The online networking event ICYMARE 2021

For the second year in a row, ICYMARE had to be realised in a virtual format as our private and professional life-styles remained in the firm grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on last year’s online conference experience and the contribution of a highly motivated international team, we gladly staged a successful interdisciplinary networking event.

The ICYMARE 2021 Online Conference welcomed a total of 511 participants from 62 countries during four days of 20 virtual scientific sessions, eight workshops, and various social events.

As a starter, the ICEBREAKER PubQuiz had more than 30 participants manoeuvring through technological challenges and forty tricky questions. Following up on this brainteaser, session hosts, presenters and attendees exchanged on sustainable harvesting of seafood (Session 11), the holobiont concept (Session 8), organismal responses to global changes (Session 5), as well as on mixotrophy (Session 7). Tim Kiessling, marine scientist from Kiel, gave a small project talk interlude on the citizen science project Plastic Pirates – schoolchildren investigate plastic pollution of rivers, before 28 early career researchers presented their work in poster format. A session on the impacts of climate change on human marine activities (Session 2) concluded the first day of ICYMARE 2021.

The second conference day started with an extensive session on interdisciplinary approaches for sustainable coastal and ocean management (Session 1), which was followed by the second social event: Science Speed Dating – where participants met in switchable pairs every 10 minutes, exchanging experiences and building further partnerships. Afterwards, researchers from Bachelor to PostDoc level presented their studies on tropical marine ecosystems in the Anthropocene (Session 13), marine data science (Session 3) as well as on the distribution, degradation, and impact of plastic pollution (Session 18).

Day #3 began icy, with a session on change in polar regions (Session 15). Subsequently, early career scientists talked about isotope analysis (Session 16) and other fields of research in the open session (Session 20). The afternoon was packed with workshops covering essential topics for researchers of all professional levels such as science communication, tips and tricks for publishing, or creating scientific graphics and visualisations. During another social event, members of the ICYMARE family shared their own Stories on becoming a scientist and demonstrated that the path to ‘success’ rarely is a straight one. The concluding session of the third day took a closer look at marine invertebrate conservation (Session 9).

The final day of ICYMARE 2021 also had a full agenda: starting off muddy, with a session on coastal wetlands (Session 12), followed by a multitude of talks in the open session (Session 20). During another project talk, marine environmental scientist Svea Vollstedt presented the programme for the worldwide implementation of identical experiments across geographical and climatic boundaries: GAME – Global approach by modular experiments. In the afternoon, the conference showcased its interdisciplinarity with sessions on marine engineering (Session 19) and ocean literacy (Session 4).

Before all participants said goodbye to each other, hit the road again and travelled back home – well, more precisely, closed all open tabs and shut down their computer, the successful third edition of ICYMARE was concluded in a cosy, virtual fireside lounge, with a talk given by Prof. Kristy Deiner. She invited the participants to reflect on the paths we can take and leading with intention.

We are thankful for all who joined and participated in this Online Conference, making it a welcoming event full of fascinating presentations of various marine-related scientific projects, social interaction, and useful workshops. Our thanks are extended to the financial and technical support received, to all session hosts and presenters for their professionalism and willingness to share their research, to all volunteers for their tireless commitment in organising ICYMARE 2021 and finding smart solutions to overcome any challenge associated with a conference during a pandemic.

We are happily looking forward to seeing you – hopefully in person again – next year in Bremerhaven, at ICYMARE 2022 BREMERHAVEN (13 – 16 September 2022)! Stay healthy and tuned,

Your ICYMARE Family

Thanks for everyonewho joined and supportedICYMARE 2021.