Gordon Research Conferences
Conference Details

Oceans and Human Health
Gordon Research Conference

Conference Information



Initial Year





Meeting Cycle

24 Months

Conference Description

The first Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Oceans and Human Health (OHH) was held in 2008. The motivation for initiating such a conference was to build on the momentum generated by the establishment of OHH research programs and centers by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2004 The scope of OHH research is truly interdisciplinary and encompasses a wide range of topics, including the safety of recreational waters, pharmaceuticals derived from marine organisms, marine pathogens and toxins, harmful algal blooms, seafood safety, and the impact of climate change on the ecosystem services provided by the ocean.

Although initially focused largely on issues related to U.S. coastal waters, the OHH conference is expanding to include international topics, with a greater diversity of invited participants and future venues possibly alternating between the U.S. and other countries. Speakers have been chosen with the expectation that they will present exciting and as yet unpublished results in an arena valued for feedback and scientific discussion and/or give broad, up-to-date overviews of this rapidly evolving and multi-disciplinary field. Issues of public health concern for the OHH GRCs include (1) the presence of toxins, chemical pollutants, bacteria, and viruses in seafood and seafood products (2) recreational exposure to pathogens in contaminated coastal waters, (3) inadequacies associated with the use of concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) as metrics of water quality, (4) spatial and temporal variability in FIB concentrations at recreational beaches, (5) the absence of monitoring for non-enteric pathogens, (6) the use of molecular assays for pathogens and tests for the presence of virulence genes, (7) modeling and prediction of the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs), (8) bioaccumulation in food chains of toxins produced by HABs, (9) isolation, characterization, and culture of marine microbes of potential interest as sources of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, (10) development of new screening protocols to target emerging public health problems, and (11) development of a theoretical understanding and modeling capability to predict the impact of climate change on the ecosystem services provided by the ocean.

The consistent aim of the Gordon Research Conference on Oceans and Human Health has been to bring together in a pleasant setting, an outstanding and diverse group of scientists at the forefront of this multidisciplinary field for the purpose of stimulating informative discussions and productive interactions for future research and applications.

What is a GRC? Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) are 5-day meetings that bring scientists together from around the world to present and discuss unpublished research with other leaders in their field.

Related Conference

This Gordon Research Conference (GRC) series was related to the "Oceans and Human Health" Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) series. Although a related GRS will typically be scheduled in conjunction with its parent GRC each time it meets, that may not always be the case. Refer to the individual meetings in the Meeting History section below for more details. For more information about the associated Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) series, click here.

What is a GRS? Gordon Research Seminars (GRS) are 2-day meetings that bring graduate students and post-docs together to discuss their cutting edge research among peers and mentors. Each GRS immediately precedes an associated Gordon Research Conference (GRC), and topics addressed at the GRS relate closely to the GRC.

Meeting History

YearMeeting NameDatesConference SiteChair(s)
2014 Oceans and Human Health
Anthropogenic Impacts on Coastal Communities and Ecosystems
Jun 1-6 University of New England Helena Solo-Gabriele
J. Evan Ward
2012 Oceans and Human Health Jun 3-8 University of New England D. Jay Grimes
Tracy K. Collier
2010 Oceans and Human Health Jun 13-18 University of New England Edward A. Laws
Lorraine Backer
2008 Oceans and Human Health Jun 29 - Jul 4 Tilton School John J. Stegeman
Lora Fleming
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