4th Blue Planet Symposium Report Now Available

4th GEO Blue Planet Symposium was held from July 4 – 6, 2018 in Toulouse, France. The symposium was hosted by Mercator Ocean, member of the GEO Blue Planet Initiative and entrusted by the European Commission to operate the EU Copernicus Marine Service.

The symposium was the first GEO Blue Planet symposium in Toulouse and served as a forum for discussion of ocean and coastal information needs for sustainable development, Blue Growth and societal awareness. A total of 300 delegates attended the symposium from international organisations and networks, research scientists, government agencies, various industries, ocean science communicators and graduate students. 

Symposium Report 


For more information about the symposium - click here 

Sargassum and Oil Spill Workshop Report Available

GEO Blue Planet was a co-organizer of a workshop in Mexico City that focused on the development of an integrated and user friendly monitoring and forecasting system for sargassum and oil spills in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions. GEO Blue Planet is working with IOCARIBE of IOC UNESCO, workshop participants, and other stakeholders in the region to develop an implementation plan for the workshop. For additional information – see the workshop report. 

Marine Biodiversity Workshop: from the Sea to the Cloud

Twenty-five researchers from the Americas have been selected to participate in a five-day training program offered by the Pole to Pole Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) of the Americas (P2P) and AmeriGEOSS. The workshop includes marine scientists working on coastal ecology from pole to pole. The program will focus on marine biodiversity activities in the field and behind the computer; it promotes a community of best practices and data sharing. Specifically, the activities will be to:

  • Collect field data across multiple habitats: rocky intertidal and sandy beaches habitats;
  • Manipulate tabular and spatial data for standardized data formats, such as Darwin Core, while controlling for quality;
  • Publish datasets to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) using tools for sharing data;
  • Train on data science tools (R, Rmarkdown, Github) to mine data, conduct discovery and analysis, and produce reproducible research documents with interactive visualizations onto the web.
  • Illustrate the process of submitting and editing Best Practices (field methods, analyses, metadata) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Ocean Best Practices (Ocean Best Practices Repository: https://www.oceanbestpractices.net/)


This workshop is a foundational step in the implementation of the P2P network. Participants will develop standard protocols for field data collection, data formatting and publishing, following international standards (e.g. Darwin Core – DwC). The ultimate goal is to develop a network that helps nations and regions to improve conservation planning and environmental impact mitigation, serve the scientific community, and satisfy commitments to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), Aichi Targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by:

  • enhancing coordination of data collection among nations;
  • improving the collection of harmonized data, developing data standards and methodologies for data management and dissemination without compromising national concerns (i.e., use and contribute to Best Practices for the measurement and curation of Essential Ocean Variables and Essential Biodiversity Variables);
  • integrating biodiversity information with physical and chemical data over time (status and trends);
  • and generating products needed for informed management of the ocean.

This activity will train participants from 10 countries in the America, from Canada to Patagonia, in methodological approaches for assessing biodiversity of rocky intertidal areas and sandy beaches, collecting environmental data that allow to evaluate drivers of biodiversity change in these habitats. This effort also seeks to enhance capacity in geospatial data analysis and visualization using R software, and data formatting and sharing via the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). Instructors facilitating training efforts in these various topics include:

Enrique Montes (USA; P2P lead at USF)

Gil Rilov (Israel; National Institute of Oceanography)

Antonio Marques (Brazil; CEBIMar)

Augusto Flores (Brazil; CEBIMar)

Maikon Di Domenico (Brazil; Universidade Federal do Paraná)

Patricia Miloslavich (Australia; U. Tasmania / GOOS)

Eduardo Klein (OBIS)

Frank Muller-Karger (USA; USF)

Emmett Duffy (USA; Smithsonian I.)

Ben Best (USA; EcoQuants)

Fernando Lima (Portugal; University of Porto)

Brian Helmuth (USA; Northeastern University)

The P2P workshop is supported by NASA and will be hosted by the Center for Marine Biology (CEBIMar) of the University of Sao Paulo in Praia do Segredo, São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil. Workshop details can be found at https://marinebon.github.io/p2p-brazil-workshop/.

Forecasting Flooding on Coral Reef–Lined Coasts

The GEO Blue Planet Initiative has welcomed a new working group on Understanding Flooding on Reef-lined Island Coasts. The working group was established at a February workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The workshop was organised by personnel from NOAA, the USGS (United States), CSIRO (Australia) and Deltares (Netherlands).

Click here for additional information about the outcomes of the workshop.



EOOS Seeking Stakeholder Survey Responses

Consultation 2018

The European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) is a coordinating framework designed to align and integrate Europe’s ocean observing capacity in the long-term; to promote a systematic and collaborative approach to collecting sustained information on the state and variability of our seas; and to underpin sustainable management of the marine environment and its resources.

