The Benefits of Attendance: IMCC4

Standard

by Edward Hind

With conference season firmly on the horizon, we’re sure you’re all scrutinizing your diaries, double-checking your budgets, and beginning to make the case to managers and department heads for why you “absolutely must” attend one meeting or another. Let me make the case for the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress.

Before the 3rd IMCC, I asked the organizers of the meeting why they believe IMCCs should always be your first choice marine conservation meeting. Having attended the meeting, I believe everything they said still stands:

  • IMCC has a history of getting people with different experience levels and areas of expertise together to exchange ideas for the benefit of all involved. Alongside many interactive workshops and symposia, IMCC4 already has many student events scheduled.
  • Some of the best theories or ideas in science have come out because of a couple of strangers, or even friends, getting together over a coffee or a beer. The second IMCC had nine scheduled social events, and IMCC3 had bagpipers playing Lady Gaga.
  • Over five days, you will be exposed to a flood of new ideas, hypotheses, methods/techniques, analyses and findings—any scientists that say that’s not valuable might as well burn all their books, disconnect their computers from the internet, and go back to the middle ages while they’re at it!
  • The program will include workshops and courses that teach tangible skills, such as software, applications, and communication. Many marine scientists and managers have learned how to communicate with the media and use packages like Marxan at previous IMCCs.
  • Conferences are perfect places to network for funding and research contacts. The previous IMCCs have attracted up to 1200 delegates per meeting. That’s a lot of opportunities to connect!
  • Remember, astronauts are the only scientists that work well in a vacuum. There will be no astronauts or vacuums at IMCC4!

But, being the good scientist that I am, I realize you may feel that meeting organizers like myself are bias. In the interest of balance, we reached out this to get some opinions from beyond the IMCC4 Organizing Committee:

Like our Titter followers we very much think you should be in St. John’s, Canada from 30 July – 3 August 2016, attending the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress.

 

Edward Hind is the Communications Officer of the SCB Marine Section, as well as Communications Chair and Vice Chair for IMCC4.

Why you should submit an IMCC4 abstract

Standard

By Edward Hind

cropped-imcc4_logo_final_web-72dpi.png

Submitting an abstract to speak at the 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) led to one of the most eye-opening experiences of my career. Ten minutes after I had delivered my subsequent talk at the Victoria Convention Centre in British Columbia, Canada, I was approached by a locally based academic who said something like, “We need to talk!”

The following day in one of Victoria’s wonderful little cafes, that academic and I supped on that satisfying product they call coffee, surrounded by four like-minded individuals he had invited to join us. Each of them, like us, wanted to talk about how the local ecological knowledge of fishermen was a key (and mostly missing!) ingredient in successful marine conservation. Nine months later, most of that group was again sitting together, but this time as a panel in front of an attentive audience of fishermen, tourism workers, local politicians, artists, guesthouse owners, community leaders, and a few fellow scientists.

We were again in Canada, but this time we sat in a community centre in small-town Newfoundland, hosting a symposium at a coastal communities conference. The academic who had convened coffee in Victoria had suggested over that coffee that we put together the symposium we were now delivering. Being part of the symposium was a great experience and I hope at least some members of the audience returned home eager to find a way to share their own local ecological knowledge with scientists like us. However, for me personally, it was the wider experience of being invited to that conference that was so eye-opening.

I’d never seen marine conservation being done like it was in coastal Newfoundland. I’d worked across Europe and the Caribbean and marine conservation had always seemed to be the preserve of scientists, civil servants, and the occasional policy-maker. In Newfoundland I was seeing my fellow scientists freely interacting with members of the public, such as fishermen and artists, who were themselves taking an active role in marine conservation. It was, quite simply, inspiring.

Since that week in Newfoundland I’ve tried to change the way I work in Europe and the Caribbean. I refuse to work on projects where it’s just scientists and bureaucrats involved. I lobby colleagues to involve citizens in their research design. I present findings in town hall meetings before I bury them in dry academic journals. I advocate for the voice of the public to be part of marine policy-making. I’m a better scientists because of it.

Speaking at an IMCC granted me a career-changing affirmative opportunity that I would not otherwise have had. I can’t encourage you enough to give yourself the chance of a similar opportunity. Submit an abstract to present at IMCC4 by March 7 via the conference website.

