IMCC3 Chair Dr. Chris Parsons Underscores the Need for Impactful Outputs from Scientific Conferences

ESP faculty Dr. Chris Parsons introducing a plenary speaker

Dr. Chris Parsons is the Chair for the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. He is pictured here speaking at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in 2013.

Dr. Chris Parsons has worked on conservation projects on all seven continents in more than two decades of marine mammal conservation research. He has published more than 100 journal articles on conservation issues and numerous book chapters, reports and popular articles, in print and online. He is currently an associate professor of marine conservation in the department of Environmental Science & Policy at George Mason University and the meeting chair of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC3).

About serving as Chair of IMCC3, Parsons said, “It’s probably one of the most complicated and difficult, but also most rewarding and significant things that I’ve ever been involved with. Luckily I have a great team that work with me that help turn the insurmountable into the possible!” Parsons assisted with organizing IMCC1 and IMCC2, as well as the International Congress for Conservation Biology in 2013. He serves on the Scientific Committee and the Environmental Concerns Sub-Committee of the International Whaling Commission.

He is actively involved in marine conservation policy and human dimensions of the marine environment. He is an organizer for a symposium at IMCC3 on human-wildlife conflict. He will also be speaking as part of a symposium and focus group on ethics and welfare of marine animals in conservation.

Parsons is considered to be a leading expert in cetacean biology and marine mammal conservation biology. He was previously the Senior Research Associate at the University Marine Biological Station Millport in the U.K., as well as Director of Research and Education for the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust. He received a PhD from the University of Hong Kong, where he studied Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and finless porpoises. He has also researched marine exotoxicology and marine noise pollution. He is active in conservation communication and has published several articles on the importance of honing communication skills for scientists.


Parsons has worked on marine conservation projects on all seven continents in more than two decades of marine research.

Parsons is the chair of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Conference Committee and recently completed two terms as the President of SCB’s Marine Section (SCBMarine). IMCC is the international conference of SCBMarine. “The IMCCs are the largest international meetings of marine conservation academics and practitioners,” Parsons maintained. He said IMCCs are more than presentations and publications in scientific journals. He stressed the necessity of direct conservation outputs that are “meaningful and have a ‘real-world’ impact…. [IMCCs] positively affect policy, management and public understanding and concern about marine conservation issues.”

Follow Parsons on Twitter @Craken_MacCraic.