Welcome to IMBeR’s newsletter. This special edition of our newsletter provides updates on the scientific highlights, project developments, and events of the IMBeR Endorsed Projects from July 2022 to April 2023.
Call for new endorsed projects in 2023
We are pleased to announce that several applications for new endorsed projects are currently being reviewed, and we will soon reveal the selected projects. If you are interested in submitting an application, please take note that the deadline for the second round of applications this year is September 30, 2023. We strongly encourage all interested parties to submit their applications before the deadline.
List of current endorsed projects 
Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT)
Project introduction:
The Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) undertakes multidisciplinary oceanographic research during an annual voyage between the UK and the South Atlantic. AMT’s 29 research cruises have hosted 289 sea-going scientists (from 77 research institutes representing 29 countries), produced over 350 refereed papers and contributed to 75 PhD studies. It serves as an ideal platform for national and international scientific collaboration, a training arena for the next generation of oceanographers and an ideal facility for validation of novel technology. Since 2012, there have been more than 239,000 downloads of AMT data from the British Oceanographic Data Center (BODC) by users in 34 countries.
Timetable for activities: 1995 - present

Contact:​Andy Rees, Plymouth Marine Laboratory


  • 60+ peer reviewed publications including Research Topic in Frontiers in Marine Science.

  • >180,000 data downloads.

  • 3 research cruises which involved 55 Scientists from 23 institutions in 16 countries including 3 POGO fellowships for developing nations (India, Venezuela, Mexico).

Collaborative Research and Education Project in Southeast Asia for Sustainable Use of Marine Ecosystems (CREPSUM)
Project introduction:
The CREPSUM project is an initiative funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) under its Core-to-Core Program from April 2020 to March 2024. The project team was developed based on a long-term collaboration of member countries, and more than 200 scientists join the CREPSUM from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Goals of CREPSUM are: 1) To Establish an international science and educational network for the Southeast Asia marine ecosystem; 2) To Progress marine ecosystem studies on emergent issues for conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystem services in Southeast Asia; 3) To Contribute to UN Decade of Ocean Sciences and UN SDG 14 “Life below water” by preparing the best scientific knowledge.

Timetable for activities: April 2020 - March 2024

Contact​Hiroaki Saitothe Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo​

Ongoing activities, in line with the IMBeR Grand and Innovation Challenges

Grand Challenge I the state and variability of marine ecosystems
  • Status and anthropogenic influence of biological diversity in the Southeast Asia (SEA).
  • Impacts of multiple stressors on SEA marine ecosystems.

Grand Challenge II - future ocean-human systems at multiple scales
  • A Global Survey Project on “the Ocean We Want” for International Collaboration of Ocean Science based on the Value-Belief-Norm framework - planning in Indonesia and SEA countries.

Innovation Challenge 4 - social science data for ocean management, decision making and policy development
  • Indonesian policy and researches toward 70% reduction of marine plastic pollution by 2025. Arifin, Falahudin, Saito et al.

Innovation Challenge 5 - Interventions to change the course of climate impacts
  • Coral biodiversity and restoration in SEA, including coral cultivation and transplantation, zooxanthella and microbial association. 
Gulf of Trieste – Time-series (GoTTs)
Project introduction:
GoTTs is designed for long-term monitoring of ecological and oceanographic processes in the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea at the border of Area Marina Protetta di Miramare. The coastal marine observatory site Gulf of Trieste lies within the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Miramare and includes the biological time-series station and the in situ continuous MAMBO meteo-oceanographic buoy. The studies on a local scale regard coastal and transition waters and address problems related to their sustainable management.

Timetable for activities: 1970 - present

Contact​Bruno Cataletto, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale - OGS

  • Researchers used 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to characterize the dynamics of blooming, ecologically important, and potentially pathogenic species in different sites of the northern Adriatic Sea, finding that Vibrionaceae family members are diverse and can exploit a variety of nutritional sources while also posing a threat to human and animal health. (Banchi et al., 2022).

