20% Registration Discount for Female Symposium Leaders at IMCC5


We are passionate about encouraging diversity at the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (#IMCC5). We believe having everyone in the room leads to the greatest knowledge sharing, fostering informed discussion and heightened networking. Unfortunately, certain demographics, particularly women and people who identify as female, have been historically underrepresented at scientific conferences. This discrepancy is due to unjust barriers to participation, including limited funding or parental resources. We are actively working towards changing this inequality.


We hope this initiative will help overcome historic inequalities in marine science and bring more fantastic woman scientists to IMCC5! (© Sophia Wassermann)

Recent research conducted by the IMCC5 Program Chair and Deputy Program Chair demonstrated that a conference has more women speakers across the board when more women lead symposia. We are pleased, therefore, to announce a 20% discount on registration fees for female lead organizers of successful submissions. Hopefully, this initiative will contribute to overcoming some of the historic inequalities in the field of marine conservation. We encourage you to submit a symposium proposal to IMCC5 by 16 October 2017. Full details of the call are available here.

Further initiatives to foster equality at IMCC5 include our provision of travel grants to help support attendance of those from so-called developing nations and small island states, as well as the implementation of a conference code of conduct. Please email the IMCC5 organizing committee if you have any questions or comments about any of the initiatives mentioned in this post, or if you have any general questions about IMCC5.


On the Road to IMCC5… Local Foods!


By Travis Nielsen (IMCC5 Meeting Manager)

Waking from a night of website building and meetings, I shower off and walk out my hotel doors and clumsily sit myself down in the Mee Sin Café, a few doors away from my hotel. It’s my last day in the city, and I’m on my way to a conference in Australia. I meet my friend to share a final breakfast with him before I must call for my taxi to the airport. My friend always orders for me when we share a meal; he knows the local cuisine amazingly well and somehow knows exactly what I like. Every time! After some shouting in Hoikken, a steaming cup of ‘Kopi o’ and bowl of ‘Kolo mee wonton’ – black coffee and egg noodles in a sweet savory sauce topped with shrimp wonton – are plated in front of me, and we share the meal and enjoy each other’s company. Kolo mee is a staple, served anytime and possibly one of my favorite things in the city of Kuching.

My friend is from a village nearby Kuching. He moved to Kuching to work in the tourism industry. He is proudly an Orang Bidayuh – one of the original tribes of Borneo, and very proud of his tribe, culture, city, and country. He is always telling me “A guest in Kuching should gain at least a kilo a week from the food.” I’m not sure if I gained a kilo in the 10 days I was in Kuching for this visit, but I do know I tried pretty hard to do it, and when it comes to Malaysian culture, they are serious about food!


A delicious lunch being served at a restaurant in Kuching. (© Kirkland Photos)

The food culture of Malaysia is an amazing mix of cultures that results from being a maritime trading hub between China and India, with a strong influence from local tribal cuisine and influences from Britain, The Netherlands, Portugal, India, China, and many, many others countries. The food in Sarawak – the largest province of Malaysia, situated on the northwest coast of Borneo Island – has an even more unique flair and strong influence from local tribes, and Chinese and Indian influences.

Kuching, the capital city of Sarawak, is the largest city in the area and has an amazing food scene. The many dishes seen around the city, from breakfasts of curried chicken with roti canai (a type of wheat flour Indian flatbread), lunchtime pork satay (roasted strips of pork on skewers served with peanut sauce) at the Chinese hawker stalls on Carpenter Street to the late night kolo mee will have your mouth watering, but these are all just the first act… the main event in the Kuching’s culinary world is Kuching laksa!


Kuching’s famous laksa dish, a favorite served all over the city. (© J. Jamaludin)

Kuching laksa is noodles (usually rice noodles) served in an aromatic broth coconut milk and spices. Laksa is then traditionally topped with shredded chicken, egg, bean sprouts and local prawns; however, you can get laksa with an infinite variety of toppings. Garnished with a few fresh sprigs of coriander, its then served. Laksa brings together the fusion of cultures that is Kuching. Every restaurant that serves Laksa claims theirs is the best laksa in the city, so you will have no shortage of varieties to try.

