WAMS Press Release
It is estimated that nearly a thousand coastal laboratories and institutes are located around the world’s oceans. These laboratories have accumulated knowledge and data for decades but until the present initiative their joint potential has been far too little exploited. Mainly dedicated to marine life, the marine stations, should be encouraged to play an important role as distributed observatories and infrastructures, for pursuing their pioneering work in fundamental biology and for assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity and marine ecosystem functioning. In addition they can be central to the collection of data, crucial to the exploratory efforts and in depth advanced studies of coastal and deep water environments including: genomics, systematics, basic biology ecology and evolutionary biology from genes to ecosystems, stressed and extreme environments, biotechnology, biogeochemistry, etc. Existing and planned in situ coastal and deep observatories could be connected directly to these coastal marine stations. These laboratories are also of interest as land-based infrastructures for climatologists, physicists, geochemists and specialists in fisheries, aquaculture, biotechnology and biomedicine. Furthermore, the marine research laboratories are a rich resource of experienced scientists and offer unique coverage of many of the World’s most important and often
vulnerable marine ecosystems and resources and linked together provide a strong comparative resource to assess the dynamics of marine systems on a global scale.
In accordance with measures adopted at the 25th session of the Assembly of UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission IOC (16-25 June 2009), a meeting of a planning group was held at IOC, Paris, April 13th – 14th 2010, to discuss the creation of a “World Association of Marine Stations” (WAMS). This group agreed unanimously that WAMS was urgently needed and on April 14th 2010 WAMS was established.
The World Association of Marine Stations, WAMS, will collaborate closely with POGO and MAB. WAMS can also offer crucial support to global scientific programmes and organizations such as IGBP; WCRP; IPCC, GOOS, LME; DIVERSITAS, IABO and GEO/GEOSS. This cooperation could be implemented quickly and at reasonable cost, insofar as human resources and logistics of marine stations and their parent universities and/or inland research institutes can assist (or perhaps even support), at least partially, specific operations for example carried out under OBIS. This first phase in the development of WAMS will be developed by a Steering group that comprises representatives from the main world networks of marine stations together with representatives from IOC and MAB.
WAMS Steering Group:
- The European Marine Network of Marine Institutes and Stations, MARS
- The National Association of Marine Laboratories NAML, USA
- The Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean (AMLC and CARICOMP)
- The Japanese Association for Marine Biology (JAMBIO), Japan
- The Pacific Institutes of Marine Science
- Tropical Marine Network (Australia)
- GOOS – Africa (representing African Marine Laboratories)
- IOC (Inc S. American links)
- MAB Programme of UNESCO
More about WAMS is available on the MARS website.