53rd European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS53) | Lifewatch regional portal

You are here

53rd European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS53)

From 17-21 September 2018, the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and LifeWatch Belgium organized the 53rd European Marine Biology Symposium (EMBS53) in Ostend, Belgium. EMBS53 aims at linking the history, the present and the future of (European) marine biology. This edition was special, as 2018 was a celebration year in Ostend: the first marine station ever worldwide was inaugurated exactly 175 years ago, in Ostend, by professor Pierre-Joseph Van Beneden. Since then, the world of marine biology has changed dramatically - both in Belgium and Europe - especially in relation to used technologies and techniques. EMBS53 therefore focuses on the following themes: (1) Science from a historical perspective; (2) Science in a modern era; (3) Citizen science; and (4) Science in the North Sea.

Five days full of presentations on historical, contemporary and future marine biological research, an information market by marine organizations and companies, an excursion to Het Zwin or the historic city center of Bruges, and many networking moments completed the program for the 170 marine biologists from 25 countries.

The general aim of the EMBS symposium series is to put European marine biological sciences in the spotlight and give it international visibility. But the goal is just as much to strengthen the network, through a strong scientific program and social side events such as excursions and the Yellow Submarine competition (playful competition between national teams).

The research using the virtual biodiversity laboratory of LifeWatch was discussed extensively at the symposium, with various presentations and live demonstrations of equipment in the information market:

  • Science in a modern era: From science networks to network science (Matthias Obst, University of Gothenburg) [keynote lecture for the “Science in a modern era” session]
  • Research Infrastructures offer capacity to address scientific questions never attempted before: Are all taxa equal? (Christos Arvanitidis, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • LifeWatch marine data services supporting marine biodiversity and ecosystem research (Klaas Deneudt, VLIZ) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • The European Tracking Network: Connecting biotelemetry users in Europe (Jan Reubens, VLIZ) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • Migratory routes and stopover sites of the Lesser Black-backed Gull: Where to go if your options are endless? (Jan Baert, Antwerp University) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • Long-term plankton measurements using semi-automatic image classification techniques (Luz Amadei Martinez, VLIZ) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • Heading South or North: Novel insights on European silver eel (Anguilla anguilla L.) migration in the North Sea (Pieterjan Verhelst, INBO and Ghent University) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • What moves European sea bass? (Jolien Goossens, VLIZ) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • Eavesdropping in the wild: What are porpoises and bats up to (Elisabeth Debusschere, VLIZ) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • The Census of Antarctic Marine Life, and its legacy 10 years on (Anton Vandeputte, RBINS) [“Science in a modern era” session]
  • Marine Data Archeology: A heritage for future science (Carolien Knockaert, VLIZ) [“Science from a historical perspective” session]
  • BeRMS 2020 – Innovative census of Belgian marine biodiversity (Michiel Vandegehuchte, VLIZ) [“Science in the North Sea” session]
  • Fish or garbage: Do diet and foraging choices of an avian scavenger impact on its breeding performance? (Alejandro Sotillo, Ghent University) [“Science in the North Sea” session]
  • Plankton imaging devices (e.g. FlowCAM) with automated classification and quantification capabilities (Luz Amadei Martínez, VLIZ) [live demonstration on Tuesday September 18th]
  • Acoustic detection devices, such as acoustic receivers for fish tracking (e.g. Vemco), underwater hydrophones (e.g. CPOD) for porpoise and dolphins, and acoustic bat detectors (Elisabeth Debusschere, VLIZ) [live demonstration on Wednesday 19th]
  • Innovative underwater mooring tripod with acoustic release system (Jan Reubens, VLIZ) [live demonstration on Thursday 20th]


The scientific contributions of EMBS53 will be published in a Special Issue from JMBA (Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom) with Pascal Hablützel of VLIZ as guest editor.

Photos of the event can be consulted in the VLIZ photogallery.

De Grote Post
8400 Oostende
Monday, September 17, 2018 - 09:00 to Friday, September 21, 2018 - 17:00