Oceans of Opportunities, Rivers of Ideas


All sessions will be streamed live on our website. The live recordings will be placed on our website afterwards.


WEDNESDAY 5 December: Colonial Palace, Paleizenlaan 1, 3080 Tervuren

Opening of the OORI event




Welcome by  Ann Vanreusel & Nico Koedam


  • Marc De Meyer, Head of Biology department and of Entomology section, AfricaMuseum, Belgium
  • Romain Meeusen, Vice-Rector International Policy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium
  • Kristien Verbrugghen, Director, VLIR-UOS, Belgium
  • Jacqueline Uku, Scientific Director, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Kenya
  • Jan Mees, General Director, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), Belgium
  • Falko Buschke, Researcher, University of the Free State, South Africa 
    • "Post-normal conservation science fills the space between research, policy and implementation"


Network Reception: Colonial Palace

THURSDAY 6 December:  Universiteit Gent (UGent), Aula, Voldersstraat 9, 9000 Gent


Registration | Welcome coffee/tea


Introduction to the morning session (Chairperson Magda Vincx, UGent, Belgium)

Welcome by the Director of Internationalisation Guido Van Huylenbroeck, UGent, Belgium


Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "Ecosystem resources and management"

  • Towards establishing fisheries co-management plans along the Kenya coast: progress and successes, Cosmas Munga (Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), Kenya)
  • The future of fisheries resources research, Angela Nankabirwa (National Fisheries Resources Research Institute, Uganda)
  • Mapping the ocean seafloor: the "uncharted" world, Amon Kimeli (KMFRI, Kenya; University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Marine spatial planning in Belgium: from Ghent University to the World, Frank Maes (UGent, Belgium)


Coffee break


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "Ecosystem resources and management"

  • Being a marine scientist at WWF, Sarah Vanden Eede (WWF Belgium)
  • Investigate the origin of carbon buried underneath seagrass meadows in a tropical mangrove-seagrass ecosystem, Riccardo Pieraccini (Oceans & Lakes student)
  • Offshore development in the North Sea: interactions between fish, scientists and the industry, Inge van der Knaap (UGent, Belgium)
  • Environmental pollution in Vietnam and its relation with aqauculture and ecosystem management, Ngo Thi Thuy Huong (Vietnam Center on Karst and Geoheritage (VCKG), Vietnam)


Interactive session: “Policy makers and scientists do (not) listen to each other, do(n't) they?"  (moderators Diana Di Nitto, Jean Hugé & Nico Koedam)


Lunch break


Introduction to the afternoon session (Chairperson Cosmas Munga, TUM, Kenya)

Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "Education, leadership and communication"

  • Dialogue on some critical leadership concepts and how they matter in aquatic sciences and in life in general, Ibrahima Thiam (Wetlands International Africa, Senegal)
  • Research-education coupling in changing perspectives of aquatic study in Vietnam, Hien Thanh Nguyen (University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Vietnam)
  • Opportunities and challenges for marine scientists in the dredging world, Thibaud Mascart (DEME, Belgium)
  • Change the world by changing yourself, Shanna Vanblaere (UGent, Belgium)


Coffee break


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "Education, leadership and communication"

  • Bridging the gap between marine education and policy-making: the European Marine Training Platform, Evelyn Paredes Coral (UGent, Belgium)
  • Combine science and education for better conservation actions: an example in Nicaragua, Joëlle De Weerdt (ELI-Scientific, Belgium)
  • MACOPSproject: from PhD project to networking opportunity and development of new guidelines for a better sanitary monitoring program in Peru, Iván Loaiza Alamo (UGent, UAntwerpen, Belgium; Universidad Cientifica del Sur, Peru)
  • Rapid ecosystem services assessment & conceptualization of conservation effectiveness in Pendjari National Park, Benin, Devonne Goad (Oceans & Lakes student)
  • The impact of social media in communicating a world of science, Tom Janssen (Tom’s Odyssey, Belgium)


Panel discussion: “How to frame –marine- conservation: a story of doom or a story of hope?” (moderators  Ann Vanreusel & Diana Di Nitto): Sarah Vanden Eede, Thibaud Mascart, Jacqueline Uku, Ibrahima ThiamMohamed Omar Said Mohamed

FRIDAY 7 December: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), U-residence, Generaal Jacqueslaan 272, 1050 Elsene


Registration | Welcome coffee/tea


Introduction to the morning session (Chairperson Judith Okello, KMFRI, Kenya)

Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "Conservation and monitoring"

  • How to become a change agent in the Western Indian Ocean Region, Harifidy Olivier Ralison (WWF Madagascar)
  • Science for marine conservation in Peru: lessons and challenges, Eliana Alfaro-Cordova (Pro Delphinus, Peru)
  • Biodiversity conservation - a consideration of endangered marine species, Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed (Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya)
  • Biodiversity and development: challenges for capacity building, Luc Janssens de Bisthoven (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Belgium)


