Submarine canyons are important features along the world’s continental margins. They create heterogeneity in the terrain and provide the main pathway for sediment and pollutant transport from the shelf to the deep sea. Although long known, their study has always been a challenge because of their complicated morphology and extreme terrain.


Online Conference

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 5th INCISE Conference will now take place online. Hosted by the School of Marine and Maritime Science at the University of Gibraltar, the event includes a series of talks and workshops.


The INCISE 2021 conference will encompass:
  • Submarine Canyons Workshop – the week of the 7th June 2021
  • INCISE 2021 Conference – 14th- 18th June 2021
  • Public Engagement event – 16th June 2021.
    • List of speakers:
    • Dr Peter Harris – GRID-Arendal, Norway
    • Dr Veerle Huvenne – National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
    • Dr Jaime Davies – University of Plymouth
    • Ivan Hernandez – University of Gibraltar
It is hoped that the next INCISE Conference will once again be a physical event in Wellington, New Zealand in 2023.

INCISE 2021 Schedule of Events

Conference format

Given the current uncertainties and worldwide travel disruption caused by the pandemic, INCISE2021 will be an online conference. To avoid online fatigue and to give everybody around the world the chance to follow at least part of the conference during reasonable daylight hours, we plan to split the conference into manageable blocks, with two sessions of 2.5 hours per day. We will keep your time zone and biorhythm in mind when creating the conference programme and assigning presentation times. Despite INCISE2021 being an online meeting, it has been planned to allow incorporation of elements of in-person meeting .

The conference format will consist of two 2.5-hour sessions per day over the course of the week. Each session will consist of oral presentations (12 minutes with 3 minutes for questions) and a poster session. To ensure maximum visibility of posters, submitted posters will be available to download a week prior to the meeting, and participants will have 3 minutes to give a summary of their posters. During the conference there will be a dedicated breakout room running to facilitate open discussion between participants.

INCISE has had working groups since 2012 and they have produced many outputs (see INCISE website for more details). During the conference there will be two dedicated working group sessions i.e. an AM and PM slots.

Registration Fee

Full registration: £60
Student registration: £30

Registration fee includes access to the 5 day conference, which includes 8 sessions of talks and posters.


Download the INCISE 2021 Handbook

Conference Outline

Session Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00 – 11:30 (CET Summer)  1 3 5 6 8
Public Engagement event
16:30 – 19:00 (CET Summer) 2 4 Working groups 7

INCISE Working Groups:

  • WG1: Litter in canyons (Peter Harris)
  • WG2: Conservation & outreach (Jaime Davies & Nathalie Valette-Silver)
  • WG3: Submarine landslides & geohazards in submarine canyons (Joshu Mountjoy)
  • WG4: How to study submarine canyons (Pere Puig & Veerle Huvenne)
To see the poster in detail click on the image.

Event details

Astounded by the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA? Now imagine canyons in the deep sea! Submarine canyons are important geological features of the sea and they act as a link between shallow water environments with the deep sea. We are exploiting the marine environment for many resources such as oil, gas and fisheries to name but a few. Canyons serve as important structures within the marine environment and act as nursery habitats and due to complex currents serve as ‘hotspots’ for biodiversity and feeding grounds for larger animals such as tuna and cetaceans.

In a world’s first, the INCISE society is hosting a global free public engagement event where you can hear from world’s experts on submarine canyons.


Wednesday 16th June


13:00 – 14:00 (CEST)

Sign up for free


Dr Peter Harris - GRID-Arendal, Norway

Peter Harris is a marine geoscientist with 30+ years experience working in marine science and management. Since 2014 Peter has been the Managing Director of UNEP/GRID-Arendal, a foundation based in Norway established to assist developing countries with solving their environmental problems. He has been the leader/co-leader of over 30 research voyages and conducted research on the Great Barrier Reef, the Fly River Delta in Papua New Guinea and on the geological record of Antarctic bottom water formation and ice sheet advance/retreat.

Peter has a keen interest in submarine canyons and is a regular attendee of the INCISE meetings. He co-authored the first global synthesis of submarine canyons in 2011 and the first digital global seafloor geomorphic features map (GIS database) of the oceans in 2014. Since 2014 Peter has been the Managing Director of UNEP/GRID-Arendal, a foundation based in Norway established to assist developing countries with solving their environmental problems.

Dr Veerle Huvenne, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Veerle A.I. Huvenne is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, where she coordinates the Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Team. She is Principal Investigator on the ERC Starting Grant CODEMAP and has >15 years of experience in habitat mapping and sediment dynamics, mainly focussing on complex deep-sea environments such as submarine canyons, cold-water coral settings, hydrothermal vents and seamounts. She has extensive expertise working with new technologies and marine robotic systems such as AUVs and ROVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles) and often works closely with the engineering teams on the development of new sensor or vehicle capabilities.

