Bremerhaven, Germany, 7-9 September. YouMaRes 2.0 stands for young marine researchers: this was the second edition of a well-organised international networking event for young researchers across the spectrum of the marine sciences organised by the Working Group on Studies and Education operating within the German Society for Marine Research. It brought together more than 120 master and PhD students, post docs and others from 20 countries under the motto 'Oceans amidst science, innovation and society'. The meeting took place in the premises of the German Maritime Museum.

The meeting of the up-and-coming researchers was welcomed by Dr. Ursula Warnke, Director of the German Maritime Museum, a representative of the Lord Mayor of Bremerhaven, Mr. Melf Grantz, and by Prof. Dr. Oliver Zielinski, President of the Germany Society for Marine Research (DGM) and declared open by the chief organiser, Marc Einsporn, chair of the Working Group.

Dr. Cornelia E. Nauen of Mundus maris gave the keynote address in the opening session. She argued that the accumulation of scientific knowledge demonstrated the increasing fragility of the oceans engendered human intervention. She noted that global overfishing was already reducing landings from once productive marine ecosystems and that climate change would lead to shifts in distribution and production patterns. Increases are initially expected polewards and losses in tropical seas. Other threats have recently come into purview, such as acidification from the uptake so far of about 50% of CO2 emissions. This is starting to impact skeleton formation of organism such as corals, foraminifera and molluscs.

Maritime traffic contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, yet has so far largely resisted regulation. More recently, the increase of plastic waste in the oceans has been demonstrated not only to be an aesthetic nuisance but an additional menace to already threatened marine turtles and other organisem ingesting the broken-down debris and starving to death. Pollution from sea-borne and land-based agricultural and industrial run-off affects the species in marine ecosystems in multiple ways, accumulates through the food web and contributes to eutrophication. She argued that scientific research was more than ever required to piece together the complex picture of our Earth system, particularly the oceans, to enable our societies to device timely transitions towards more sustainable forms of production and consumption. This requires approaches to scientific research that place emphasis on top-down goal-oriented research of a census-type. This helps to identify knowledge gaps in a transparent and systematic manner and fill them accordingly as has been shown through FishBase, the global archive on all fish. She also encouraged stronger critical engagement of researchers with actors from all parts of society so that scientific knowledge can inform societal debates about courses of action more effectively. The decision-making processes are, of course, not incumbent on the science, but rather a social and political process ranging from local to global, but at any scale much in need of the best available science. The powerpoint presentation of the talk is available here.

Prof. Gotthilf Hempel gave a second keynote about the need for marine research partnership between Germany and others with institutions and researchers in tropical countries as he himself had practiced it for decades.

He gave some examples from the MADAM project in Brazil, the Red Sea Programme and the BENEFIT project in the Benguela Current region which had all involved the Zentrum for Marine Tropical Ecology (ZMT) in Bremen and which he led through the founding years to its consolidation.

Session 1 focused on human impacts on the oceans and subsequent environmental responses. Several of the presentations focused on the threats to corals and on acidification. Like with this, several other sessions also had posters associated with the oral presentations.

Other sessions concerned e.g. remote sensing as a tool to advance on measuring ocean parameters across large areas, aquaculture with emphasis on replacing fish meal in aquafeeds, marine technologies and engineering. The session 'Living with the Sea: Coastal livelihoods and management' had presentations on environmental history to counter shifting baseline syndrome, the restoration of mangroves in the Western Bay of Bengal and a talk about cultural roles in marine managed areas in Fiji.

The fresh atmosphere at the sessions and during networking was testimony to the fact that many of the young scientists attending this meeting had already spent time abroad and were fluent in English and other languages. The eagerness to put their teeth into research while also looking for employment and additional opportunities to collaborate with others near and far was quite palpable.

This was also felt at the very interactive poster session, the guided tours around the museum and nearby research facilities and the tutoring sessions to hone their presentational and other skills. Mundus maris showed five of the "Darwin posters" during the lively poster session.

The picture gallery gives some snapshots from the conference and from around the German Maritime Museum. Looking at the examples of vessels and fishing gear from several different contexts and spanning several centuries showed the enormous advances in technology and social organisation, but also that we need to direct our technological prowess towards living with nature, not destroying it.


The organising team of YOUMARES 2.0 at the icebreaker prior to the conference, 7 September 2011, German Maritime Museum, BremerhavenYOUMARS 2.0 organising team at the icebreaker, 7 September 2011, German Maritime Museum, BremerhavenSession 4 'Living with the Sea'Sebastian Ferse, a postdoc of ZMT, chaired session 4 'Living with the Sea'Dr. Nicola Borger-Keweloh, a historian of culture, gave us an inspiring guided tour through the museumDr. Silvia Opitz of Mundus maris takes the measure of the door (otterboard) of a modern trawl, German Maritime Museum, BremerhavenMuseum ships on display as part of the German Maritime Museum, the whaler 'Seefalke' to the rightThe reconstructed toothed whale skeleton in natural sizeThe whale used to be harpooned from such a nimble boat as shown here - it was dangerous for the whales and for the whalersWith this modern harpoon with explosive head the whales had no more chanceLooking out from the Maritime Museum towards the new so-called 'Little Dubai' hotel and shopping complex