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8th International Aquarium Congress: Internationally Renowned Scientists to Speak


The Two Oceans Aquarium is proud to announce the guest speakers for the 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC) which is set to take place in Cape Town, South Africa from 9 to 14 September 2012.  Internationally renowned scientists Dr Camille Parmesan, Doctor Elin Kelsey and Professor George Branch have all confirmed their attendance and will deliver key note addresses during the opening ceremony of the 8th IAC on 10 September 2012.
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Named "Outstanding Woman Working on Climate Change, " by the IUCN, and as a “Who’s Who of Women and the Environment” by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Dr Camille Parmesan was ranked by Reuters ISI Web of Science as the second most highly cited author in the field of climate change in 2010. She has been involved as an author and reviewer in multiple reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and shares in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC in 2007.

Her research focuses on the current impacts of climate change on wildlife, from field-based work on American and European butterflies to  analyses of global impacts on a broad range of species across terrestrial and marine biomes. She works actively with governmental agencies and NGOs to help develop conservation assessment and planning tools aimed at preserving biodiversity in the face of climate change.  Dr Parmesan is a Professor in Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin and holds the National Aquarium Chair in the Public Understanding of Oceans and Human Health at the Marine Institute, University of Plymouth, UK where her role focuses on advocacy, lobbying and public outreach and engagement.
Dr Kelsey will deliver a keynote for the 8th IAC that positions "hope" as an emerging narrative for aquariums around the world. According to Kelsey, “Aquariums have a unique ability to engender emotional connections between people, animals and environments”. The keynote will recognize the essential leadership role that aquariums play in engaging communities of all kinds with environmental and sustainability issues, and situate it within the growing evidence that children and adults are suffering from "eco-phobia", "environmental grief", "environmental despair" and a number of other emotional and psychological reactions to being bombarded with "gloom and doom" about the state of the planet. Kelsey will highlight innovative examples such as Nancy Knowlton and Jeremy Jackson’s "Beyond the Obituaries" Smithsonian Institute Program which gathers marine scientists for day-long workshops at international meetings to share aquatic conservation success stories. She will also provide insights into how the Monterey Bay Aquarium has created a hopeful exhibit about climate change, and how framing conservation management of the Great Barrier Reef in terms of social ecological resiliency has resulted in more fish, bigger fish, in just three years.
Kelsey is currently conducting an empowerment evaluation for 40 aquariums across the USA engaged in communicating climate change and the oceans. She is a Visiting Scholar at the James Cook University studying hope and the environment among conservation biologists, environmental educators and the public and is also working with Stanford University in the USA on an international study to identify key areas for environmental education research by 2020. Her most recent children’s book, a hopeful book about the environment – Not Your Typical Book About the Environment (Owl kids, 2010) won the 2011 Green Earth Book Award.
Emeritus Professor George Branch is a world renowned authority on the southern African marine environment, having taught marine biology at the University of Cape Town for thirty years and supervised an immense crop of students at MSc and PhD level. His passionate and entertaining lectures to undergraduate students and the public alike inspire a huge appreciation and understanding of the marine world.
Professor Branch has been widely recognised for his contributions to marine science, having received the International Temperate Reef Award: Lifetime Contributions to Marine Science (2006), the Gilchrist Gold Medal for contributions to marine science (1994) and the Gold Medal of the Zoological Society of Southern Africa (1992). Besides having authored 228 peer-reviewed publications and 203 journal papers, Professor Branch is also the author of three seminal books on the marine life of southern Africa including the award-winning “The Living Shores of Southern Africa” and “Two Oceans – a Field Guide to Marine Life”. His marine and wildlife photographs have been published in a variety of journals, magazines and books and he has held three exhibitions of photographs of marine life. He is a member of 23 national and four international committees and holds the chairmanship of eleven of these.
Professor Branch will focus attention on the uniqueness of the two oceans that meet at the southern tip of Africa, their effects on the climate of the sub-continent, and the incredible biodiversity that exists in the terrestrial and marine environments in this region.  He will also highlight the important role that the Two Oceans Aquarium has played in recent marine research in the region.

Early bird registration is now open for the 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC) which will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 9 to 13 September 2012.  Exhibition sales have also opened and a limited number of exciting sponsorship opportunities are available. Hosted by the Two Oceans Aquarium, this is the first time that the Congress will be held in Africa and indeed in the southern hemisphere.
The IAC is the most important and prestigious event for the global public aquarium industry. Held every four years, it is the only international platform which gathers decision makers and professionals from the global public aquarium community to share and learn about new developments in the fields of inter alia animal husbandry, research, technology, management, education, conservation and sustainability. Approximately 500 of the world’s most influential aquarium personnel and key decision makers in exhibitory, conservation, sustainability and education are expected to attend the 8th IAC.
Registration is open and early bird registration closes on 31 January 2012.  Prospective presenters are now invited to submit their abstracts for papers or posters. For more information please log on to and sign up to LinkedIn and Twitter.
Contact to receive details regarding exhibition space and sponsorship opportunities.  ENDS

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