In The Words of Delegates

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By Marianne Teoh

What do a marine scientist, a film producer, a conservation practitioner, an educator and two PhD students have in common?

They are ocean advocates from around the globe- representing a diverse range of disciplines – who answered a call for perspectives on the International Marine Conservation Congress, held this year in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Click on each contributor’s name to read more:

“There is something so inspiring about being surrounded by brilliant minds that stand in solidarity around solving ocean issues” – Megan Chen, Ocean Educator (United States)

 

“IMCC is the perfect platform for fruitful discussions about the future of our oceans” – Ben Thorne, Conservation Practitioner (Cambodia)

 

“I fully anticipate IMCC to be highly motivational in terms of my career” – Holly Niner, PhD Candidate (Australia)

 

“IMCC increased my understanding and awareness of our interconnected relationships with marine environments” – Mike Irvine, Film Producer and Marine Educator (Canada)

 

“The most amazing, inspiring, energetic event I had ever attended” – Aylin Ulman, PhD Candidate (Italy)

 

“IMCC in particular is a great place to start [networking], due to its diversity and range of topics covered” – Michael Sweet, Marine Scientist (United Kingdom)

Read on for more from each delegate:

 

Last year I was fortunate enough to attend IMCC3 and found it absolutely exhilarating.  There was a dizzying array of session topics – my only regret was that I was unable to clone myself so I could sit in on concurrent sessions.  I was able to learn about citizen science projects, possible career paths that I would never dream existed, and best of all network with people from multiple disciplines. 

There is something so inspiring about being surrounded by brilliant minds that stand in solidarity around solving ocean issues such as overfishing, climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and marine debris.  If you care about the health and conservation of our ocean, join me and a diverse crowd of marine scientists, managers, students, economists, citizen scientists, social scientists, educators and science communicators at IMCC4!”

Megan Bio



IMCC4 is the perfect platform for academic researchers, environmental practitioners and social enterprises to join in fruitful discussions about the future of our world’s oceans.  Historically, large conferences are dominated by outputs from research institutions without a strong focus on discussing necessary conservation strategies.  IMCC4’s goal of inviting multi-sector attendees will ultimately allow for constructive conservation ideals to be shared between a wide audience”

Ben Bio



I am really excited to immerse myself in all things marine conservation at IMCC in St John’s this year. My interests lie at the interface of science and real-life management through application of that science and I can’t wait to get my brain buzzing listening to all the great work people are doing.

IMCC attracts people across an enormous range of organisations and roles and across the full spectrum of disciplines. The opportunity to bring all of these people together in one place is really exciting. Successful conservation requires support across society, so we need representation from people in many different roles to influence discussions! From my sneak peak of abstracts I think the diversity in terms of nationality and work area is going to be enormous and so I think there will be lots going on to suit all areas of specific interest.

I fully anticipate IMCC to be highly motivational in terms of my career, in relation to what I can take to my current role and also with a view to life post PhD. I love meeting new people with similar interests and am really looking forward to being inspired by all the wonderful things other delegates are up to.”

Holly Bio



IMCC is a great space for connecting with brilliant scientists, conservationists, and ocean enthusiasts. Personally, the diversity of people at the conference was the best part. I was engaged in many conversations that increased my understanding and awareness of our interconnected relationships with marine environments.  As well as providing the ability to network with amazing people, IMCC also provides an opportunity to present and gain constructive feedback on my work.

 I recommend IMCC to scientists, policy makers, students, resource users, and conservation practitioners and would like to see more filmmakers, educators and marine technology experts attend to demonstrate innovative ways to communicate marine science.”

Mike Bio



“I attended IMCC3 because IMCC2 was the most amazing, inspiring, energetic event I had ever attended with countless inspiring minds all ignited by the same passion.
There is no other broadly focused conference solely based on marine conservation; these conferences are unique because they look at solutions to various issues rather than just present a problem.

It is also very important for me to see what mentors and peers are working on and learn of which tools they are using to address some of the issues. I was also very fortunate to meet some new amazing young scientists whom are now good friends, and hope to continue to watch their futures blossom in upcoming years and conferences.”

Aylin Bio



The IMCC is a very well run conference with a great range of talks and workshops available to cater for many different interests. The main difference I found about IMCC compared to other conferences I’ve attended was the attention to an online presence with live screens highlighting the tweets and other social media activities which were being undertaken throughout the conference. Indeed, it was this conference which inspired me to create a Twitter account myself, in order to further disseminate my research, and share interesting facts I come across.

