keen interests in diamond and phosphate mining, as well as petroleum extraction. However, these countries have different policy frameworks, data limitations, and understandings of their marine systems. Natasha highlights the specific challenges and needs within each country and the importance of addressing them to develop effective environmental regulations.Supporting Policy Making through AtlantECO: to address these challenges, AtlantECO implements various strategies. In Namibia, they collaborate with the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Debmarine Namibia to provide baseline benthic information for informed policy decisions. In South Africa, they work with the Department of Mineral Resources to develop guidelines for environmental management of ocean mining.Through research and collaborative efforts, Natasha and her team have identified several challenges that hinder effective environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and marine spatial planning (MSP) processes. These challenges include the lack of consideration for cumulative and indirect impacts, insufficient inclusion of social and economic aspects, and limited access to information; these aspects were all included in the recommendations made recently. As we progress, we aim to further support the different stakeholders in their endeavour to develop EIA processes, streamline reporting standards across sectors, and enhance the integration of social and economic considerations.More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 2. 46. Mega marine heatwaves in the North Atlantic

    21:49
    In the latest episode of the AtlantECO Podcast, we delve into the critical topic of mega heatwaves in the Atlantic withguest Thomas Frölicher. The conversation covers the causes, consequences, monitoring, and future expectations of theseincreasingly observed phenomena, including the recent heatwave observed in the North Atlantic.Thomas Frölicher, originally from landlocked Switzerland, shares his unique journey into oceanography. Growing up with a curious mind inspired by his father's interest in physics, Thomas eventually found his passion for environmental science. His focus on atmospheric physics led him to explore oceanography during his PhD, where he investigated the variations in oceanic oxygen concentration and its connection to human-caused global warming.We then discuss marine heatwaves, defined as periods of persistently warm ocean temperatures. Thomas explains that these events are becoming more prevalent globally, affecting ecosystems, weather patterns, and land conditions. The North Atlantic, in particular, is experiencing mega heatwaves, with temperatures significantly higher than ever recorded. Thomas discusses potential causes of marine heatwaves, such as enhanced air-sea heat uptake, changing ocean currents, and various other factors. The global ocean currently faces record-high temperatures, with about 30% experiencing a marine heatwave. The North Atlantic stands out with temperatures 0.5 degrees higher than previous records, raising concerns among scientists.To understand these heat waves, scientists rely on high-temporal-resolution datasets from satellites, ARGO floats, buoys, and ocean models. Thomas emphasises the importance of collaboration among researchers with diverse expertise to comprehensively analyse the multitude of factors contributing to the current temperature anomalies. We then touch upon the consequences of mega heat waves on marine life and ecosystems, and Thomas highlights the sensitivity of ecosystems to high temperatures, leading to damages worth billions of dollars in industries such as fisheries and tourism. In AtlantECO project, Thomas and his team aim to assess the impact of a combination of multiple extreme events in the Atlantic, providing valuable data for managing ocean resources and mitigating risks.More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 1. 45. Navigating the Ocean's Wonders with Mayibongwe Buthelezi

    16:34
    A Journey from Nongoma to the Atlantic Ocean: Mayi, currently in the second year of his Ph.D. at the University of Pretoria, takes us through his remarkable journey. Born and raised in the small village town of Nongoma in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Mayibongwe's connection with the ocean began unexpectedly during a school trip in grade 10 or 11. Despite being inland, he pursued microbiology, eventually participating in prestigious cruises, exploring the Atlantic Ocean's marginal ice zone.Microbial Marvels in the Ocean: Mayi's research focuses on marine microbial communities, specifically bacteria and single-cell algae. He delves into the intricate world of microbial ecology, emphasising the importance of understanding microorganisms' role in processes like carbon sequestration and nitrogen cycling. His work, centred around Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), seeks to uncover microbial physiological responses to environmental fluctuations. Mayibongwe explains the significance of studying microorganisms in the ocean, highlighting how these tiny organisms, with their enormous impact, play a crucial role in maintaining Earth's balance by cycling essential gases and nutrients.Sailing the Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT): Mayibongwe shares his experience aboard the RRS Discovery during the latest AMT. The AMT, an annual multidisciplinary program, conducts biological, chemical, and physical oceanographic research between the UK and the South Atlantic. Mayibongwe's role involved collecting seawater samples for his Ph.D., contributing valuable data to the AtlantECO project. Mayibongwe reflects on the unique experience of being the only representative from his region, the joy of encountering penguins in Falklands Island, and the unexpected birthday celebration during the crossing of the line. He expresses gratitude to his supervisor, Prof. Makhalanyane, and the AtlantECO programme for exposing him to these extraordinary opportunities.Future Aspirations: Looking ahead, Mayi acknowledges current collaborators like Prof. Jonathan Todd and his research group at the University of Norwich, emphasising the importance of collaboration in DMSP research. His immediate goals include completing his Ph.D., publishing papers, and continued engagement with the AtlantECO program. Ultimately, Mayibongwe aspires to establish his own research group and collaborate with scientists globally.Stay tuned for the next episode and more engaging conversations with scientists shaping the future of marine research. More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 21. 44. Exploring plankton biodiversity

