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Aquatic conference breaking down barriers

20 August, 2013

Aquatic conference breaking down barriers

More than 500 aquatic science experts are gathering at the University of Waikato this week for an international conference bringing together New Zealand’s freshwater and marine scientists and their Australian counterparts for the first time.

The conference, Aquatic Science at the Interface, is on until Friday and organising chair Associate Professor Kevin Collier hopes is will lead to scientists working together across disciplines.

“We’re breaking down barriers between marine and freshwater sciences,” he says.

“They are both inextricably linked. This conference is about challenging people to move across disciplines and interact between marine and freshwater, land and water, cultural and traditional science disciplines, we’re challenging those boundaries.”

He says the 540 registrations showed how much interest there was in water issues and the science community and speakers would be addressing key points.

“We have a range of plenary speakers touching on major issues such as biosecurity in marine and freshwater areas through the arrival of invasive species, and Government and policy frameworks for marine and freshwater management. We’re also challenging delegates to think about ways of bringing together mātauranga Māori and western science.”

It was the first time the conference had been held in Hamilton and the first time all three organisations – the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society, New Zealand Marine Sciences Society and the Australian Society for Fish Biology - had worked together, he says.

The conference had proved timely, with aquatic issues hitting the headlines recently through news items on water allocation, pressure on fisheries and the continued degradation of our waterways.

Tuesday’s conference sessions include the impacts of the Christchurch earthquakes on aquatic environments, water quality modelling, whitebait, aquatic biosecurity, fish cultivation and the impacts of the Rena grounding.

On Wednesday snapper are in the spotlight, along with river management and marine farming while Thursday has marine protected areas, water quality and recreational fisheries.

For more conference details, including programme, visit: http://www.aquascience.org.nz/

ENDS

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