The only problem you will have, is staying long enough to try them all!

So see you in Kuching, where we’ll hopefully share many a scrumptious meal!

Travis Nielsen is the Meeting Manager for IMCC5 and founder and CEO of Azurigen Management and Consulting Solutions Inc. A STEM project management firm that specializes in linking conservation based science to business and government. He is a published Marine Biologist with 10 years experience in STEM, and 10 years of experience in management and leadership. He has been responsible for projects with budgets up to $500,000, working with multiple stakeholders, large public engagement mandates, and with staffs up to 100 people in locations all across the globe.

Situación actual de la biodiversidad marina… un “océano de problemas” pero también de oportunidades


Por Sebastian Muñoz

Es bien sabido que la biodiversidad del planeta afronta un momento crítico como consecuencia de las acciones humana. Los ecosistemas marinos no son ajenos a esta realidad, ya que muchas de sus especies enfrentan un futuro incierto en términos de conservación. En pocas palabras nos enfrentamos a un “océano de problemas” para la vida marina, causaod por el calentamiento global, especies invasivas, contaminación, sobrepesca, etc. A primera vista el panorama puede ser intimidante e incluso desalentador, entonces ¿Cómo navegar en este tempestuoso océano?, efectivamente no se trata de una situación fácil de resolver, pero es al mismo tiempo un escenario de oportunidades para aquellos que se proponen aportar propuestas de mitagción a través de la investigación científica.

Bajo este contexto, el Congreso Internacional de la Biología de la Conservación (ICCB) acogió un gran número de invetigaciones del mayor nivel científico que sugieren que la pérdida de biodiversidad marina debe ser manejada desde las escalas ecológicas más grandes, incluyendo el ámbito local hasta el global. Así mismo, fueron presentados múltiples ejemplos en donde existe una integración real de las actividades científicas en las decisiones gubernamentales. Esto es necesario para una protección más efectiva de la biodiversidad, ya que se requiere que los tomadores de decisiones actúen de manera congruente con lo sugerido por los científicos. Del mismo modo cabe destacar se hizo mención a varias estrategias investigativas en las cuales fue incluida la acción comunitaria. Finalmente, el cambio de comportamiento individual de la población es esencial, pues de las decisiones cotidianas depende en gran medida la protección de la vida marina a largo plazo.

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Una de las presentaciones de ciencias marinas compartidas en la reunión del ICCB 2017 en Cartagena, Colombia. (Imagen: Sebastian Muñoz)

Muchas de las investigaciones presentadas referentes a temas marinos fueron realizadas en ecosistemas representados en el país anfitrión del ICCB. Colombia posee una de las diversidades más ricas del mundo, pero al mismo tiempo cuenta con condiciones socioeconómicas, educativas, políticas y de conflicto armado interno que conllevan a una alta dificultad para la protección de sus mares. Si se suman además aspectos como el calentamiento global, se convierte en un claro ejemplo del “océano de problemas” referido previamente. No obstante los diversos estudios presentados en el congreso son sin duda alguna un paso fundamental en la construcción de lineamientos que permitirán enfocar los esfuerzos de conservación en el país e integrar de mejor manera los actores participantes en la conservación. Esto brindará nuevas perspectivas y esperanzas para proteger los invaluables ecosistemas marinos colombianos y los organismos que allí habitan.

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Una presentación sobre la tortuga carey en peligro crítico, que desembarca en la costa de Colombia para depositar sus huevos (Imagen: Sebastian Muñoz)

Con este congreso se recalca la importancia de continuar con las investigaciones y estudios de los ambientes marinos de Colombia y el mundo, pues ante tantos actores que afectan negativamente a los organismos de los océanos y mares, hay que tener respuestas viables y efectivas que aseguren su conservación y la protección de los ecosistemas en que habitan. ¡Este es el momento de aportar más soluciones y presentarlas en el Congreso Internacional de la Conservación Marina 2018, que tendrá lugar en Kuching, Malasia!

