Frank Maes (Ghent University)

maesHolds a Master in Political Sciences: Diplomatic Sciences – Ghent University, a Master in Shipping Law, University of Antwerp (UFSIA) and is Doctor in Law, Ghent University. He is professor Public International Law at the Law Faculty of Ghent University (, lecturing inter alia International and European Environmental Law. He was guest lecturer  at various universities, such as University opf Nairobi, University of Dar es Salaam, University of Santa Clarta (US), University of Santa Barbara (US), the University of Wuhan (China) (2007, 2009, 2012) and Tsinghua University (China) (2011). He is research Director of the Maritime Institute of Ghent University ( He actually supervises 16 PhD students and his research is focused on international and European environmental law, in particular climate change law, fresh water law and protection of oceans and seas. Other research interests are maritime spatial planning and local ecological fisheries knowledge. Main publications (books, articles) are in the field of marine environmental law (see Here). He has a long experience with interdisciplinary research projects funded by BELSPO, such as MARE-DASM (MArine REsources Damage Assessment and Sustainable Management of the North Sea) (1998-2002), BALANS (Balancing Impacts of Human Activities in the Belgian Part of the North Sea) (2002-2006), GAUFRE (Towards a Spatial Structure Plan for Sustainable Management of the Sea) and SUMANOS (Cluster SUstainable MAnagement NOrth Sea). Ghent University takes a front position in marine spatial planning, starting with GAUFRE, contributions to 1st UNESCO International Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning (2006), the ENCORA Paris Conference on a European Coastal Action Plan (2007),  involvement in CALAMAR (EU EX – on the topic of Transatlantic spatial planning: 2009-2011), partner in MASPNOSE (Preparatory Action on Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Sea - EU DG MARE: 2010-2011) and host institute for TransMASP (Transboundary MArine Spatial Planning - EU Marie Curie Fp7:  2010-2012).

Vanessa Stelzenmüller (TI Institute for Sea Fisheries, Hamburg)

StelzenmullerIs heading the section of marine spatial use and integrated ecosystem based management at TI Institute for Sea Fisheries in Hamburg, Germany where she is working on the development of methods and tools to support an ecosystem based marine spatial management and integrated ecosystem assessments. After a PhD in spatial fisheries ecology at the University of Oldenburg, Germany she conducted a Postdoc project (2005-2007) on fisheries effects of MPAs at the Institute of Marine Science in Barcelona, Spain. At CEFAS, Lowestoft, UK she worked as a marine scientist (2007-2009) on the development of practical tools for marine spatial planning and the strategic support for the UK implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Her present work comprises the analysis of conflicts between fisheries and other uses such as the offshore renewables and valuable ecosystem components with the help of integrated temporal and spatial modelling approaches and probabilistic risk assessment of spatial management options. As a work package leader she is currently in charge within the European projects MESMA, COEXIST, and BEST. Furthermore, she is a member of the ICES working groups on marine spatial management (WGMPCZM), ecosystem effects of fishing (WGECO) and integrated assessments of the North Sea (WGINOSE). Further she is a member of the scientific editorial board of Scientia Marina and reviews articles for more than 12 journals encompassing for instance Conservation Biology, Marine Ecology Progress Series or Marine Pollution Bulletin. To date the publication list covers more than 35 peer-reviewed articles, one book chapter and numerous reports.

Vittorio Barale (Joint Research Centre, Ispra)

baraleHis background includes a degree in Physics (Universita' Statale di Milano, 1977) and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography (University of California at San Diego, 1982 and 1986). He has been a Research Fellow at the Universita' Statale in Milan in 1977-1978, and Research Assistant at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, CA, in 1979-1986. While at SIO, he was Visiting Scientist at MIT in Boston, MA, in 1984, and at NASA GSFC in Washington, DC, in 1985. After working as a consultant for various national and international organization, in 1987-1989, he joined the JRC in 1990. After a brief stint as Scientific Assistant of the former Space Application Institute Director, and later as coordinator of the Space Applications Support Group in the Institute of Environment and Sustainability, he is now holding a Senior Scientist position in the Water Resources Unit of the same Institute. His job has always concerned the application of remote sensing for studies of the marine environment and, in particular, the use of optical observations for the assessment of marine and coastal processes. In recent years, his work on monitoring of near-coastal environment scenarios has led him to become involved with both Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) techniques, concentrating primarily on the definition of the related ecosystem-based approach. He is Chairman of the “Oceans from Space” conference series. He has published more than 100 scientific reports, papers and articles, and co-edited several books, including “Oceanography from Space, Revisited”, published by Springer. He regularly serves as invited lecturer in University Courses and International Schools, as well as thesis advisor for graduate students from various Universities.