January President's Letter

Happy New Year!  As we come into another year with the world battling COVID – a moment to recognize the hardship both in human and economic terms at all levels from nations to individuals.  The pandemic continues to re-enforce the critical importance of both science and technology. 

We have two exciting events upcoming.  I hope to see you either virtually or in person at OCEANS 2022 – Chennai 21-24 February and Oceans In Action in Gulfport, MS 7-10 March.

An update on the Executive Director search.  The period for applications closed on January 7th.  Justin Manley, President Elect of MTS, is leading the process.  The process will have three steps.  The President, President Elect and Acting Executive Director reviewed the initial set of candidates to down select to the candidates that were interviewed by a majority of the Board members.  The top two to three candidates will then be panel interviewed by two groups: the remaining Board members and the HQ team. Final candidates will also have one-on-one interviews with three MTS members not on the MTS Board who were asked because of their long and dedicated service to MTS.  The MTS Board panels, the HQ panel and the results of the one-on-one interviews will then be taken into account to select the next Executive Director.  Our goal is to have the new Executive Director in place in early March.

Two events at the end of last year highlighted the importance of the Oceans in Climate.  First was COP26 and the second was the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week 2021. 

At COP26 a critical link was made between the Ocean and Climate. Specifically, the ocean was mentioned in the preamble of the Glasgow Pact, noting “the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including forests, the ocean and the cryosphere […]”. Marine ecosystems were also recognized as “carbon sinks” in Article 21 of the final decision, which emphasizes the importance of the protection, conservation and restoration of terrestrial and marine ecosystems in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Ocean and Climate dialog was asked to consider how to strengthen mitigation and adaptation actions and were invited to host an annual dialog to strength ocean-based actions.  The Ocean/Climate nexus is firmly in the tent under the relevant UNFCCC bodies and work program with annual reporting requirements. While this might sound bureaucratic it is an important recognition and represents a lot of hard work on the part of the entire community.

At GEO Week 2021, held in November, the nexus of Ocean and Climate was highlighted as one of the five anchor sessions.  Listen to the anchor session here, as a teaser are three quotes from Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, United Nations in that session:

  • “There can be no healthy planet without a healthy ocean”
  • “The sustainable Blue Economy will be the basis of human security” 
  • “I affirm, only though accurate and coordinated global observations will we obtain the science we need for the ocean we want.”  

MTS is out and about.  MTS will host a townhall at the AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting on 25 Feb, 10-11 US Eastern Standard Time – talking about the MTS/SUT CMarTech and CMarSci certifications in the workforce for the New Blue Economy.  MTS Board Member Liesl Hotaling and Rick Spinrad, NOAA Administrator and MTS Past President will present on the importance of technology and new skills need for the Blue Economy at the World Ocean Summit.  The World Ocean Summit is a virtual meeting with no cost to register.    

Welcome new commercial and life members: Caribbean Oceanography Aquaculture and Subsea Technology Foundation; Daniel Rudnick; and Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks.

Finally, I call your attention to the Gwyn Griffiths Underwater Robotics Award (GGURA) – the recipient does not need to be an SUT member. I am sure we have many MTS members that are deserving of this award.

I am always happy to engage with our members -  [email protected].

Best Regards,


Zdenka Willis

President, MTS

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