The health of marine ecosystems is important for realizing their ecosystem services support and economic potential. The session will focus on efforts that seek to observe and promote coastal and marine environmental health along the West African Coast by addressing challenges of climate change, pollution, ocean acidification, eutrophication, and biodiversity loss. We encourage abstracts that highlight projects that use scientific evidence and/or traditional, local, or community knowledge and work closely with communities, resource managers, and/or policymakers in an effort to promote some aspect(s) of marine health. Abstracts should highlight the successes and barriers of any research efforts and opportunities to address the barriers.
The Western Coast of Africa is listed among the world’s most productive marine ecosystems, serving as home to diverse shell and finfish, mammals, and reptiles. The numbers of these living organisms are dwindling with some species reported to have gone extinct. This session will focus on efforts directed at monitoring, restoring, rebuilding, and conserving fishery and non-fishery resources within the Coast of West Africa. We encourage abstracts that highlight projects that use scientific evidence and/or traditional, local, or community knowledge and work closely with communities, resource managers, and/or policymakers in an effort to restore, conserve or manage living marine resources. Abstracts should highlight the successes and barriers of any research efforts and opportunities to address barriers.
In West Africa, the ocean sustains coastal livelihoods, feeds communities, and regulates climate, yet access and capacity to collect critical environmental information to inform decision-making and promote behavioral change is limited. In this discussion, panelists will identify the barriers to conducting research they have encountered, and discuss opportunities where increasing access to tools, technologies, and equipment could greatly enhance our understanding of marine and coastal ecosystems and processes. Part of this discussion will include a conversation on the personal skills needed to access the sea. We welcome submissions from groups that have specific case studies, models or success stories that exemplify access or capacity need or solution that could greatly improve our understanding of marine processes and ecosystems along the coast of West Africa.
Close to 56% of the coastline in the Gulf of Guinea is subject to an average erosion of 1.8 m per year and flooding resulting in loss of critical coastal ecosystems, lives, properties, and livelihoods. While most of the erosion and flooding problems in the region are attributable to indirect climate factors such as sea level rise, direct anthropogenic influences such as sand mining, dam construction, mangrove harvesting, and human encroachment exacerbate risk of life-threatening coastal hazards. This session will focus on efforts that seek to understand the physical and environmental reasons behind flooding and erosion, and the predicted evolution of West African coastlines in the future, as well as identify solutions, including nature-based ones, that seek to build coastal resilience. Abstracts should highlight the successes and barriers of any research efforts and opportunities to address barriers
This session seeks to highlight the need to communicate research findings and outcomes, and develop stories of our ocean to diverse audiences to promote interest in science-based management, inspire the next generation of West African marine scientists, and provoke ocean-healthy behavior change. The session will discuss/debate science communication methods and explore existing barriers and opportunities to these methods. Abstracts should highlight case studies that build science communication or engagement plans for specific audiences or develop or use innovative storytelling methods that inspire action from specific audiences.
This session will focus on Indigenous and community leadership or engagement in marine environmental knowledge, protection, biodiversity conservation, restoration, and management efforts. This includes but is not limited to citizen science initiatives and other community-based efforts. Abstracts should identify specific projects that are led by or deeply engage communities in marine or coastal research, conservation, or management, and that highlight the successes and barriers of research efforts and opportunities to address barriers.
Special Virtual Session, Participation in this session will be by invitation only. Please DO NOT submit an abstract to this session. The session will focus on discussions that portray the bigger picture, planning the way forward, action points for working groups on outcomes on each of six (6) thematic sessions, and network development.
We strongly encourage and will prioritize abstracts submitted by applicants based in and/or from West Africa.
Support towards travel and accommodation may be provided to some in-region applicants who are invited to speak at the West Africa Marine Science Symposium. However, we encourage applicants who can cover their travel costs to do so.