Dr Jaime Davies, University of Plymouth

Dr Jaime Davies is an associate research fellow at the University of Plymouth with over 10 years’ experience as a deep-sea benthic ecologist, acting as lead biologist on several research cruises. Working in the field of conservation, with an interest in the ecology and mapping of vulnerable species/habitats, providing data to government agencies to use for proposing/designating Marine Protected Areas in UK and French waters. With an interest in cold-water corals, Jaime works closely with coral taxonomists and has organised many international cold-water coral identification training workshops. She is a co-founder of the INCISE network, a working group leader of the INCISE conservation working group and editor of a special issue on submarine canyons.

Ivan Hernandez, University of Gibraltar

Ivan recently graduated from the University of Gibraltar having completed an MSc Marine Science and Climate Change .

For his dissertation he worked with Drs Jaime Davies, Veele Huvenne and Awantha Dissanayake on assessing marine litter in submarine canyons. From his body of work he will publish several scientific papers.

Ivan recently delivered a workshop on identifying and enumerating marine litter in the deep sea to the current cohort of international MSc Marine Science students.

Litter in submarine canyons: source to sink

Marine litter is now a well-documented threat to marine ecosystems and has been found even in the deepest habitats. Submarine canyons act as conduits transporting sediment and nutrients from shallow water to the deep. As this transport system is not discriminative of what it transports, litter is also increasingly being funnelled through canyons. Many canyons are close to the continental shelf, and thus maybe subject to higher densities of domestic litter. To further our understanding of the impact of litter on canyons and wider deep-sea habitats, we first need to a greater understanding of the source of litter in canyons, but also how litter is being transported within them and ultimately how much litter remains in the canyon system. This interactive workshop aims to shed light on this topic and stimulate future research.

Submarine canyons are important topographical features which are vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts. To date, concerns have focused on impacts from fisheries, but it is now becoming apparent, that marine litter is also a great threat to canyon ecosystems.

The online workshop, which will be spread across two days, will cover many aspects of litter in submarine canyons, including relevance for both macro- and micro-litter. The workshop will cover:

  • Types of litter found in canyons (macro and micro) and their distribution
  • Sources of litter
  • Identification and sampling methods
  • Source to sink transport mechanisms, including highlights from observed seafloor and sediment distributions, physical and numerical modelling studies

In particular, the workshop will highlight the current state of the art (i.e. what we currently know) and will highlight knowledge and data gaps to stimulate discussions on how the INCISE community can assist in filling them.

The workshop will be hosted on Zoom and will include a series of expert talks, illustrated with findings from recent studies in canyons and other relevant deep-sea systems, to address important questions over litter source and transport mechanism in submarine canyons. Each of the thematic sessions will be followed by interactive break-out sub-group discussions to share ideas and experiences from attendees and develop future ideas for research projects and collaboration.

Dates and Times:

9th June 12:00 – 14:30 (CEST)
10th June 20:00 – 22:30 (CEST)




To register email

Limited to 40 participants.

Main Sponsors


TECHNICAP has been a specialist in the oceanographic field since 1963. TECHNICAP’s product lines include sediments trap, instrument buttom mount, different structures for ADCP, sampling bottles, frames in composite material, titanium, stainless steel and aluminium, special surface buoys tailored to customer needs and specifications and finally, all types of marine sampling instruments.

Find out more

About Ocean Networks Canada

The University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada monitors the west and east coasts of Canada and the Arctic to continuously deliver data in real-time for scientific research that helps communities, governments and industry make informed decisions about our future. Using cabled observatories, remote control systems and interactive sensors, and big data management ONC enables evidence-based decision-making on ocean management, disaster mitigation, and environmental protection.

Find out more
INCISE 2021 - timeline

INCISE 2021 Webpage launch

(19th February)

Abstract submission opens

(19th February)

Registration opens

(26th February)

Abstract Submission close

(9th April)

Author notification

(23rd April)

Registration Closes

(4th June)

INCISE 2021 – Workshops

9th - 10th June

INCISE 2021 – Conference

(14th - 18th June)

Public engagement event

(16th June)

Keynote speakers

Dr Joshu Mountjoy

Marine Geologist

Resetting the system. Scale, impact and implications of submarine canyon flushing.

View profile
Dr Kostas Kiriakoulakis

Senior Lecturer in biogeochemistry

Organic matter in submarine canyons: Investigating its biogeochemical and ecological role.

View profile
Dr Martina Pierdomenico

Researcher at the Institute for the Study of Anthropic Impact and Sustainability in the Marine Environment of the Italian National Research Council (CNR-IAS)

The key role of canyons in funnelling litter to the deep sea: case studies from southern Italy.

View profile

General Enquiries

For any queries regarding the conference, please contact:
Dr Awantha Dissanayake

Conference fee

Full registration: £60
Student registration: £30

Registration fee includes access to the 5 day conference, which includes 8 sessions of talks and posters.


Tickets for the event are now live, please purchase your ticket here.
Zoom links for the conference will be sent via email a week prior to the conference.