On the 17th -19th of October 2023 Qingdao (China) welcomed a long-awaited conference - the sixth China-Russia Bilateral Workshop, which was organized between the Institute of Oceanology Chinese Academy of Sciences (IO CAS) and the A.V. Zhirmunsky National Scientific Center of Marine Biology Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (NSCMB FEB RAS). The long-awaited conference of the two major Institutes for studying ocean biology was interrupted by pandemic (Covid-19) and administrative instability during the last few years. During this time the Corr. Member of RAS Igor Yu. Dolmatov was elected Director of NSCMB FEB RAS after approval of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Igor Yu. Dolmatov set a goal before the International Department to bring the cooperation to a new level and to achieve significant breakthrough in cooperation with scientific and educational institutions of China. The previous joint workshop between the IO CAS and the NSCMB FEB RAS was held in 2019 (the first one was in 2007, all workshops are conducted according to the Cooperation Agreement).

The sixth conference was held under the title of “China – Russia Bilateral Workshop on Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing Ocean: toward Sustainable Development Goals”. Director of IO CAS, Prof. Fan Wang opened the Workshop. Prof. Fan Wang is famous Chinese oceanographer who pointed out in his welcome speech the intention of the Chinese side to significantly develop the scientific cooperation between the two institutions. Prof. Fan Wang also mentioned the long period of cooperation since the first scientists from IBM FEB RAS had come in 1989, but the most productive cooperation period started in 2006 with the signing of the Cooperation Agreement.

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Director of the NSCMB FEB RAS Igor Yu. Dolmatov supported Prof. Fang Wang in his welcome speech and listed the successes of joint activities for the last 17 years; there were 5 workshops, academic exchanges, joint articles and projects, publication of the generalized monograph on the ecosystems of the northwestern Pacific. Igor Yu. Dolmatov wished successful work to participants of the conference. The Directors of the two institutions, Fan Wang and Igor Yu. Dolmatov, and the heads of the future Laboratory Prof. Xiaoxia and Deputy Director for International Cooperation Dr. Konstantin A. Lutaenko confirmed their words with ceremony in the honor of signing the Agreement of establishment of the joint laboratory of marine biology and ecology. After the signing ceremony, Directors of institutions exchanged gifts.

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The first plenary session of the Workshop was opened with 4 reports – Prof. Fan Wang spoke about history, goals, structure, issues, and achievements of the Institute of Oceanology CAS; Director of the NSCMB FEB RAS Igor Yu. Dolmatov represented the same report about NSCMB FEB RAS. Honorary Director of the IO CAS, Prof. Sun Song, well known marine biologist, spoke about sustainability and health of the oceans and related efforts to improve and monitor the environment, climate and ecosystems in China. Scientific Supervisor of the (President) NSCMB FEB RAS, RAS Academician Andrei V. Adrianov gave a report on the deep-sea ecosystems of the northwestern Pacific.

During the meeting, the Director of the scientific and educational complex "Primorsky Aquarium", a branch of the NSCMB FEB RAS, Olga Shevchenko made a report about activities of the institution, she spoke about the exhibitions of the Primorsky Aquarium, the research and environmental educational activities carried out within its walls.

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There were 3 sessions (without plenary talk session) with the following topics:

  • Dynamic biodiversity in a Changing Ocean;
  • Ecological safety and ecosystem health;
  • Poster session.

There were reports which arouse interest: deep-sea theme (Dr. Tatyana N. Dautova, Scientific Head of the Laboratory of Deep-Sea Research in the NSCMB FEB RAS and Prof. Xu Kuidong,); microalgae, their communities, and the toxins that they produce, red tides (the report of the Deputy Director for Science Dr. Tatyana Yu. Orlova and Prof. Yu Rencheng); distribution, systematics, and ecology of sipunculids (Dr. Anastassia S. Maiorova, the Scientific Head of the Laboratory of Marine Ecosystem Dynamics); parasitic isopods Isopoda (Dr. Olga A. Golovan); boring polychaetes Polychaeta (Dr. Vasiliy I. Radashevsky); distribution of microplastic and its influence on bottom and planktonic organisms (Dr. Viacheslav S. Odintsov and Prof. Sun Xiaoxia), nervous and sensory system of bivalves (Dr. Elena M. Sayenko), etc.

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The poster session was distinguished with diversity of topics (biodiversity, taxonomy, molecular genetic studies, lipid biochemistry, extinct faunas, etc.) and bright poster designs. The researchers from the institutes and universities of Vladivostok, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, who could not come because of the financial difficulties, took part in absentia and presented their scientific reports in posters, which were kindly printed by the Chinese Organizing Committee.

The inviting organization presented for the participants of the Workshop a welcome tour through the IO CAS buildings and Museum. On the next day the participants visited the new Institute campus, which the city of Qingdao had built. The campus is located in the prestigious Huangdao area on the opposite shore of the Jiaozhou Bay. The campus is associated with the College of Marine Sciences of the University of CAS, it has well equipped scientific buildings, hotels, conference-halls and congress center, and residences on the seafront. The attitude towards science in China impresses both locally and on the central level. Science funding is on increasing pace, and the quality of scientific publications is growing. One can see that in the list of magazines of IO CAS where the researchers’ science papers are published.

The establishing of the first joint laboratory with Chinese scientists in the NSCMB FEB RAS imposes special obligations and greater responsibility to us.

More than 50 people have taken part in the Workshop – 30 Chinese researchers and postgraduates, including colleagues from the Institute of research of coastal zone (Yantai). There were 20 Russian participants: 15 colleagues from NSCMB FEB RAS, 3 participants from the Federal Scientific Center of the East Asia Terrestrial Biodiversity FEB RAS, and colleagues from V.I. II’ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute FEB RAS.

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Every participant was given the printed abstracts of presentations, presents, and memorable souvenirs. Russian participants enjoyed the famous and delicious Chinese food at the banquets, which has exceeded all expectations. The workshop was conducted in a friendly and warm atmosphere, the organization was great. But the most importantly this conference will provide cooperation and development of relationships between IO CAS and NSCMB FEB RAS and will contribute to the good of all Russian marine biology. The participants noticed a good teamwork of Joint Organizing Committee, International Cooperation Department of the NSCMB FEB RAS, and the group of the Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee Prof. Sun Xiaoxia.

The new era of cooperation between two major worldwide centers of marine biology of China and Russia began on a high note.

View/Download   programme of the Workshop.

View/Download   abstracts of the Workshop.

NSCMB FEB RAS International Cooperation Department