Report: Advances in Marine Biogeochemistry Conference, 6th-8th Jan 2016

Report: Advances in Marine Biogeochemistry Conference, 6th-8th Jan 2016

The Department of Earth Sciences opened its doors to marine science at the start of 2016. The Advances in Marine Biogeochemistry (or AMBIO) Conference is a specialist and biennial gathering of The Challenger Society for Marine Science, where delegates focus discussion on the advancing trends in marine biogeochemical research. The department hosted more than 70 visitors from the UK and overseas, over 3 days, including alumna Dr Kate Hendry (Hertford, 2004) among the invited Keynote speakers.

‘Oxford has hosted a record number of AMBIO delegates in 2016, and has proved to be a hugely popular event for our members,’ said Dr Gary Fones, who Chairs the Marine Biogeochemistry Forum and fronted the event.

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Each day was focused around a series of seminars, with regular breakouts for poster presentations and in-depth discussion held in the Researcher’s Common Room, overlooking Oxford’s skyline in the winter sun. The event was organised by Dr Will Homoky, Research Fellow in the Department of Earth Sciences and Fellow of the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

‘We were delighted to build a programme that reflected the great majority of active student and early career scientists in our field, including an intrinsic balance of gender across talks and prizes,’ explained Will.

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The Department supported a working lunch at the close of the meeting, aimed at improving the retention of diversity within the research student body through academic career paths in marine science. A discussion, led by the Challenger Society President Prof. Tim Jickells (University of East Anglia) and President Elect Prof. Rachel Mills (University of Southampton), was well-attended by AMBIO participants from Oxford and a variety of UK HEIs. An outcome of this meeting will be for the Challenger Society to establish a framework for knowledge exchange and mentoring across participant institutes that will help its members develop equitable opportunities for marine scientific research careers in the UK.

Department Head, Prof. Gideon Henderson, who also sits on Council for the Challenger Society said, ‘AMBIO has been a great success this year, thanks to the energy of all its participants. It is fantastic that we can serve as hosts for this meeting and cement Oxford’s partnerships with the UK marine science community.’


The Marine Biogeochemistry Forum is a Special Interest Group of the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

Marine Biogeochemistry Forum Prizes were awarded as follows (with thanks to AMBIO sponsors The Challenger Society for Marine Science and Planet Ocean Ltd):

Early Career Researcher Presentation Award:

Mark Hopwood, GEOMAR, Germany

Three flaws in our perception of glaciers as nutrient sources to marine ecosystems”


Student Oral Presentation Award:

Anna Belcher, University of Southampton, UK

The relative roles of particle associated microbes and zooplankton on POC

remineralisation in the upper mesopelagic of the Scotia Sea, Antarctica”


Student Poster Presentation Award:

Yet-Yee Yin, University of Malaysia, Terengganu, Malaysia

Seasonal and spatial distributions of nutrient and dissolved oxygen in Brunei Bay, southern South China Sea”


The Challenger Society for Marine Science is a learned society for marine scientists in the UK. It is named after the ship H.M.S. Challenger, which between 1872 and 1876 conducted what are still regarded the most important marine studies ever made, laying the foundations for ocean scientific research. Today, the society is the foremost representation of the marine science research community in the UK.