I can’t recommend enough the importance of attending a conference like IMCC, especially if you are an early career researcher.  Networking is one of the most important things you can do in your early career. Getting to meet new people interested in your work and vice versa is invaluable. IMCC in particular is a great place to start [networking], due to its diversity and range of topics covered, giving you a broad grasp of the work being undertaken in marine conservation and the research associated with it.”

Michael Bio

Big thank you to Megan Chen, Ben Thorne, Holly Niner, Mike Irvine, Aylin Ulman and Michael Sweet for taking the time to share these perspectives.

See you all at IMCC4 this summer in St John’s, Canada! Early bird registration is open until May 8. You can submit an abstract until May 22.

 

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Marianne Teoh is Co-Chair of Communications at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress. Follow her on Twitter @marianne_teoh

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4th International Marine Conservation Congress Plenaries: Asha de Vos

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One of the highlights of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) is always the amazing plenary speakers. Over the next week and a bit we’ll be featuring all the plenary speakers on this blog. If you’re excited to hear them speak in person, make sure you register now for IMCC4. Discounted registration is available until May 8th.

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Plenary Speech: Marine conservation is broken, and here is how we can fix it

Asha de Vos is a Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator, and pioneer of blue whale research within the Northern Indian Ocean. She is the founder of Oceanswell and The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project. She is the first Sri Lankan to obtain a PhD in marine mammal research and established the first long-term study on blue whales of the Northern Indian Ocean. She has published several key research publications on Sri Lankan blue whales, which have led to this population being designated as a species in urgent need of conservation research by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Her pioneering work has been showcased internationally by Channel 7 Australia (2010), the BBC (2010), the New York Times (2012), CNN (2012), WIRED UK (2014), the New Scientist (2014), TED (2015) and Grist (2015). She is also a guest blogger for National Geographic. Asha is an invited member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group, a TED Senior Fellow, a Duke University Global Fellow in Marine Conservation, an Ocean Conservation Fellow at the New England Aquarium, a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

4th International Marine Conservation Congress Plenaries: Julia Parrish

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One of the highlights of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) is always the amazing plenary speakers. Over the next week and a bit we’ll be featuring all the plenary speakers on this blog. If you’re excited to hear them speak in person, make sure you register now for IMCC4. Discounted registration is available until May 8th.

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Plenary Speech: Real people, science literacy, sense of place, and saving the world

Julia K. Parrish is the Lowell A. and Frankie L. Wakefield Professor of Ocean Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington, where she also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of the Environment.  As Associate Dean, she helped bring two exciting efforts to increase inclusion in science into the College: Seattle MESA, a pipeline program providing hands-on science, math, and engineering opportunities for middle and high school students; and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholar’s Program at UW, a national summer program for undergraduates fusing the concerns of ecosystem conservation, equity and inclusion.
Julia is a marine biologist, a conservation biologist, and a specialist in animal aggregation.  For more than 25 years, Julia has conducted field research on seabirds, focused on the natural and human-caused factors causing population decline.  Julia is also the Executive Director of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a 17 year old citizen science program responsible for training more than 3,000 participants to collect monthly data on the identity and abundance of beach-cast birds from northern California north to the Arctic Circle and west to the Commander Islands in Russia.  With the goal of creating the definitive baseline against which the impacts of any near-shore catastrophe can be measured, COASST data have been used to assess the impacts of oil spills, harmful algal blooms, fishery bycatch, and a changing climate.
In 1998, Julia was honored as a NOAA Year of the Oceans Environmental Hero by Vice President Al Gore for the development of the COASST project.  In 2013, Julia was recognized by The White House Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP) as a Champion of Change for her citizen science work with COASST. In 2015, COASST was cited by the OSTP and the National Science Foundation as an exemplary example of rigorous citizen science. She is an Elected Fellow of the American Ornithological Union, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow and has been honored with the UW Distinguished Teaching Award for her excellence in the classroom.  She received her undergraduate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, her PhD from Duke University, where she studied the schooling behavior of fish, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA.

4th International Marine Conservation Congress Plenaries: Max Liboiron

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One of the highlights of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) is always the amazing plenary speakers. Over the next week and a bit we’ll be featuring all the plenary speakers on this blog. If you’re excited to hear them speak in person, make sure you register now for IMCC4. Discounted registration is available until May 8th.

 

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Plenary Speech: Leveraging strategies from civic, citizen, and open science to make research matter

Max Liboiron is an Assistant Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her research focuses on how harmful yet invisible threats from marine toxicants and plastics become visible in science and activism, and how these methods of representation relate to action. Liboiron is founder and director of Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR), which creates citizen science technologies for environmental monitoring of plastic pollution. She is also managing editor of Discard Studies, a public online forum for audiences interested in research on waste and pollution. Prior to her position at Memorial, Liboiron was a postdoctoral fellow at both Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) and with Intel’s Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. She holds a Ph.D. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. You can follow Max on Twitter @maxliboiron.

