WCMB 2023: Conference Roundup

by | Aug 3, 2023 | Collections, Community, Conferences, Hubs

The 6th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity (WCMB 2023) was successfully held on the beautiful island of Penang in Malaysia on the 2nd to 5th of July 2023. The conference brought together a total of 400 leading scientists, policymakers, conservationists, early career ocean professionals and other stake holders from 50 countries across the globe, making this one of the largest gatherings since the inception of the WCMB series.



Presenters and attendees of 6th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity are still able to contribute to the WCMB 2023 Conference Collection – see https://peerj.com/special-issues/129-wcmb23 for full details. The deadline to submit an abstract for consideration is 8th December 2023.



The primary objectives of WCMB were to share new innovations and knowledge relating to marine biodiversity, and to collaborate on different strategies towards the management, protection, and sustainable use of the marine ecosystem in general. The conference was also supported by the local government, indicative of the importance of marine related issues for the country of Malaysia.

A total of 11 thematic symposia, seven special sessions, and a workshop on the theme of “Marine Biodiversity Challenges in the Anthropocene” enabled a broad range of interests and critical issues related to marine biodiversity to be discussed. Among the special sessions were discussions from the World Register of Marine Species (WORMS), Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) and Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI). The special sessions were a true treat to the conference attendees as new networks and ideas were forged. This edition of WCMB also featured six prominent keynote speakers.

A gala dinner sponsored by the Penang Chief Minister’s Office was held, with all participants treated to an exquisite banquet dinner with myriad traditional dance performances. We encouraged participants to don the cultural or traditional attire from their respective countries to add colour to the night. Four sponsored draw prizes were given out, including complimentary hotel stays in Penang and a grand prize of two business class tickets to London sponsored by Malaysia Airlines.

During the last day of WCMB 2023, the General Assembly for the International Association for Biological Oceanography (IABO) was held where Dr. Enrique Montes, now immediate past president of the association, handed over the torch to Prof. Dr. Judith Gobin as the next President of IABO. The closing ceremony of the conference also acknowledged the two best oral presentations and the two best poster presentations, which were presented with an award and an APC waiver granted by PeerJ: the official publishing partner of WCMB and IABO.


“The organising committee must be commended for a very well organised WCMB 2023 Conference that was of a very high standard. Having attended a number of the sessions, I am personally very pleased that globally, marine science is in great hands and moreso with the large numbers of young women marine scientists who presented!” Prof. Dr. Judith Gobin, IABO President.


Overall, the four days of meetings, presentations and discussions culminated with positive outcomes, whereby participants took home good memories, new connections and potentially new avenues paving the way forward for their research. This meeting was indeed a successful one and of utmost importance to continue our efforts towards the betterment and awareness of global marine biodiversity issues. We look forward to seeing everybody again in the next WCMB in Belgium.

Prof. Dr. Aileen Tan, WCMB Chair
Dr Abe Woo, WCMB Co-chair


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