From October 15 to 19, 2018 at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba it was held the MarCuba 2018 congress. This congress, held every three years, was organized by the National Oceanographic Committee of Cuba and together with national marine scientific institutions.
The inauguration of the Congress had a beautiful artistic program for the children of its famous National Academy of Ballet Alicia Alonso. Followed by the presentation of the National Award of Marine Sciences to Cuban personalities. Then the Keynote Lecture by José L. Juanes (Cuba), entitled Can the Caribbean have its beaches in the future scenarios of climate change? In it, projects from Cuba for the recovery of dunes that protect the inland area were showed. This type of project could be carried out in Puerto Rico, for example in the area of Loíza.
The rest of the days there was participation from 18 countries, among them were collaborations and individual works from Canada, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, Turkey and Japan. Of the countries in the Gulf of Mexico, which were the ones that had the most presentations, Mexico, the United States and Cuba participated as host, with excellent presentations and projects in progress. Among the topics presented throughout the Congress and the different symposiums in which it was subdivided, the issue of food security and how all the countries in that area are collaborating and should continue to join forces since what happens in a region can affect another was emphasized during the presentations and panels that the congress had.
From our Caribbean region, the only group from Puerto Rico was represented by SAM. In the Symposium II: Climate change and extreme events, on Tuesday 16 in the morning we debuted with the oral presentation of Edwin Hernández: USE OF NUMERICAL MODELS OF ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT FOR THE ECOLOGICAL RECOVERY OF THE CORAL REEFS BEFORE THE CLIMATIC CHANGE; Edwin Hernandez, Miguel Canals, Samuel Suleiman, Elvira Cuevas. In addition, that day Jaime Fonseca presented the first poster entitled: TEMPORARY SPACE VARIABILITY IN THE TISSUE LOSS OF THE BRANCHED CORAL Acropora cervicornis.
The next day at Symposium III: Conservation and Biodiversity, Puerto Rico was duly represented with 3 oral presentations. The first of them entitled GROWTH OF MICROFRAGMENTS FOR THE MASSIVE CORAL SPECIES Orbicella sp. ON TWO DIFFERENT ARTIFICIAL SURFACES by Emmanuel Irizarry-Soto of Puerto Rico who currently performs these works on St. Croix, USVI. The second by Alex Mercado with THE LOSS OF TISSUE INSTEAD OF THE SIZE OF THE COLONY DETERMINES THE DEMOGRAPHIC PERFORMANCE OF THE BRANCHED CORAL Acropora cervicornis, Alex E. Mercado-Molina, Claudia Patricia Ruiz-Diaz, Alberto M. Sabat. Just after, the third was by Edwin Hernández (in his second oral presentation in this congress) entitled COMMUNITY-BASED LOW-TECH CORAL REEF REHABILITATION IMPACTS ON CULEBRA ISLAND HFA FISH ASSEMBLAGES: A BACI APPROACH. Edwin A. Hernandez-Delgado, Samuel E Suleiman Ramos.
Concurrently in the poster presentations of Symposium I: Human impacts and risk management, Frances Candelas presented the second SAM poster related to the ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR VOLUNTEERS IN ACTIVITIES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT.
On Thursday, on the last day of the oral presentations and posters, we had Samuel Suleiman with his speech entitled CITIZENS COMMUNITY SCIENTISTS: A STRATEGY TO MANAGE COASTAL RESOURCES IN RESPONSE TO THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE; Samuel Suleiman, Edwin Hernandez, Alex Mercado, Frances Candelas.
Thanks also to Yanina Rodríguez who accompanied us on this trip for their contributions and ideas for future projects, after listening carefully and seeing various topics of the Congress. This is about shearing with others our jobs and ideas and vice versa to make them a reality. “… because keeping a quarter of the planet is not enough”.