Making Marine Science Matter

Sebastián Eduardo Muñoz Duque nació en Medellín (Colombia). Actualmente está terminando sus estudios de licenciatura en Biología en la Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. Ha sido parte del grupo de investigación en Ictiología (GIUA) en su universidad durante los últimos tres años. Sebastián también ha participado en diferentes proyectos de ecología de peces de agua dulce con la Universidad Nacional de Colombia y ha trabajado para diferentes empresas interesadas en la gestión de peces de agua dulce. En el último semestre, participó en varios cursos sobre ecología de agua dulce en la Universidad de Burdeos, Francia.

The Situation of Marine Biodiversity… An “Ocean of Problems” But Also of Opportunities


By Sebastian Muñoz

It is well known that the Earth’s biodiversity is in a critical moment as a result of human actions. Marine ecosystems too are threatened by various human impacts, and many marine species are confronting a complex and uncertain future in terms of their conservation. In a few words, there is an “ocean of problems” for marine life: global warming, invasive species, pollution, overfishing, etc. threaten many species. At first glance the panorama of the future can be intimidating and discouraging, so how to navigate these uncertain seas? It is not an easy situation to solve, but at the same time, it is an opportunity for those researching and working to propose forward-thinking solutions for the future.

In this light, the marine research and science shared at the International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB), held in Cartagena, Colombia this July, presented a multitude of high quality examples where teams and people from both small and large groups were/are working to protect biodiversity. Many examples were presented where a real integration of scientific activities in governmental spheres is occurring. This is key to conservation since more effective protection of (marine) biodiversity undoubtedly requires the decision-makers in governments to act congruently with conservation goals. Different research strategies were also shared that included community action and involvement which ultimately led to the changing of individual behavior in people. This is essential since everyday decisions can impact the protection of marine life in the long run.

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One of the marine science presentations shared at the ICCB 2017 meeting in Cartagena, Colombia. (Image: Sebastian Muñoz)

Much of the research presented on marine issues were conducted in local ecosystems of the meeting’s host country. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, but at the same time, deals with a wide variety of complex issues including socioeconomic, educational, political, and internal armed conflict conditions. This has lead to a high level of difficulty for the environmental protection of Colombia’s seas. Remembering that global changes, such as climate change, are still occurring, Colombia becomes a clear example of the “ocean of problems” previously mentioned. However, the various studies presented at the congress are undoubtedly a fundamental step in the construction of guidelines that will help focus conservation efforts in Colombia. The research and initiatives shared aimed towards improving the integration the various actors involved in conservation, and provided new perspectives and hopes to obtain positive results and protect invaluable Colombian marine ecosystems and their amazing biodiversity.

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Presentation on the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, which comes ashore on the coast of Colombia to lay its eggs (Image: Sebastian Muñoz)

Given the above, it is important to continue and sustain research and conservation efforts with the marine environments of Colombia, and the world, because conservation is necessary and important! We need viable and effective steps and answers to help assure conservation and protection of marine ecosystems and the people who rely on them for their living! It is time to come up with more solutions and what better place to present and further discuss them than at the 2018 International Marine Conservation Congress in Kuching, Malaysia!

Making Marine Science Matter

Sebastian Eduardo Muñoz Duque was born in Medellín (Colombia). Currently, he is finishing his undergraduate’s studies in Biology at Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia. He has been part of the research Group in Ichtiology (GIUA) at his university for the last three years. Sebastian has also participated in different projects involving freshwater fish ecology with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and has worked for different enterprises interested in freshwater fish management. Last semester, he participated in various courses about freshwater ecology at Université de Bordeaux, France.


On the Road to IMCC5


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A crowd of scientists, marine managers, policy makers, journalists, and others gathered for a cheerful social event at IMCC4. Expect to see more excited crowds of marine conservation-minded folks at IMCC5 in Kuching! (Image: Keni Rienks)

We are currently less than a year out from kicking off the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5), with the official start of the conference in only 306 days! The various committees and organizers for IMCC5 have been working for a while now to get the conference off the ground and running. Now that we are less than a year out, organization and planning is kicking into overdrive!