And, by the way. IMCC4 is in Newfoundland. I can’t wait to return!
Edward Hind is the Communications Officer of the SCB Marine Section, as well as Communications Chair and Vice Chair for IMCC4.

We #HeartTheOceans because…

Standard

By Edward Hind, Samantha Oester, and Matthew Tietbhol

This week, SCB Marine Section (the organizers of IMCC4) are asking scientists and the wider public to share their reasons for appreciating the oceans. Their hope is that this will spread appreciation for the oceans even farther, supporting future marine conservation efforts.

Below, three SCB marine members share the reasons they fell in love with the ocean. Once you’ve read these we’d love you to log in to Facebook or Twitter and share your own reasons using the Heart the Oceans Day* hashtag (#HeartTheOceans).

*Heart the Oceans Day (February 12, 2016) is an SCB Marine Communications and Fundraising event. All funds raised will go toward conducting marine conservation in developing countries and small island states. You can donate here.

Samantha Oester – SCB Marine Section President Elect and IMCC4 Chair

Heart the Oceans Sam 3

I grew up in West Virginia, a landlocked state in the U.S., but my Kindergarten teacher told our class of five-year-olds about Save the Whales. (It was 1987.) I was immediately hooked. Our tiny school library was a shelf or two by the secretary’s desk, and I asked her for any books on the ocean or ocean animals. There were two, and I read each one over and over, soaking up every word and photo, memorizing every passage. I vowed I would learn as much as possible about the ocean until I could see it in person, and as an adult, I would take in the beauty and majesty of marine life in the wild. As a marine and coastal scientist, I think about little me and how over-the-moon I would’ve been if I had somehow known I would grow up to see everything I’ve seen and to work toward conserving marine life and ecosystems. Yet, I remain fascinated by the ocean. My love affair with ocean animals and the water is ongoing. Many people do not have a personal connection with the ocean, not realizing our lives depend on it, even those who can’t see it from their communities. Not only are the oceans awe-inspiring, but human life and civilization needs the oceans for oxygen production, carbon sequestration, food, and a wealth of other services provided by marine and coastal ecosystems. Without the oceans, there is no us. Every day we take a breath is Heart the Oceans Day. Breathe deeply, appreciate life, and thank the oceans.

Matthew Tietbhol – Heart the Oceans Coordinator

Promotional Pic11

Ever since collecting small marine critters on a high school trip to Jamaica, my fascination  in the oceans has grown. At first, I was entranced simply by watching sea cucumbers and sea stars move around their tank and interact with each other and other marine life. The more I learned, the more interested I became in marine biology and ecology and trying to understand the complexity of the world’s oceans. Even now in graduate school, I am still learning new things everyday about how important the oceans are in regulating the climate, providing key services for human society, and as a home for what I consider to be the most diverse and wondrous groups of animals found on this planet. As a young scientist, I am beginning to truly understand how necessary the world’s oceans are for sustaining life of all kinds. Now, I do not only love the oceans because I find endless wonder and amusement in watching fish trying to hide among corals or octopus changing their color; I love the oceans even more because I am learning just how indispensable they are to humanity and life as a whole. The more I learn, the more there is to love I find, and that is a message I believe would be applicable to anyone who takes the time to stop, listen, and learn something new about the oceans on Heart the Oceans Day or at any other moment in time.

Edward Hind – SCB Marine Section Communications Officer and IMCC4 Vice Chair

edd_blog_pic

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen some of the true wonders of the marine world. My career as a marine conservationist started SCUBA diving over the stunning coral reefs of the Philippines. I’ve watched the awesome beauty of waves crashing on the cliffs of Ireland’s wild and rugged Atlantic coast. I’ve been face-to-face with a great hammerhead shark in the azul waters of the Caribbean. But, for me, the reason I #hearttheoceans most is the memories of humans it has given me. I built my strongest bonds with my late father fishing for sea bass in the UK. My mother gave me the gift of an interest in all things marine when she took me rock-pooling for the first time. My wife’s fascination at the sight of a parrot fish defecating will never fail to make me belly laugh. I heart the oceans because they have always looked after me. We should look after them.