Workshop in Mauritania, Photo: Khallahi Brahim

21.12.17 | The workshop taking place under the lead of the Mauritanian Institute of Oceanigraphic Research and Fisheries (Institut Mauritanien de Recherches Océanographiques et de Pêches, IMROP) from 4th to 8th December 2017 in Nouadhibou focused on international collaborative research efforts in the marine and coastal environments of Mauritania and on the sustainable use of these ecosystems. It was an opportunity for scientists from IMROP, the Instituto Español de Oceanografia, the Universidad de Vigo, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), from Senckenberg am Meer, MARUM and ZMT to establish networks and share information on important research findings.

The ZMT was represented by Scientific Director Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Dr. Nicolas Dittert, Chief Financial Officer, and Dr. Henry Wu, postdoc in the working group Geoecology and Carbonate Sedimentology. One topic of discussion was the discovery of an extensive cold-water coral reef ecosystem teeming with life that is vulnerable to oil and gas exploitations. Past and future climate change impacts on the Mauritanian coast and in the Golfe d’Arguin were discussed, as well as impressive biodiversity hotspots including the Banc d’Arguin National Park and the Diawling National Park. With their sea grass meadows, intertidal mudflats, wetlands and mangroves these parks provide significant refuge for fisheries and migratory birds.

The workshop also laid the foundation for IMROP and the Mauritanian researchers to establish a research data archive portal for the future implementation of a Geographical Information System (GIS) on the regional research in collaboration with the ZMT and its digital platform DigiZ. At the conclusion of the workshop, a summary was presented to government representatives of Mauritania (Minister of Environment, Minister of Education, and Minister of Fisheries) and the ambassadors of Germany and Spain to Mauritania.