29th Session of the IOC Assembly

Memorial lectures

The Anton Bruun Memorial Lecture Series is dedicated to the memory of the noted Danish oceanographer and first chairman of the Commission, Dr Anton Frederick Bruun. The Anton Bruun Memorial Lectures were established in accordance with Resolution 19 of the 6th session of the IOC Assembly (1970), in which the Commission proposed that important intersession developments be summarized by speakers in the fields of solid earth studies, physical and chemical oceanography and meteorology, and marine biology.

The N.K. Panikkar Memorial Lecture Series is dedicated to the memory of the noted Indian oceanographer Dr N.K. Panikkar. Following a proposal by the German Delegation during the 18th session of the IOC Assembly (1995), which received the support of the Indian delegation, it was decided to hold a Dr Panikkar Lecture during each IOC Assembly to address capacity building in marine science issues at regional and/or national level.



Declining oxygen in the open and coastal ocean

Humankind should show an unwavering will to build the future trajectory of Earth’s climate towards sustainability, habitability and well-being. It is not enough to know where we come from, we also need to shape where we go. The key problem is us: people. The key solution is also us: people. Educating people now should be a call to arms for engaging people in these challenges. The human biogeochemical footprint on the planet is now so large that the future quality and sustainability of environmental resources will be determined by societal choices rather than natural variability. People will have to decide so their ability to manage and improve the quality of both natural and human systems will ultimately depend on their understanding of these multidisciplinary interactions.

Global change encompasses natural and anthropogenically induced climate change impacts upon the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems via a number of drivers. In particular, global change will lead to large scale changes in climate patterns, ocean circulation and stratification and climate while increased atmospheric CO2 levels will lead to acidification of the oceans with significant impacts on oceanic biogeochemical cycles, calcareous organisms and eventually the reproductive success of higher trophic levels. Anthropogenic drivers such as overfishing, pollution and eutrophication impact at both the individual and population levels thereby influencing the competitive ability and dominance of key species and thus the structure of marine ecosystems. Invasive species act also as driver of the human-induced biodiversity crisis. We will pay particular attention to consequences of changes in ocean circulation and stratification, namely declining oxygen concentration (deoxygenation) in the open and coastal ocean and expansion of oxygen minimum zones, onto ecosystem composition, size structure and succession yielding changes in ecological structure, energy flow, and biogeochemical pathways.

IOC-UNESCO created recently a sustained interdisciplinary Global Ocean Oxygen Network (GO2NE) focusing on oceanic oxygen and the risks related to its changing conditions. GO2NE will help improve communication and cooperation between scientific experts and stakeholders, decision makers, local governments, the industrial sector, and the public. Indeed, key to preserving ocean and human health is a raised awareness of the phenomenon of deoxygenation, its causes, consequences and remediation measures. For this endeavor, it will require building capacity in parts of the world where improved technology and training are needed to create this indispensable generation of young scientists capable of developing innovative approaches to succeed at taking up this immense challenge.


Dr Véronique Camille Garçon is currently the International Chair of the Scientific Committee of the SOLAS (Surface Ocean Lower Atmosphere Study) project (SCOR, ICACGP, WCRP, Future Earth). She graduated from University of Paris VII in Environmental Sciences (Energy and Pollutions) in 1981 and then became a post-doc fellow at MIT (Cambridge, USA) from 1982 to 1985.

Recruited as an Early Career scientist at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1985, she worked at Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris then moved down to Toulouse with a sabbatical stay at Princeton University in 1995-1996. Her research themes within the group SYSCO2 for Complex Coupled Systems at LEGOS aim towards understanding and quantifying processes governing fluxes of carbon, oxygen and associated biogeochemical elements in the ocean, using in situ tracers observations, remotely-sensed data, coupled physical biogeochemical modeling and data assimilation technics. She is also deeply involved in oceanic biogeochemical climatic monitoring via electrochemical sensors development.

She served in the JGOFS SSC, member of the French IFREMER Scientific Committee for 10 years, and in many national (CNRS, National Navy...), European (ESF, EC, EGU...) and international scientific instances. She has supervised 17 PhD students and 18 post-docs fellows. She has published more than 98 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.


Capacity building is recognized as a key to ocean sustainability and management. The issue of capacity building in marine conservation, particular in coral reef conservation, is critical and the scale of need is enormous. Typically, there are three levels of capacity; individual, institutional, and societal. However, capacity building strategies usually focus on scientific communities. In this presentation, based on my previous and current experience, I will present different approaches to capacity building in coral reef conservation issues.

Essential mechanism for capacity building is a multi-dimensional approach, networking, and partnership development. It is acknowledged that the process of partnership needs to go beyond the public sector. In addition, capacity building is not a one-time effort, but a continuous improvement strategy toward the creation of a sustainable environment.

Moreover, at present, in many countries, more than half of the population is made up of the youth. Thus, work still needs to be done to build youth capacity. A good role model and a strong leader can motivate a group to enable them to increase awareness of coral conservation and provide momentum. When capacity building is successful, it strengthens and enhances a positive impact of lives and communities including efforts towards the sustainable use of coral reefs. The experiences gained from these strategies and new efforts will be discussed and presented.


Dr. Suchana Chavanich received her bachelor degree in Marine Science from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, before pursuing her master degree in Biology at Central Connecticut State University and her Ph.D. in Zoology at University of New Hampshire, USA. Later on, she was also certified as a scuba diving instructor.

Dr. Chavanich has a broad base of ecological research interests that involve the study of nearshore species from tropical to polar regions. In addition, her research focuses on conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems, particularly coral reefs. Currently, Dr. Chavanich is also the Project Leader of Coastal Marine Biodiversity and Conservation in the Western Pacific under the UNESCO/IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific, as well as an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University.

In Thailand, additional to her research work, Dr. Chavanich is considered to be Thailand’s first female scientist to go to Antarctica and Thailand’s first female scientist to go diving in Antarctica. Her research work on Antarctica has inspired Thai and young people. In 2013, she was selected to be one of the 100 Most Inspiring People in Thailand, and in 2015 as one of 17 Asia Power Women of Inspiration, selected by Her World Magazine. Because of her work, Dr. Chavanich has received several awards, for example, UNESCO-IOC/WESTPAC Outstanding Scientist Award and UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science Award in Thailand.