13-17 May, A.P. Karpinsky Russian Geological Research Institute, with the support from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation and the Federal Agency on Mineral Resources, hosted the International Conference GeoHab 2019 “Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping”. The conference was attended by 165 experts from 28 countries, including representatives of geological surveys in Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Canada, Norway, USA, Finland, Sweden, South Africa (Fig. 1). The event was sponsored by such large international companies as R2Sonic, ESRI, Teledyne, Furgo, Norbit, Ecotone.
GEOHAB (Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping) is an international association of marine scientists researching the geological, biological, and physical oceanographic processes as markers of benthic habitats and ecosystems and used as indicators for biological communities and species diversity (http://geohab.org).
Fig. 1. Number of GeoHab 2019 conference participants from around the world
GeoHab conferences are major international forums in the field of marine geology and the development of advanced technologies for the seabed mapping (Geo – “Marine Geological Mapping” geological mapping, Hab – “Biological Habitat Mapping” – mapping of underwater landscapes. Conference motto: Geological mapping as the basis of marine research). Conferences are organized annually in various countries around the world and bring together geologists, geophysicists, GIS specialists, biologists, and engineers involved in geological and biological mapping of seas, oceans, and large lakes.
In 2019, the GeoHab Conference was first held in Russia.
An important feature of the GeoHab conferences is an interdisciplinary approach to research (Fig. 2), as well as much attention paid to modern technologies both in field and laboratory investigations, and in materials processing using GIS technologies.
Fig. 2. Main areas of research, the results of which are presented at the GeoHab conference
The conference was opened by FGUP “VSEGEI” Director General Dr. O. Petrov. The conference featured 49 full oral presentations, 38 oral presentations in the form of short messages, as well as 86 poster presentations, 23 of which were accompanied by short oral presentations. The main topics (sessions) of the conference were: “Geological and biological landscape mapping in coastal zones and shallow waters”, “Mapping of deep-water zones and shelves”, “Mining of the seas and oceans bottom”, “Mapping of submarine gas seeps and groundwater discharges”, “Coral reefs mapping”, “Impact of oceanographic processes on underwater landscapes”, “Shelf mapping and geoarchaeology”. In fact, reports on the results of the European project EMODnet became a separate session. VSEGEI employees D.V. Ryabchuk, V.A. Zhamoida, V.A. Shakhverdov, A.V. Evdokimenko, I.A. Neevin presented several oral and poster presentations on mapping the underwater landscapes in the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, as well as monitoring the geological environment of Lake Baikal bottom. The reports arose interest and lively discussions.
On May 13, a pre-conference interactive seminar “Seabed geomorphology (geomorphological features: distinguishing, mapping, classification)” was organized.
GeoHab conferences provide an opportunity to get acquainted with the latest world achievements in the field of marine geological mapping and interdisciplinary research, as well as show the results of their latest projects. The synergy arising from scientific communication during the GeoHab conferences leads to the expansion of international relations, elaboration of new joint international research projects, and development of scientific cooperation between countries.
For the conference participants, an exhibition of new software and technology developments of sponsoring companies was organized, as well as an interesting social program.