The 7th Particles in Europe (PiE) conference successfully concluded Thursday 5th October at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) on the beautiful island of Crete, Greece. PiE 2023 was co-organized by Sequoia Scientific, Inc. and HCMR and more than 30 attendees from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, The Netherlands, UK and the USA listened to and discussed the high-quality presentations characteristic of PiE 2023.
Two keynote speakers, Professor Thorbjørn J. Andersen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Dr. Aris Karageorgis (HCRM, Greece) set the tone with two different, but equally engaging and informing keynotes.
Professor Andersen spoke about riverine microplastic and suspended sediment interaction using a case study from Tanzania. His main conclusion was that microplastics will flocculate with the suspended sediment, but only up to a size of ~500 um. The modelling implications of this is that small microplastics < 500 um in size should be treated as cohesive sediment, i.e., model the cohesive sediment transport and assume the microplastics to be transported the same way.
Dr. Karageorgis presented a 28-year dataset of optical measurements in the Aegean Sea. The dataset focused on measurements of cp, the beam attenuation related to particles. The data showed the presence of several Intermediate Nepheloid Layers (INL’s) in various basins of the Aegean Sea, which could be correlated with internal wave reflection at the slope of the basins. A 10-year dataset of LISST-Deep data showed decreasing volume concentrations with depth in both the North and South Aegean Sea. However, in the North Aegean Sea there was no change in particle size with depth, whereas in the South Aegean Sea particle size clearly increased with depth. The reason for these long-term and persistent regional differences in particle size dynamics are still under investigation. Overall, Dr. Karageorgis’ dataset and presentation very clearly showed the value of repeated measurements over several decades to better understand particle dynamics on a basin scale.
20+ other very high-quality presentations of all aspects of particles, particle dynamics, particle interaction and particle observations in the aquatic environment were given by the attendees. Throughout lunches and coffee breaks there was lively discussion of the various data presented, clearly demonstrating the valuable environment that PiE provides for suspended particle researchers.
There was also time for a significant cultural element: An excursion to the Bronze age archaeological site of Knossos gave attendees an opportunity to learn about the Minoan culture on Crete.
This was followed by a guided tour of the Cretaquarium, the largest aquarium in Greece, which focuses on the marine fauna of the Mediterranean. The tour of the aquarium was followed by drinks and music and dancing on the aquarium patio and later by a conference dinner in the aquarium between the fish tanks – a highly unique setting.
During the conference dinner, the inaugural winner of the Eva & Yogi Agrawal Award was revealed: Dr. Spyros Chaikalis from HCMR, who was presented with a $2,000 award and a plaque. All PiE 2023 presenters are eligible for being nominated for the next Eva & Yogi Agrawal Award at the next PiE (time and location TBD).
In short, PiE 2023 was a successful re-start of the PiE conference series after a 5-year hiatus due to the pandemic. This was also evident from the evaluation sent out to all attendees after the conference: 95% of attendees agreed or strongly agreed that the presentations were of high quality and that PiE was good value for money and time spent.
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