    22:53
    In this podcast episode, we are starting a new series looking at the Early Stage Researchers in AtlantECO. Our guest in the first episode of this series is Fabio Benedetti,  marine scientist specialising in plankton biodiversity and its role in ecosystem functioning and climate regulation. Fabio, who is based at ETH Zurich, explains that his fascination lies in studying the small creatures in the ocean, particularly plankton. He has been researching plankton diversity for a decade, focusing on understanding their distribution, patterns, and their future trajectory. Fabio's research falls within the field of macroecology and biogeography, where he maps the biodiversity of plankton. By analysing observational data collected over the years using data mining and machine learning tools, he extracts hidden information and maps indicators of plankton diversity in space and time. He emphasises the importance of combining disparate datasets to gain new insights that might have been missed when working with individual datasets.Fabio's work contributes to a better understanding of the biodiversity and ecological dynamics of plankton in the ocean. His research helps uncover valuable information about the distribution and characteristics of these vital organisms, ultimately aiding in the conservation and protection of marine ecosystems.Within AtlantECO, Fabio’s main role is to aggregate and curate plankton observation data from various sources. This data includes information on different plankton species, their diversity, and productivity. By bringing together diverse datasets, the aim is to create a comprehensive understanding of plankton biodiversity in the Atlantic Ocean. The aggregated data is then made available to the scientific community for further research and analysis. In collaboration with colleagues in the project, Fabio also develops statistical pipelines and mapping packages to extract valuable information from the aggregated data. By generating maps of plankton biodiversity and productivity, scientists can identify global patterns and study interactions between different plankton species. These maps serve as a foundation for developing indicators to monitor and predict the response of plankton to future changes in climate variables. With ongoing climate change and rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions, understanding how plankton biodiversity and production will respond to these changes is crucial.In addition to his data aggregation and mapping activities, Fabio also supervises early-stage researchers, explaining his passion for mentoring future ocean scientists and his desire to find a permanent position in academia or a related field where he can continue to support and inspire young researchers. Fabio also offers advice to those starting their careers in marine sciences, so make sure to listen to the full episode to benefit from his wisdom!Get in touch with Fabio: fabio.benedetti@usys.ethz.ch  More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu  Logo by Louise MerquiolMusic by No Pilot The AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 20. 43. Unleashing the Potential of Citizen Science in AtlantECO: Sail for Science and the Plankton Planet Initiative

    17:02
    In the 43rd episode of the AtlantECO podcast, we chat about citizen science and how we use it in AtlantECO with Anna Oddone, from Plankton Planet. Anna tells us about the Sail for Science initiative, delivered through the Plankton Planet project, which aims to engage citizens in collecting data on the ocean microbiome.In the context of AtlantECO, Sail for Science activities are being carried out to contribute to the overall scientific goals. One such activity involves developing and testing instruments to be deployed on sailing boats, for “planktonauts” the citizens participating in the initiative. Three instruments have been developed: the high-speed net, the Lamprey DNA kit, and the PlanktoScope. The high-speed net allows plankton collection during normal cruising speeds of up to eight knots, unlike traditional nets that require the boat to be stationary or moving very slowly. The Lamprey DNA kit filters seawater through a membrane, capturing plankton, which is then dried on the membrane and sent to laboratories for genomic analysis. The PlanktoScope, a semi-automated microscope with a 3D system, enables quantitative imaging of plankton, capturing their morphology. This instrument provides not only information about species presence but also visual insights into their size, colour, and other characteristics. The instruments have undergone testing on board Tara, demonstrating their effectiveness comparable to standard instruments used by scientists. Feedback from experts within the AtlantECO network has further refined the prototypes. The next phase involves deploying these instruments on sailing boats, for which a set of protocols and manuals are prepared. Dozens of "planktonauts" will be trained to use the instruments, collecting data and providing feedback on usability. The main sampling route will be the North Atlantic route, commonly used by sailing boats. Additionally, there will be routes in the southeast of the Atlantic, specifically from Cape Town to Europe and vice versa.  While oceanographic vessels associated with AtlantECO conduct their research, the Sail4Science initiative will implement simplified versions of the AtlantECO protocols. Comparing the results from these lighter deployments with those obtained from standard oceanographic vessels will yield valuable insights. The enthusiasm from sailors and citizens to understand and appreciate the ocean they sail on is evident. People who sail generally have a deep connection with nature and actively seek initiatives that help them explore and comprehend the ocean better. The instruments used in the project enable sailors to observe the hidden aspects of marine life that would otherwise remain unseen, revealing the richness of life beneath the ocean's surface, a world that only becomes visible through the lens of microscopes and reveals the astonishing beauty and diversity of marine ecosystems.More on AtlantECO: www.atlanteco.eu Logo by Louise MerquiolMusic by No PilotThe AtlantECO project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 862923. This output reflects only the author’s view and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.