CMS PhD candidate Bianca Haas attended the São Paulo School of Advanced Science on Ocean Interdisciplinary Research and Governance (spsas-ocean) in Brazil from 13 to 26 August 2018 . Around 50 students from Brazil and 50 students from other countries participated. Overall, students from 21 different Universities were present. The focus was to promote interdisciplinarity in ocean research. During these two weeks, students learned about ocean governance, marine spatial planning, social ecological systems and much more. The days were filled by talks from experienced scientists such as Jake Rice, Alan Simcock, Angelo Bernardino, Anne Langaas Gossé, or Fábio Hazin. After the talks there were poster presentations, where each participant had to present a poster about their work, or tutoring sessions. For the tutoring sessions each student was allocated to a speaker, concerning their expertise, and the tutors offered advice regarding the participant’s project. These tutoring sessions provided a great environment to communicate with the experts.
At the tenth day of spsas-ocean participants had a field trip to Santos, where they could see the importance to engage with different stakeholders and scientific areas. Santos is a coastal city not far away from São Paulo. This area contains important ecosystems such as the Atlantic Rainforest, which is decimated to only 7% of the former distribution. Furthermore, this area is also a transition zone for different habitats and species. Besides the ecological importance, this region also plays an important economic role as it accommodates the biggest port in South America and oil refinery. These industrial areas lead to pollution in this area, with an incredibly high amount of heavy metals in the water. Moreover, this region is characterised by a large gap between rich and poor. Slums with more than 25 000 people are located at the back of the city, whereas on the waterfront the prices for apartments and the income of the people is comparable to Sweden. The distance between the slums and the waterfront is only 5km.
On the last day, participants had the task to address the problems in Santos in smaller groups. The aim was to create a policy proposal concerning the best way of dealing with a selected problem. These problems were for example plastic pollution, the resettlement of the slums, or coastal erosion.
For more information about the courses (all presentations are online) and the speakers please visit the website https://spsasocean.wixsite.com/spsas-ocean.
By Bianca Haas