News about Memfis • 5 October 2023
Multidisciplinary monitoring and observational data are imperative
Meet Louise Newman and Juha Flinkman, who are two of three, who represents research vessels at the MEMFIS conference, along with Lasse Thorell. Louise moved from Tasmania to become the new superintendent on R/V Skagerak and Juha, employed by the Finnish Environment Institute is heading up management and development of R/Vs Aranda and Muikku.
What does the ocean mean to you?
Louise: In Australia, the ocean is a core part of our culture, so for me as an Australian it has always been a central part of my life; fishing, diving, surfing. From a much bigger perspective, the ocean amazes me. The scale of it, its fundamental role in our Earth system, and how it connects all of humanity, is something that inspires awe and respect.
Juha: World Ocean, and the Baltic Sea as a tiny little backwater of it, is the single most important feature of this planet. Life creator, climate stabilator, food source, everything. Yet us humans don’t seem to fully grasp this. What happens in the sea is mostly hidden from the eyes of general public. Marine scientists have a better understanding, but our warnings are still mostly ignored.
What human-caused effects or changes have you seen in the ocean over the years?
Louise: I have had the privilege to work across many different scientific disciplines and have therefore seen scientific documentation of many human-caused impacts globally. Personally, the changes I have noticed myself include memories of diving in Tasmanian kelp forests that no longer exist due to introduced species and warming waters; going camping on the Tasmanian coast with just snorkeling gear to get food from areas you could not find these species today due to local overfishing.
Juha: My career as a marine scientist span over 4 decades. Eutrofication is the biggest tangible problem in The Baltic Sea. Together with climate change it has induced effects on salinity, temperature and water exchange – having detrimental effects on everything in the Baltic Sea. And all this is human-induced.
The MEMFIS conference is about marine environmental monitoring – why/how/what is that important from your point of view?
Louise: Sustained, integrated and multidisciplinary monitoring and observational data is imperative if we are to understand how the ocean, and consequently society, is affected by climate change. Without long-term, standardized observational data we are unable to clearly identify long-term trends in the ocean and Earth system. Observational data is also essential for weather forecasting and hazard warning systems (from tsunamis to Harmful Algal Blooms). Although in many cases observational data is collected and used differently to research data, the former is also important to provide context to the latter. In my previous role running the Southern Ocean Observing System, it was a constant effort to advocate for resources and international collaboration in monitoring the Southern Ocean.
Juha: Through most of my career as a marine scientist, researcher and lately research vessel manager/operator, I have worked in developing the monitoring of the marine environment status. The sound basis of adequate marine environment monitoring is scientific research into the marine ecosystem and its functions. These two components – research and monitoring, can and must be combined if we want to create a monitoring system that really is capable of detecting changes. Thus providing correct data for solutions.
How does you/your work contribute to more effective environmental monitoring in the sea? What will you talk about at the conference?
Louise: In my current position as Manager of the University of Gothenburg’s Skagerak Facility, my team and I work to ensure that we can provide advanced scientific equipment and expertise to support research and monitoring. Whilst most of our vessel and equipment users are researchers, we are available for all potential users—including those undertaking monitoring work. Additionally, we collect underway data from our Ferrybox and Weather Station and are working with the Swedish National Oceanographic Data Centre (SMHI) to ensure that this data is made freely available globally, through data repositories such as EMODnet and COPERNICUS. We are also a registered vessel in support of global monitoring programs such as GOSHIP and Argo, and through this and our data activities will deliver to the Global Ocean Observing System. With respect to my talk at the MEMFIS Conference, I will be presenting with Lars Thorell from SLU to outline recent collaborative activities by the fleet of Swedish research vessel operators.
Juha: I have done both marine ecosystem scientific research, worked in international groups for creating large databases of marine monitoring data, and carried out monitoring cruises on R/V’s as a chief scientist. I will talk about the betterment of combined trans-national access to large research infrastructures, in my case the research vessels. Trans National Access (TNA) is the key, and in order to achieve this, we need financing systems such as the Eurofleets RI currently under development. In this way we can get much more good science out of these big investments in a cost-effective way.
With the future in focus – how can we give back to nature by sharing and caring?
Louise: I think we have a moral imperative to learn from the past and individually/collectively act to better our impact on the environment. In addition to the small things that I can do as a consumer (i.e., avoid single-use plastics, buy sustainably sourced fish), educating the next generation to understand the importance of the ocean is vital.
Juha: Work for real, accurate scientific knowledge and understanding of the systems, and decision making based on this knowledge and understanding, not on short term economic issues
Name: Louise Newman
Title: PhD and superintendent
Key achievements: Building the Southern Ocean Observing System program and community
Favorite water place and why? The remote west coast of Tasmania, Australia. It is wild and seems almost untouched by humans. It sits directly in the path of the Southern Ocean westerlies, so the waves are huge, and the sea life is abundant (at least it was the last time I was there!).
Name: Juha Flinkman
Title : Development manager
Key achivements: As a scientist, development of novel monitoring tools and techniques, as an R/V operator development of greener shipping and mopre cost efficient way of conducting marine science and monitoring with R/Vs.
Favorite water place and why? Many. Underwater Gulf of Finland buried history – deep wrecks. Northwest Pacific kelp forests; Norvergian of Irish Atlantic coast kelp forests
News about Memfis • 2023-11-16
In November, SwAM and Formas arranged a two-day conference – Marine environmental monitoring for future innovation and sustainability, MEMFIS. The conference brought together more than 120 participants from eight countries; decision makers and experts on marine monitoring from areas such as policy, management, research and innovation.
News about Memfis • 2023-11-07
Only two days left until MEMFIS.
News about Memfis • 2023-11-02
In a week the first international conference on the future of marine environmental monitoring will take place in Sweden with focus on innovation and sustainability. SwAM and Formas are happy to welcome participants from eight countries to two days of exciting talks, inspiring poster sessions and time for networking.