2016 INCISE Symposium

The INCISE 2016 symposium was held in Victoria, British Colombia.

The meeting was a great success (as seen by all the smiling faces!), with very interesting presentations and keynote talks on all aspects of submarine canyon research. 

INCISE Working Groups

Working Group 1: Canyon processes in space and time

WG coordinator: Aaron Micallef 

Present at INCISE2014 discussion: Aaron Micallef, Nathalie Valette, Stephen Thomas, Domenico Ridente, Albert Palanques, Claire Millet, Kainam Mao, Jenny Gales , Rafael Fonseca, Tim Collart, Gareth Carter, Maria Azpiroz, Anita

Present at INCISE2016 discussion:  Albert Palanques, Silvia Ceramicola, Will Symons, Charlie Paull, Gareth Carter, Idalia Machuca, Tim Duda, James Liu, David Amblas, Katie Coble, Jingping Xu, Andrea Ogston, Susan Allen, Karina Ramos-Musalem, Blair Greenan, Cooper Stacey, Alexandre Normandeau, Madeileine Hamann, Steve Mihaly, Gordon Zhang, Esther Sumner

Discussion topics:

  • What are the spatial and temporal scales of canyons forms and processes? How do they relate across scales?
  • Do canyons mostly form through frequent, small scale processes or through rare, large-scale catastrophic events? Or both?
  • How do the above correlate with biological variation and spatial distribution of biodiversity?

Working Group 2: Patterns in submarine canyons: role of scale and heterogeneity

WG coordinator: Steve Ross  

Present at INCISE2014 discussion: Steve Ross, Claudio Lo Iacono, Marie-Claire Fabri, Tahmeena Aslam, Tim Shank, Laetitia Gunton, Sara Roman, Fabio Matos, Martina Pierdomenico, Katleen Robert, Craig Robertson, Andrew Davies

Present at INCISE2016 discussion: Claudio Lo Iacono (chair), Fabio Matos (rapporteur), Gary Green, Laetitia Gunton (taking notes), Natalie Valette-Silver, Kevin Power, Neus Campanà, Chih-Lin Wei, Marie-Claire Fabri, Pauline Chauvet

Discussion topics:

  • Can we quantify heterogeneity in canyons and does it vary between canyons?
  • What causes the patterns in canyon communities and is there a universal community?
  • Why is there not more physical data?  Is this what is most needed?
  • What data do we need now?  Most important?
  • What processes control patterns?
  • How similar are canyons across a gradient?
  • How much do canyons influence an area on the larger scale?
  • Are “active” canyons more/less biodiverse than “passive” ones?


Bibliography on submarine canyon research, compiled by F. Matos, S. Ross and the WG2 participants. Will be updated regularly. Download the database (version August 2017): Ross, Steve W; Matos, Fábio L; Lo Iacono, Claudio; Fabri, Marie-Claire; Aslam, Tahmeena; Shank, Timothy; Gunton, Laetitia; Roman, Sara; Pierdomenico, Martina; Robert, Katleen; Robertson, Craig; Davies, Andrew; Amaro, Teresa; Cunha, Marina R; Almeida, Mariana (2017). A bibliographic compilation of literature and related metadata concerning global submarine canyon research, Mendeley Data, v1. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17632/kympfxbcwm.1

Working Group 3: Submarine canyon conservation

WG coordinators: Jaime Davies, Ashley Rowden

Present at INCISE2014 discussion: Heather Stewart, Martha Nizinski, Tom Munroe, Khaira Ismail, Kerry Howell, Ulla Fernandez-Arcaya, Florence Sanchez, Jeremy Potter, Lenaick Menot, Pere Puig, Peter Harris, Ashley Rowden

Present at INCISE2016 discussion: Jaime Davies, Peter Harris (Chairs), Pere Puig, Andrew Eggett, Derek Fenton, Hilary Moors-Murphy, Teresa Amaro, Martina Pierdomenico, Dwight Owens, Natalie Vallette-Silver

Discussion topics:

  • Why protect canyons?
  • What are the threats to canyon ecosystems?
  • Is there interest in canyon conservation?
  • What are the management issues?
  • What science is required for canyon conservation?


Review paper on the ecological role of submarine canyons and their need for conservation: Fernandez-Arcaya, U., Ramirez-Llodra, E., Aguzzi, J., Allcock, A.L., Davies, J.S., Dissanayake, A., Harris, P., Howell, K., Huvenne, V.A., Ismail, K., Macmillan-Lawler, M., Martin, J., Menot, L., Nizinski, M., Puig, P., Rowden, A., Sanchez, F., Van den Beld, I., (2017). Ecological role of submarine canyons and need for canyon conservation: a review. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4,5  doi:10.3389/fmars.2017.00005.

Working Group 4: New ways to study submarine canyons

WG Coordinators: Fabio De Leo, Veerle Huvenne

Present at INCISE2014 discussion: Alan Jamieson, Furu Mienis, Teresa Amaro, Rob Hall, Veerle Huvenne, Fabio De Leo, Elisabeth Lobecker, Gerard Duineveld

Present at INCISE2016 discussion: Fabio De Leo, Veerle Huvenne (chairs), Martin Scherwath (rapporteur), Anna Sanchez, Craig Smith, Nadine Le Bris, Kevin Power, Andy Wheeler, Katleen Robert, Damianos Chatzievangelou

Discussion topics:

  • What is common to all canyon research?
  • What is a wish list in terms of processes that need to be observed and measured by all?
  • How to make sure our results are comparable with other studies?
  • Forever returning question: study multiple canyons (different characteristics: shelf-incise x blind, small x large, etc) that cover a multitude of processes or select two representative canyons and target for long-term studies?
  • What would be the possible minimal (and ideal) instrumentation and sampling effort needed to describe canyon processes with robust statistical power?


Overview paper summarising the current knowledge on the Whittard Canyon system: Amaro,T., Huvenne, V.A.I., Allcock, A.L.,Aslam, T., Davies, J.S., Danovaro, R., De Stigter, H.C., Duineveld, G.C.A.,Gambi, C., Gooday, A.J., Gunton, L.M., Hall, R., Howell, K.L., Ingels, J.,Kiriakoulakis, K., Kershaw, C.E., Lavaleye, M.S.S., Robert, K., Stewart, H.,Van Rooij, D., White, M., Wilson, A.M., (2016). The Whittard Canyon – a case study of submarine canyon processes. Progress in Oceanography, 146, 38-57.