  • A bloom of scyphomedusa Rhizostoma pulmo in the Gulf of Trieste was analyzed from a multiplatform approach, with results indicating that the high density was enabled by warm sea conditions and strong wind events that brought the jellyfish to the surface and clustered them along the coast. (Suárez Reyes et al., 2022).

  • Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) pose an ecotoxicological risk, potentially disrupting ecosystem structure and functioning. A mesocosm experiment in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea explored the interaction between AgNPs and microgels like transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) and Coomassie stainable particles (CSP), which serve as nutrient hotspots for bacteria. While the effects of silver on microgels were generally minimal, both AgNPs and silver ions (Ag+) influenced the relationship between enzymatic activity and microgel properties, revealing insufficient understanding of the impact of silver pollution on microgel dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. (Scheidemann et al., 2022).

  • The impact of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and free ions (Ag+) on nitrogen fixation activity in oligotrophic coastal ecosystems was investigated. The study found that mean nitrogen fixation rates were higher in treated waters, with changes paralleled by higher concentrations of phosphate and silicate, suggesting an inhibition of the uptake of these nutrients by non-diazotrophic groups. The study also detected potential diazotrophs and found that phosphorus limitation of diazotrophic activity was lowered relative to other microbial groups in silver amended treatments. (Rees et al., 2022).

  • The impact of a wastewater treatment plant on the soft-bottom macrofaunal community was investigated, revealing a gradual improvement in species richness, functional entities, and community stability after treatment enhancement, as well as a decrease in organic carbon in the water column. (Nasi et al., 2023).

Marine Ecosystem-based Management Progress Evaluation Group: tracking the global progress of EBM (MEBM-PEG)

Project introduction:
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is now clearly recognized as the international best practice to manage multiple ocean uses, mitigate multiple ocean stressors, achieve reasonable outcomes across multiple- often conflicting- objectives, obtain suitable ecosystem goods and services, and ultimately support a blue economy. This translates into developing shared visions for global oceans that are healthy, resilient, safe, productive, understood and valued so as to promote the well-being, prosperity and security of the present and future generations. 
MEBM-PEG is an international group of EBM experts that systematically tracks progress towards EBM, communicates its benefits, and identifies where remaining impediments to implementing EBM persist, with suggested solutions for achieving further implementation of EBM.

Timetable for activities: September 2022 - March 2026

Contact:Mark Dickey-Collas, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and Danish Technical University National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU-AQUA), Copenhagen, Denmark

MEBM-PEG online workshop on the global progress of EBM implementation, 11-14 October 2022
34 invited experts working in different countries and various ocean-use sectors participated in the four-day workshop. They were invited with the objective to be representative of disciplines, global distribution and gender.
Before the workshop, the participants and other experts in the field completed a pre-workshop poll developed by the MEBM-PEG. The preliminary poll results were used to guide the discussions during the workshop.
It came to the following conclusions that feed into Grand Challenge III, but also partially Grand Challenge I
  1. There is ongoing global progress on marine ecosystem-based management (EBM), more than we give ourselves credit for.
  2. EBM includes multiple sectors, but there remain a few ocean-use sectors that are still not engaging in EBM.
  3. There is general agreement on EBM (i.e., with respect to paradigms and terminology), and due to trade-offs and climate change, there is further agreement on the urgency of EBM.
  4. There are several identifiable and achievable ways in which we can advance global EBM implementation.
  5. There is a cost to not doing EBM.
  6. EBM success is not binary but is a process that occurs in varying degrees and levels.
  7. A forum such as this workshop was mutually and widely beneficial for capacity building and sharing of best practices.
  8. We always think there are challenges to EBM, but we have found solutions for most of them.
Negotiating Ocean Conflicts among Rivals for Sustainable and Equitable Solutions (NoCRISES)
Project introduction:
The NoCRISES project examines the origins, drivers, and options for ocean conflict mitigation. In particular, we aim to get an interdisciplinary understanding of the links between the ocean and human interactions – through understanding the various types of ocean conflicts, the role of historical legacies in their origin, and the shifting power relations between various marine stakeholders involved in marine resource exploitation can provide valuable information for the design of more inclusive and just marine resource management policies. To enable globally linked learning, we jointly develop a comprehensive methodological approach that is used in six different case studies. In this way, we also create a solid basis for cross-case analyses – and useful tools for future use.