Coffee break


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "Conservation and monitoring"

  • The science behind the blue label: how science delivers positive change across the world's oceans through certification, Marcus Nelson (Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), United Kingdom) - CANCELLED
  • Dwarf brooder versus giant broadcaster: combining genetic and reproductive data to unravel cryptic diversity in an Antarctic brittle star, Quentin Jossart (VUB, Belgium)
  • Getting more out of the marine equipment budget by applying open source technology, Katrijn Baetens (RBINS, Belgium)
  • EMODnet – gateway to marine data from & for users, Nathalie Tonné (European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), Belgium)


World Café: “What is the role of scientists in raising public awareness, and what are mechanisms to achieve it?  (moderators Diana Di Nitto & Jean Hugé)


Lunch break


Introduction to the afternoon session (Chairperson Eliana Alfaro-Cordova, Pro Delphinus, Peru)

Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "Social-Ecological Systems"

  • Scientists as agents of change: working with the local community along the coast of Kenya, Judith Okello (KMFRI, Kenya)
  • Integrating science with community: the case of mangrove conservation in Kenya, Amina Juma Hamza (KMFRI, Kenya)
  • Improving Peruvian fisheries management: Silvana Denisse Fajardo Perez (Sustainable Oceans, Water and Cities (SOWAC), Peru)
  • Ocean observations, data and science in support of policy and society: the example of EU's Marine Knowledge 2020 strategy in the context of its Integrated Maritime Policy, Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet, Belgium)


Coffee break


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "Social-Ecological Systems"

  • Better-informed policy-making - Mangrove conservation in Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Katherine Vande Velde (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium)
  • Storytelling through brushstrokes: Using art to communicate science, Meenakshi Shankar Poti (ULB, Belgium)
  • Agents of change in Colombia, Paula Tatiana González Sanchez (Monitoreos Ambientales (MoAm), Colombia) (video)
  • Using information and communication technology to find and share community owned solutions to sustainability challenges, Julia Jung (IMBRSea student, Cobra Collective, UK)

SATURDAY 8 December: VUB, U-residence,Generaal Jacqueslaan 272, 1050 Elsene


Registration | Welcome coffee/tea


Introduction to the morning session (Chairperson Mohamed Omar Said Mohamed, KWS, Kenya)

Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "From science to policy"

  • From Science to Policy: a scientist/administrator experience, James Njiru (KMFRI, Kenya)
  • From Science to Action & Policy: Experience of the Wio Region, Jacqueline Uku (KMFRI, Kenya)
  • Payment for Ecosystem Services, Khuong Tran Chinh (United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Vietnam)
  • Ecological monitoring of rivers and lakes : are we measuring the right aspects for policy?, Ludwig Triest (VUB, Belgium)


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "From science to policy"

  • Marine science in the European Parliament, Leonie Buschbeck (intern, European Parliament, Belgium)
  • Science and climate change, Mike Olendo Izava (Conservation International, Kenya) (CANCELLED)
  • Nature conservation: the role of politics & business, Soraya Candido (Antwerp Management School (AMS), Belgium)
  • The perception of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Christine Rundt (Oceans & Lakes student)


Lunch break


Keynote presentations (15' per presentation): "Ecosystems and their services" (chairperson Farid Dahdouh-Guebas, VUB-ULB, Belgium)

  • The intertidal mudflats and coastal wetlands of Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines- Lessons learned from a forgotten ecosystem, Georgina L. Fernandez (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office, Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines)
  • Blue diatoms as a potential for sustainable shellfish aquaculture, Fiddy Semba Prasetiya (Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (IFREMER), France) 
  • Some interesting news about the mangrove horseshoe crab in penninsular Malaysia, Satyanarayana Behara (Universiti Malaysia Terengganu - UMT, Malaysia)


Pitch presentations (7' per presentation): "Ecosystems and their services"

  • The exceptions to the rule? Metal bioaccumulation in macroinvertebrates from metal polluted sites with a good ecological status, Bart Slootmakers (UAntwerpen, Belgium)
  • TROPIMUNDO: studying tropical biodiversity and ecosystems under the EC educational excellence label Erasmus Mundus,  Farid Dahdouh-Guebas (VUB-ULB, Belgium)
  • Extension of community carbon offsetting project in Kenya, Ahmad Mohammed (KMFRI, Kenya) (video)
  • A range of opportunities, from sea level to mountaintops, Loïc Gillerot  (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), Switzerland) (video)


Coffee break


Panel discussion: Caught in the net – marine & lacustrine scientists: drivers of change” (moderator Farid Dahdouh-Guebas): Nico Koedam, Judith Okello, Cosmas Munga, Satyanarayana Behara, Karolien Van Puyvelde


Wrap up

SUNDAY 9 December:


Visit of BIGH Farm - a sustainable aquaponic urban farm in Anderlecht, Brussels