Key to achieving a truly integrated and sustained ocean observing framework, EOOS, are stakeholder engagement and co-design of the EOOS strategy and implementation plan. In 2017, an open consultation took place to collect stakeholders’ feedback on the EOOS consultation document developed by the steering group. Based on this survey and the EOOS forum 2018, draft EOOS strategy and implementation plan were developed. Those are now released for an open consultation running from 25 April to 15 June. The results will be released on this website and the documents finalized for adoption at the EOOS conference 2018 (21-23/11, Brussels).

Survey specifications

  • When: this survey is open from 25 April to 15 June 2018
  • For who: any ocean observing stakeholder organization or individual
  • How: read the draft EOOS strategy and implementation plan 2018-2022, then submit your feedback via the online form – please see below.
    Nota bene: we recommend preparing your feedback on a separate document first and only then copy/pasting the content to the on-line form. This will reduce risks of any web-related issues causing the loss of your information should the submission take long. This will also allow carefully considering the answers for most impact. The length of the documents: strategy – 9 pages, implementation plan – 13 pages. You can download the questionnaire below.
  • What next: EOOS coordination team and steering group will consider all inputs and prepare updated versions of the strategy and implementation plan – both for release on this website. It is foreseen to allow the stakeholders jointly adopt the strategy and implementation plan at the EOOS conference 2018.

Draft EOOS strategy 2018-2022

EOOS Strategy Draft April 2018 (472.9 KiB)

Draft EOOS implementation plan 2018-2022

EOOS Implementation Plan Draft April 2018 (449.8 KiB)

Consultation questions – to prepare your online submission

Consultation questions (117.2 KiB)

Submit your response now

17 April Webinar: Ocean Accounts, Development of Statistical Guidance

Michael Bordt, Regional Advisor on Environment Statistics, Statistics Division
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Webinar Summary

The international statistical community has given ESCAP and UN Environment the lead to develop guidance for ocean accounts. The activity will address many of the SDG14 targets (and more), by building on guidance already applied by many countries in the System of Environmental-Economic Account ing (SEEA). The presentation will provide an overview of the SEEA, the objectives of the project and the challenges foreseen. ESCAP is seeking input and participation in a regional workshop planned for Bangkok on 1-3 August, 2018.  Initial guidance will be applied and tested in several countries in the region.

Webinar Recording

Click here to view the webinar

Associated Documents

Sargassum and Oil Spills Workshop

IOCARIBE of IOC UNESCO and its GOOS Regional Alliance IOCARIBE-GOOS; GEO Blue Planet; UNDP Barbados and the OECS have a common interest in promoting the use of Ocean Observations in support of shared regional ocean and coastal management activities and sustainable development goals. In support of those interests, a Caribbean Monitoring Pilot Project is proposed that immediately addresses significant region-wide issues (Sargassum, Oil Spills) while creating a lasting framework for further expansion. The Project will stress end-to-end system development directed at providing observation- and model-based products developed by and for local practitioners and decision-makers.

IOCARIBE of IOC UNESCO jointly with these organizations will convene a workshop on 2-4 May 2018 hosted by the Ministry of Education of Mexico and Mexico National Council of Sciences in Mexico City to introduce the project goals, engage collaborators in project activities, develop an organizational structure and implementation plan, and consider how to sustain this and additional
regional Ocean Observing projects.

IOCARIBE of IOC UNESCO, GEO Blue Planet, UNDP Barbados and the OECS support an inclusive system-of-systems approach that endeavors to promote and add value to partner activities. We
invite potential collaborators and information users to attend the workshop. The workshop is partially supported through generous financial and in-kind contributions from the IOCARIBE of IOC
UNESCO, GEO Blue Planet, the Government of Flanders, the Government of Mexico, NOAA, UNDP Barbados and OECS. Attendance by invitation only.

Click here to download the meeting announcement.

GEO Blue Planet Symposium July 4-6 in Toulouse, France

The 4th GEO Blue Planet Symposium will serve as a forum for discussion of ocean and coastal information needs for sustainable development, Blue Growth and societal awareness. The symposium will bring together producers of ocean and coastal information and current and potential users of ocean and coastal information, who will share their experience with the audience.


The 4th Blue Planet Symposium will be held in Toulouse, South of France, from 4 – 6 July 2018.

GEO townhall at OSM – Feb 14 at 6:30

Group on Earth Observations Town Hall

When: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 from 06:30 PM – 07:30 PM

Where: Oregon Convention Center –  E143-E144

About: The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a global partnership of governments and organizations that works to connect the demand for sound and timely environmental information with the supply of data and information about the Earth that is collected through observing systems and made available by the GEO community. The goal of this Town Hall is to increase awareness and participation of the ocean sciences community in GEO activities and identify opportunities for collaboration and coordination

GEO OSM 2018 townhall flyer

Communication Strategy Guide and Template

Ocean Communicators United (OCU) is an informal grouping of representatives of international, regional or national oceanographic research organisations that provides a forum for its members to share information, expertise, best practices and materials related to marine science communications.

OCU has recently published a step-by-step guide and template for writing a communication strategy, tailored for international marine science organisations.

The document is available for download at OceanDocs: https://www.oceandocs.org/handle/1834/10736