Timetable for activities: April 2020 - present

Contact: Ingrid van Putten, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
and Centre for Marine Socioecology, Hobart, Australia​

  • Members of NoCRISES attended and presented at the 5th CSD Conference on Sustainable Development 2022, which was held in Bangladesh from 11th to 16th October. Ingrid van Putten gave a keynote address at the conference.

  • A course run by NOCRISES team members, on ocean and coastal conflicts, their origins, trajectories, and potential solutions, delivered to students from Bangladesh and Germany in February 2022, was also delivered to PhD students from Germany and Brazil in December 2022.

  • In Bangladesh a creative project was undertaken with women in disadvantaged communities who made artwork using sewing skills, and an exhibition was held (that three of the women were funded to attend).

  • An art project in Brazil where an animation course was given to students to help them narrate their views on the marine environment. The course was a tremendous success. It has since been repeated on several occasions on request.

  • Currently, the arts component of NoCRISES in Fiji is in the planning stage and is expected to be completed this year.

Importance of Physico-Chemical cycling of nutrients and carbon in Marine Transitional Zones (NUTS&BOLTS)
Project introduction:
NUTS&BOLTS is a 5-year project funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Marine Institute. NUTS&BOLTS addresses knowledge gaps with regard to the impact of multiple environmental stressors on the cycling of nutrients and carbon in Ireland’s marine transitional zones (MTZs). Our overall goal is to improve our understanding, both qualitatively and quantitatively, of the physical and chemical processes, and their fluxes, that impact biological activity in Irish coastal marine and transitional waters. Our overall approach has a number of novel applications to Irish waters, most notably through the use of Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry (MIMS) to assess O2/Ar ratios for productivity and climate relevant gases, assessing pico and nanoplankton abundance by flow cytometry, estimating the supply of trace elements via riverine fluxes and evaluation of nutrient controls on primary productivity through the use of bioassays. The data linked to this project will be submitted to the EPA geoportal and the Marine Institute of Ireland data portal.

Timetable for activities: 2019 - 2024

Contact:Peter Croot, Earth and Ocean Sciences School of Natural Sciences and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway)​
Analysis of nutrient and CDOM/FDOM samples from Lough Furnace, an ecologically important tidal lagoon with low oxygen in the deep waters, indicates that the community of green photosynthetic bacteria detected there previously inhabit a saline environment enriched in phosphate and silicate. Nitrogen speciation in the deep waters is dominated by ammonia. The overlying fresh waters are humic rich and while there is considerable organic carbon in the seawater zone it is clearer than the overlying freshwater.

Continued field sampling in Kinvarra Bay (Galway Bay) was carried out during the reporting period. A further large bloom of dinoflagellates was also found in July 2022 (similar to that seen in Sept. 2021).  We were able to isolate cultures of some of the phytoplankton found in the bloom, including what appears to be a phycocyanin containing Synechococcus sp, which we had not previously detected due to its low chlorophyll content.

Two public lectures on the data/policy/governance interface for marine systems:
  • “Marine data to inform policy” 12th Annual Marine Economics and Policy Research Symposium, Marine Institute, Galway, Ireland (6 Dec. 2022).
  • “Science communication in the framework of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development” iCRAG2022, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland (1 Dec. 2022).

NUTS&BOLTS activities in 7 local schools in Q4 2022, facilitated by scientific educator, Benny Joyce, and this will continue in Q1 2023. The scope and range of activities for schools is continually being assessed and evaluated and will be included into the final report to the EPA.
Contact Us
IMBeR International Project Office - China

State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University
500 Dongchuan Rd., Shanghai 200241, China

Tel: 86 021 5483 6463

Fang ZUO, Kai QIN

Assistant Editor
Jing WEN
Intern, IMBeR IPO-China
All photographs are © Copyright according Project.