Below The Surface At SAMS

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The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, delivering marine science for a productive and sustainably-managed marine environment through research, education and engagement with society. This week sees the start of a regular column from the association.

Events season
September is a hugely busy month for events at SAMS as we host hundreds of delegates across three national conferences.
As well hosting a conference on deep sea research and biogeochemistry, SAMS is organising the UK Arctic Science Conference, to be held in the Corran Halls from September 19-21.
Up to 130 scientists are expected to attend the Arctic conference and there will be a public talk on September 19 by BBC broadcaster Tom Heap, a familiar face to Countryfile viewers. Anyone with an interest in Arctic science can attend the talk in the Corran Halls at 7.30pm.

Congratulations and welcome to our students
Our graduation ceremony will take place in the Argyllshire Gathering Halls tomorrow (Friday) with Michael Russell MSP giving the keynote address.
The new intake of University of the Highlands and Islands students on our BSc in Marine Science will bring the total number of undergraduates to 112 for the next academic year, pushing the total number of students close to 200.
This week saw the opening of new student accommodation at the foot of Jacob’s Ladder on Tweeddale Street in Oban.

Colin Griffiths retires
Our longest-serving member of staff has retired, having first joined SAMS (then the Scottish Marine Biological Association) in 1982.
Marine science technician Colin Griffiths, who lives in Taynuilt, had a wealth of experience and knowledge from years of research cruises and filled many important roles at the lab.
Having been on a number of polar cruises, Colin has seen his fair share of wonders on his travels, including a pod of Orca whales, Blue whales, polar bears and Emperor penguins.
But perhaps his most memorable moment was in February 2000 when a research ship he was on was hit by a 95-foot wave, the largest wave ever recorded by scientific instruments in the open ocean.

Ivan Ezzi
The SAMS family was saddened to hear of the death of former support scientist, ship’s husband and health and safety advisor Ivan Ezzi on August 26. Ivan, who lived in Benderloch, worked for SAMS from 1974 to 2013. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and former colleagues.

European role for SAMS professor
Our current head of science, Professor Sheila Heymans, will take up a role as executive director for the influential European Marine Board, Europe’s leading think-tank in marine science policy.

Prof Heymans, who is originally from Namibia, will be based in Ostend, Belgium, and will start her new job on January 10.

Besides the new challenge of policy development work, Prof Heymans admitted she was looking forward to ‘beer, chocolate and sunnier weather’!

Film night
More than 100 people attended a screening of the acclaimed environmental film A Plastic Ocean at Oban Phoenix Cinema last Tuesday.
The screening, which highlighted the vast extent of plastic waste in the ocean, was organised by Capturing Our Coast, a UK-wide citizen science project run by SAMS in Scotland.

Love is in the air
It seems to be wedding season at SAMS, as we celebrate two marriages.
PhD student Ruth Paterson and former student Dr Greg Moschonas, who now works with Argyll and Bute Council, tied the knot in Port Appin on August 19.

On Saturday September 2, ecological modeller Dr Tom Adams and physical oceanographer Dr Marie Porter were married at Lunga, Ardfern. Congratulations to both couples.