As we work towards finalizing the plan for making IMCC5 as accommodating, rigorous, and enjoyable a conference as possible, we’d like to take you on our journey so you can follow us along as new updates arrive and information becomes available. We want to keep everyone who is interested abreast of the exciting developments related to planning this conference, such as our initiative to have a telepresence and an Impact Chair. But we can’t think of everything! If you have any ideas to help build our conference, please feel free to reach out to us through email, Twitter, or Facebook.

To keep everyone on the same page and to continue to build excitement towards what we believe will be the most successful IMCC meeting yet, we will have a regular series of blog posts that track our developments towards finalizing the details of IMCC5. We encourage you to follow along with our blog to get additional updates and details on IMCC5, the wonderful city of Kuching, and why you should definitely start making plans to meet us there this coming June! Our website will soon be filling with all these details and more, so be sure to check it out periodically too! You can also follow along with #IMCC5 for more updates on our social media.

We look forward to have you along for the ride as we approach the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress and continue to “Make Marine Science Matter!”


Kuching night view

Image of fireworks over Kuching at night. IMCC5 will be held in the Waterfront Hotel in Kuching this June of 2018!



Let’s make the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress the meeting you want it to be!


Dear future delegates,

Welcome back to the official blog of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC). Over the next year, we’ll be using this outlet to share everything from logistical information for attending the fifth iteration of the congress, to research on issues that will be in focus at the meeting, to how you can get a traditional Bornean tattoo as part of your attendance experience!

As your extremely honored Congress Chair, I’m more than excited to be part of the Organizing Committee for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) that will be welcoming you to the wonderful city of Kuching, Malaysia in June 2018. We have a huge responsibility to make the meeting every bit as productive for you as the first four IMCCs. That’s something we’re all working very hard on and that you’ll undoubtedly hear more about on this blog over the coming months.


The IMCC5 Congress Chair moderating IMCC4 plenary questions (Image: Keni Rienks)

We’re also entering new era where it is expected that scientific conferences focus on making an impact beyond the walls of a convention center. That is a challenge we want, and intend, to rise to. In addition to working on initiatives to increase the range of delegates attending IMCC5 , we’ve appointed our first ever IMCC Impact Chair. They will be working on making sure the congress has a local impact above the money you spend on hotels, food, and drink. You will here more about our impact work on this blog in the very near future.

And, don’t worry. Our new initiatives will not come at the expense of what you already like about IMCCs. Plenary speakers selection is well under way, our scientific program will be as diverse and as extensive as ever, and creating a safe, welcoming, and friendly conference space is our top priority. They’ll probably also be karaoke…

But, as I said, we are not here to build the conference that we want. Please do contact us with your ideas on how to maintain and improve the quality of IMCC. We can be reached on email and over Twitter. You can follow all congress developments on our congress hasthtag (#IMCC5) and by subscribing to this blog.

With the warmest regards,

Edward Hind-Ozan.



Edward Hind-Ozan is the Congress Chair for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress. He was Deputy Chair of IMCC4 and is also the Vice President of the Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section. Currently, he works as a Research Associate in marine social science at Cardiff University in the UK. His daughter accompanied him on an IMCC5 planning trip to Kuching when she was 3 months old. She loved it!

Telepresence/Telerobotics Initiative for IMCC5 in Borneo, Malaysia.


To increase accessibility for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) held in Malaysia in 2018 and in response to recent restrictions on the ability for members of the global research and conservation community to travel based on religion, orientation, or place of birth, the IMCC5 Organizing Committee is creating a directive to establish enhanced telepresence and telerobotics capabilities for the conference. This new initiative will include a telepresence-only participation tier (at reduced rate to cover the cost of service) with access to livestreams of all talks, ability to present remotely, and access to mobile telerobots to facilitate participation in post-presentation discussion at social events. Telepresence options will be open to all SCB Marine members, but priority will be assigned to those who ability to travel is restricted for political reasons as well as students with demonstrated financial need.

More details will be provided as we work with telerobotics companies and internet service providers to prepare the necessary infrastructure for this initiative.