4th International Marine Conservation Congress Plenaries: Michelle LaRue

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One of the highlights of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) is always the amazing plenary speakers. Over the next week and a bit we’ll be featuring all the plenary speakers on this blog. If you’re excited to hear them speak in person, make sure you register now for IMCC4. Discounted registration is available until May 8th.
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Michelle LaRue is a research ecologist at the University of Minnesota studying populations of polar vertebrates, including penguins, seals, and polar bears. After years of research that included distance sampling of white-tailed deer, habitat analysis for mountain lions, old growth forest inventory, and leading research for five Antarctic field seasons, Michelle earned her PhD in conservation biology at the University of Minnesota in 2014. Her dissertation work included developing remote sensing methods to assess populations of penguins and seals, and ultimately resulted in the first global assessment of the two Antarctic penguin species. Michelle has continued this line of work and currently focuses on the biogeography, and effects of sea ice extent and variability on ice-dependent populations in the Antarctic, with implications for Southern Ocean conservation. You can follow Michelle on Twitter @drmichellelarue.

The Importance of Fundraising for IMCC4: Bringing a Community Together

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by Natalie Richárd

The International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) couldn’t exist without fundraising or the support of the host city. This year, IMCC4 will be hosted in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, which is a special place indeed; friendly, caring and genuinely supportive. When I recently moved here this past fall to attend Memorial University, I was welcomed with open arms and I believe the open arm welcome pertains to IMCC as well. One of my jobs as Fundraising Chair is to bring attention to the cause and the first step to action is awareness. Through a collaborative effort from the Fundraising Committee I feel we have achieved awareness for our cause and many local business are not only supportive but have given graciously. We have received many contributions from the city, government, and local businesses in St. John’s.

Fundraising doesn’t end with soliciting contributions, it is about bringing awareness and a community together for support. With the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook awareness to IMCC has been a local success. For example, VisitStJohns.ca captured one of my tweets and got involved in our cause by publishing an online call for abstracts in the science section. Although this is not a monetary contribution it was a gracious gesture for making IMCC relevant in the community. 

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Through the countless emails and contacts that go unanswered the only one that matters is the ‘YES’! My motto in fundraising is and will always be ‘they can only say no’ and through this motto we have successfully approached our goal. Fundraising can be difficult and frustrating, but very rewarding. When you discover a corporation, small business, or a government willing to contribute it makes all of the hard work worth it. One of our contributors told me through an email, “I have been involved in fundraising and I know how difficult it is; what can I do to help?”  I believe to be a successful fundraiser there is one constant element, passion for what you believe in. The ocean is a special place and I hope through the efforts of the fundraising committee we have shared the importance of our cause.

 

Natalie RichardNatalie Richárd is IMCC4 Fundraising Chair and a member of staff at Memorial University. IMCC4 continues to seeking funding support in order to help it achieve all of its impact goals. If you or your organisation would like to support IMCC please visit our sponsorship webpage or email Natalie.  

Make the Most of Your IMCC4 Delegate Discounts

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By Edward Hind

We all know that attending conferences is more expensive than we’d like, especially for those of us funding attendance out-of-pocket. Even if you’re a well funded senior scientist, you’ll clearly be trying to find ways to bring as many of your lab members as possible to the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4). Well, either way, no worries, help is at hand in the form of generous travel discounts to IMCC4 delegates:

Air Travel: Air Canada and Star Alliance

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IMCC4 sponsors, Air Canada, and their partners at Star Alliance, are offering discounted air flights to anybody travelling to St. John’s to attend the Congress. You can obtain the discount codes at the following website. Make sure you use them when booking your flight!


Accommodation: Delta Hotel & Conference Centre

IMCC4_DeltaThere is no better choice of IMCC4 accommodation than the Delta Hotel and Conference Centre. The facility is hosting the Congress, so you’ll be able to roll out of bed straight into the first plenary of the day (via coffee of course!). Not only that, the on-site hotel is kindly offering significantly discounted rooms to conference delegates. Just use the code and booking site provided on this website. You’ll save yourself a lot of journey time and money staying at the Delta!

Accommodation: Memorial University Dorms

IMCC4_MemorialWhile you won’t be able to walk to the conference venue staying in this budget accommodation, you will find some great rates. Ideal accommodation for students. Rooms are reserved for IMCC4 delegates. Book here.


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