Special open IMCC5 Symposium on biodiversity indicators


by Abigail McQuatters-Gollop

From science to evidence – innovative uses of biodiversity indicators for effective marine policy and conservation


Indicators are effective tools for summarizing and communicating key aspects of ecosystem state and have a long record of use in marine pollution and fisheries management. The application of biodiversity indicators to assess the status of species, habitats, and functional diversity in marine conservation and policy, however, is rapidly developing and multiple indicator roles and features are emerging. For example, some operational biodiversity indicators trigger management action when a threshold is reached, while others play an interpretive, or surveillance, role in informing management. Additionally, links between pressures and biodiversity indicators may be unclear or obscured by environmental change. Finally, much practical work on applying biodiversity indicators to marine policy and conservation is developing rapidly in the management realm, with a lag before academic publication. Making best use of biodiversity indicators depends on sharing and synthesizing cutting-edge knowledge and experiences.

Our special open symposium, entitled “From science to evidence – innovative uses of biodiversity indicators for effective marine policy and conservation”, will provide examples of biodiversity indicator application in policy and conservation followed by a discussion of common themes and challenges. We are looking for presenters who will describe a diverse range of applied case study uses of biodiversity indicators as well as insights into biodiversity indicator theory.

Diversity and inclusivity are key to aggregating the widest-ranging collection of experiences and examples and we specifically encourage abstract applications from workers from Eastern regions and from developing countries. The session will conclude with a discussion addressing the question ‘How can we move forward with biodiversity indicator use in marine policy and conservation?’ This overarching question will be further discussed in the associated focus group session, with the objective of publishing a scientific paper on the topic.


Herbivorous fish are one example of an indicator managers can use to assess the health of marine ecosystems (© Abigail McQuatters-Gollop)


If you are interested in speaking, please send your abstract to me by 9 March 2018 at abigail.mcquatters-gollop@plymouth.ac.uk. We will then give you a session code to use when you submit your abstract to the conference via the website.

If you have any questions at all please ask!

Looking forward to seeing you at IMCC,

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop (Plymouth University), Ian Mitchell (JNCC), and Saskia Otto (University of Hamburg)



Following in the footsteps of Wallace at IMCC5


By Edd Hind-Ozan


At this year’s 5th International Marine Conservation Congress you’ll be able to hear about cutting edge efforts to protect the oceans from leading practitioners in the field. The meeting’s Call for Abstracts is open until March 16, so you also still have a chance to present your work. But, as you surely know, attending a conference is about so much more than the meeting itself. It’s also a chance to explore a place you’ve never been before. As a conservation biologist, what better place to explore than the one that Alfred Russell Wallace was himself exploring when writing his seminal, On the Law Which Has Regulated the Introduction of New Species?

The man, the myth, the legend himself, Alfred Russell Wallace (© London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company)


Wallace’s The Malay Archipelago describes his wild adventures in Borneo (© Macmillan).


Yes! IMCC5 is being held in Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, where Wallace developed his theory of evolution, in the process of collecting 25,000 insect species and performing taxidermy on orangutans (in the name of science!). While relaxing between congress sessions in Sarawak’s leafy capital, Kuching, you’ll be able to wander over to the Natural History Museum where some of his collections are still held. In addition, the IMCC5 field trips will allow you to explore the forests, rivers, and coasts that inspired Wallace into writing his much celebrated travel book, The Malay Archipelago.

A young scientist following in the footsteps of Wallace at the Natural History Museum in Kuching, and your IMCC5 Chair (© Edd Hind-Ozan).


The field trips, which you will be able to sign up for when registration opens, include visits to Semenggoh Wildlife Center to see orangutans in the wild, as well as the rainforests and mangroves of the world-famous known Bako National Park where you can see strangling figs, carnivorous pitcher plants, and symbiotic ant plants, as well as long-tailed macaque monkeys, wild boar, flying squirrels, and monitor lizards. Of course, it’s a marine conference, so you’ll be able to chill with the very charismatic Irrawaddy dolphins on our Mangrove and Dolphin Cruise too!


We probably should be using an image showing the marine life you’ll see at IMCC5, BUT IT’S A FREAKIN’ ORANGUTAN!!! (© Edd Hind-Ozan).

So at IMCC5 this summer: hear science, be science, and walk in the footsteps of science! Find out more about what you can get up to while in Kuching on our congress website.


Edward Hind-Ozan is the IMCC5 Chair and Vice President of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Marine Section.