The 38th CIESM Congress has concluded its work in Istanbul, after a very successful week at the Lutfi Kirdar Convention and Exhibition Center.  Following welcoming speeches by Turkish personalities - the Minister of Transport, the Rector of the University of Istanbul and the national Representative of Turkey on CIESM Board - the Congress was formally open on 9 April 2007 with the inaugural address of the President of the Commission, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, followed by a  scientific overview presented by the Director General, Professor Frederic Briand. On the same evening, the congressists were the hosts of the CIESM President at a reception in the splendid Esma Sultan Palace on the shores of the Bosphorus.

Legend: Esma Sultan Palace.

The Congress was attended by some 750 scientists who presented a record number of communications (over 700), in oral and poster committee sessions covering all marine disciplines from marine geophysics to microbiology.  In addition morning Panels, each concluded by a general debate with the diverse audience, did attract a lot of interest.

Morning Panels Sessions:
P1. Mediterranean biodiversity on-line; P2. Recent advances in Black Sea sciences; P3. Ecosystem Changes – past, present, and future; P4. Chemical contaminants and public health; P5. Deep Mediterranean Sea – New insights and perspectives; P6. Warning Signals; P7. The Marmara Sea and connecting straits; P8 - A. EU/FP7 Research and Training opportunities, with emphasis on non-EU (Med/Black Sea) countries; P8 - B. CIESM Contribution to the EU Green Paper.

All communications, plus a synthesis of the Panels, will be published in the 38th Congress Volume, to be distributed to the libraries of all Marine Institutes of CIESM Member States, and also in the form of a CD-ROM that will be dispatched to all Congress participants.

Among the other highlights of the week:

- The election, by secret ballot, of the Chairs of the six CIESM scientific committees. 
Were elected:

  • Dr Gert De Lange (Netherlands), Chair, Committee C1;
  • Dr Jordi Font (Spain), Chair, Committee C2;
  • Dr Aysen Yilmaz (Turkey), Chair, Committee C3;
  • Dr Urania Christaki (Greece), Chair, Committee C4;
  • Dr Ferdinando Boero (Italy),
    and Dr Cemal Turan (Turkey), co-Chairs, Committee C5;
  • Dr Enric Sala (Spain), Chair, Committee C6.

Legend: the President of CIESM, Prince Albert of Monaco, surrounded (left to right) by G. De Lange, J. Font, A. Yilmaz, C. Christaki, the Director General of CIESM F. Briand, C. Turan, E. Sala and F. Boero.

- The unanimous decision by the Board, to reconduct Monaco - in the person of H.S.H. Prince Albert II - for another mandate of six years, at the Presidence of the Commission.

- The election of Croatia, Cyprus, Tunisia and Turkey to the Advisory Board of the Commission;  for the period 2007-2010 representatives of these countries will join those of the permanent Members (France, Italy, Monaco, Spain).

- The best porter prize was awarded to Dr Marta Coll and to her co-authors, from the Institute of Marine Science (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona, for her communication entitled 'Modelling the ecological role of small pelagic fish in the Catalan Sea (NW Mediterranean)'.

In addition, a special prize of the Jury was awarded to the poster presented by Dr Ester Garcia-Solsona and her co-authors, from the 'Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona', for her communication entitled 'Submarine groundwater discharge in a Minorca Karstic cove using ra isotopes and 222Rn'.

Legend: deliberation of the Jury composed of the Committee Chairs (for the period 2004 - 2007) around CIESM Director General.

A welcome novelty, greeted with obvious enthusiasm, was the condensed, highly focused (2 min each) oral presentations of the main findings of all 380 posters in their respective committee room. For many young scientists this was their first opportunity to present their work in front of an international audience.

Legend: the spectacular parade offered on the last evening by the Turkish Military Guards.

The closing of the Congress was marked by a beautiful reception offered by the Turkish Authorities at the famous Ciragan Palace.

Future perspectives: various Member States have already expressed a preliminary interest in welcoming the next CIESM Congress, in 2010.  A formal decision will be taken in this respect by the Advisory Board during its next meeting in the spring 2008.

[Photo credits: 1, 2, 5 Christian Tamburini; 3, 4 Siri Campbell]