The 43rd annual Benthic Ecology Meeting (BEM) will be held in Jacksonville Florida on the campus of the University of North Florida from March 19-22, 2014. BEM is one of the largest scientific gatherings for marine biologists in the USA.
Benthic ecology refers to the study of the plants and animals that live on or within the sea floor and their interrelationships with their environment. “The BEM encompasses research on some of the most ecologically and economically important habitats and species on earth,” said Matthew Gilg, event organizer and Associate Professor of Biology from the University of North Florida. “This includes coral reefs and the fisheries they support as well as oysters, mussels, crabs and other economically important invertebrates.”
Approximately 600 registrants from around the United States and the world are expected. “We have received abstracts from several countries already and from all over the U.S.” said Gilg. Registrants include university faculty and full time marine researchers as well as up and coming graduate and undergraduate students. Gilg notes that nearly 400 oral and poster presentations are expected. Some of the session topics include habitat restoration, coral reef ecology, larval ecology and invasive species.
The four day event will kick off with a social Wednesday evening. Scientific presentations follow Thursday through Saturday. Poster sessions will be held Thursday evening along with the Beneath the Waves film festival. The grand finale of the event will be a banquet on Saturday evening. The goal of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival is to give the oceans a voice through digital media and scientific storytelling. Film submissions are being accepted until February 15st.