Earlier this month, UNCW hosted its first Global Marine Science Summit at the university’s Center for Marine Science.
The event, held Nov. 5 through 8, brought together international scientists, policy-makers and industry leaders to address the very complex environmental and economic issues facing coastal regions around the world.
Approximately 150 individuals, including representatives from 15 countries, participated in panel discussions and presentations that examined ways communities can recover from hazardous events - such as hurricanes, coastal flooding and environmental change - as well as marine environment restoration and protection.
Information from the summit will be used to communicate and work with local, state and federal agencies tasked with setting policies to manage and sustain coastal systems.
Here in Wilmington, we know well the importance of coastal resilience and blue economy sustainability. Our community understands the social and economic benefits of protecting our area’s marine resources.
Responsible management and stewardship are issues that certainly hit close to home, but these concerns are not unique to our region; they are global concerns. By working with members of other coastal communities, we are more likely to find solutions to the challenges we are all facing.
This was the impetus for the Global Marine Science Summit.
For more than 30 years, UNCW has been at the forefront of marine science research and education. An abundance of applied learning and faculty-directed research opportunities - and the university’s location - make UNCW’s marine science program unlike any other.
Today, UNCW’s coastal and marine research facilities include the Center for Marine Science, the MARBIONC marine biotechnology facility, the UNCW Shellfish Research Hatchery, the UNCW Finfish Aquaculture Facility and the Oriole Burevitch Laboratory for the study of marine mammals. The College of Arts and Sciences offers a Ph.D. in marine biology and Master of Science degrees in biology, chemistry, coastal and ocean policy, and environmental studies.
Undergraduate students are able to earn degrees in biology and marine biology, earth and ocean sciences, environmental sciences, physics and physical oceanography, and chemistry and biochemistry. The Global Marine Science Summit leveraged UNCW’s expertise in these areas with that of international and U.S. partner institutions to develop solutions for global marine science issues and improve the economic climate of coastal regions.
The summit also opened the door for future collaboration. UNCW faculty and students forged new relationships in the U.S. and abroad that I am confident will, in the coming months, lead to partnerships, as well as student exchange and study-abroad opportunities for UNCW students.
UNCW is committed to advancing research and enhancing learning for our students. We are also committed to community engagement. The Global Marine Science summit was an opportunity to do both.
It is exciting to think that information shared at the event will affect coastal communities around the world and here at home. We are already looking toward the future and planning the next Global Marine Science Summit in 2019.
Aswani Volety, Ph.D., is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology. Volety earned a Ph.D. in marine science from the College of William & Mary, and a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Andhra University. The College of Arts and Sciences is UNCW’s largest academic unit, employing over 450 full-time and 150 part-time faculty members and awarding approximately three quarters of the university’s academic credits. Volety serves as the chief academic, fiscal and administrative officer of the college, which is responsible for educating students across the arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences, and includes the UNCW Center for Marine Science. Volety is also the current president of the Southern Association of Marine Labs.To learn more about the UNCW College of Arts and Sciences, visit www.uncw.edu/cas. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].
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