IMCC3 Theme Unfolds: Collaboration and Communication

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by Lizzie Huxley-Jones

While one could argue that the theme of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, is a glut of haggis consumption or taking selfies with stuffed mascots, another theme has uncovered itself through talks over the last couple of days—collaborate and communicate.

Well I suppose that could be two themes, but just work with me.

The call for effective collaboration and communication has been sounded in many of the IMCC3 talks and workshops I have attended over the last few days.

An emphasis on quality not quantity, and inclusive working processes that include all stakeholders, have rung through the calls to action and take-home messages of presentations. Knowledge sharing between diverse stakeholders allows novel thought processes, representation of all viewpoints and broadened potential outreach.

One successful example of this was fisher-to-fisher cross-geographical collaboration, promoted by John Williamson of SeaKeeper as an opportunity for direct peer-to-peer exchange of cultural knowledge that may never have been shared without this engagement. My own work at International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) is currently focused on a fisher exchange of our own (which you can follow online at our website and via #IPNLFvoyage on Twitter), but a collaborative approach runs through all our work, through Fisheries Improvement Projects to encouraging European retailers to fund projects in tuna producing countries.

I came to IMCC to find novel ways of sharing the amazing work we do. Every time I tell someone about the exchange in particular, eyes widen, smiles broaden and cries of “amazing” and “cool” slip out. I want to tap into that instant response, and share the stories of the work IPNLF and our partners do around the world.

The desire to share information is in all of us – we just need to find the tools to do this. The conservation marketing workshop held on Saturday afternoon had around 90 attendees, all keen to gain new skills to tap into the foreign dialects of branding and marketing. We have recognised we need to adapt our stories, but it’s clear we haven’t reached fluency yet, particularly when it comes to that mysterious language of politics.

Future communications aside, it has been astoundingly clear to me that we are, as a community, engaged in some of the best story-sharing platforms. Nowhere is this clearer than Twitter, IMCC’s unofficial communications tool of choice. As Dr. Chris Parsons shared on Twitter, in the first official day of the IMCC, over 6,720 tweets were shared on the conference hashtag by that day. This doesn’t even include the potential comments that were made without including the hashtag. I’m sure plenty of you have noticed those screens don’t always contain the same faces – though I’ve seen mine looming a few too many times for my own comfort level.

By sharing the content of talks and discussions via social media, we are widening our net, sharing ideas across the world with people who were unable to join us in Glasgow and people who may never have thought much about marine conservation before. Hopefully we aren’t preaching to too many of the already converted, but even if we are, at least we are providing them with the new information for improving communication that we are lucky enough to hear first-hand.

Together we are a great force for science and conservation, creating an accessible flow of knowledge in bitesize chunks that will hopefully help combat pseudoscience – I’m looking at you Shark Week – and planetary apathy. Let’s take this enthusiasm for our work, in whatever field it may be, and come together to make the best stories we can. Let’s take a note from the arts and remember Philip Pullman’s wise words: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world”.

-Lizzie Huxley-Jones is the Communications Coordinator for the International Pole and Line Foundation

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) works to help develop sustainable and equitable pole and line fisheries and to increase the market share of sustainably and equitably caught pole and line tuna. IPNLF, which was launched in November 2011, is officially registered in the UK and has branch offices in the Maldives and Indonesia. IPNLF is a hub for likeminded people and commercial operations that want to support the sustainable and equitable development of pole and line tuna. Membership is open to all organisations involved in the pole and line tuna supply chain, from individual fisheries to communities and markets.

Symposium focus: Help shape the future for marine research collaboration in Small Island States

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By Edd Hind and Steve Alexander

If you work or conduct research in small island developing states (SIDS) you should make the attendance of a SIDS symposium in the Alsh Room, August 17, 3-5pm a priority at #IMCC3:

Foreign scientists in small island developing states: the challenges of performing relevant research, drawing valid conclusions, and impacting policy

It’s an important time for SIDS. This year has been recognised by the United Nations as the International Year of Small Island Developing States, and the future of their peoples, economies and environments will be discussed at several high profile conferences. As SIDS are even more dependent on marine ecosystems than other nations (think nutrition from seafood, livelihoods from beach tourism, hurricane protection from coral reefs!), we want #IMCC3 to be the forum where SCB members come together to decide how they can best conduct marine science to support future socio-ecological sustainability in SIDS.

In the symposium we will be specifically considering how international marine research collaborations are being conducted in SIDS, and to what extent they support priority science and management needs. It will kick off with a series of case studies and personal reflections representing a diversity of perspectives and experiences with contributions from Edd Hind (School for Field Studies), Stephanie Green (Oregon State University/ Smith Postdoctoral Fellow), Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (Waitt Institute), Michael Sweet (University of Derby), Jake Kritzer (Environmental Defense Fund), and Fabian Pina (Centro de Investigaciones de Ecosistemas Costeros, Cuba).

With significant time set aside for a discussion, we will also be asking participants to share their experiences of multinational research collaborations. We want to hear your thoughts on these and other questions:

  • What are the best groups for researchers to engage with before, during, and after research?
  • What should researchers do when there are no local outreach groups?
  • How can local institutions/individuals best engage foreign scientists and vice versa?
  • What is the best way to communicate to foreign scientists how their research can be most impactful locally in SIDS?

It’s time to expand and improve marine science collaborations in SIDS. Do please join us and help us let the wider research and policy communities know how this might be done!

If you can’t make the symposium do please follow along on Twitter during and after the symposium at #SIDSmarsci and by following @edd_hind, @salexander_11, @stepj_j_green,  @ayanaeliza and @jakeofish

A photo from Edd Hind of a fishing boat on South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos. Edd is an organizer for an IMCC3 symposium on marine research collaboration in small island developing states (SIDS).

A photo from Edd Hind of a fishing boat on South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos. Edd is an organizer for an IMCC3 symposium on marine research collaboration in small island developing states (SIDS).

Tips on Visiting Glasgow: Know Your Scots from Your Scotch

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For delegates of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress visiting Scotland from afar later this month, here are some important tips to help you be in the know and avoid looking like a Glasgow newbie.

  • Glasgow is pronounced “Glass – go”
  • Edinburg is pronounced “Ed-in-bruh” (as in BRUsh).
  • Oban is pronounced “Oh-bun” no “O’ban”
  • Scotland is NOT in England, and if you live in Scotland, you are Scottish or a Scot (not Scotch and definitely NOT English)
  • A haggis is NOT a native animal in Scotland – you really do not want to know what a haggis is made from, but it is surprisingly tasty. For those adverse to eating random offal in a bag, vegetarian haggis is totally delicious.
  • People from Scotland are Scottish, not Scotch, that is a drink. In fact, if you want scotch in Scotland, just ask for whisky
  • Irish whiskey is spelled with an “e,” and Scottish whisky is spelled without one. This is because Irish Whiskey exporters wanted to look more posh (this is true).
  • Bourbon is NOT whisky.
  • A pudding is a heart- and artery-destroying sausage. It does not taste like chocolate.
  • Scones are flat, fried potato pancakes and you shouldn’t put cream and jam on them.
  • Glaswegians will get very upset if you suggest that all their food is battered and deep fried. Although, every Glaswegian I know says they have tried and liked deep-fried pizza and deep-fried Mars bars.
  • Hershey bars are legally not considered to be chocolate in the UK – they take their chocolate seriously.
  • Braveheart bears no resemblance to Scottish history, whatsoever.
  • The traditional dress for men is a kilt, not a skirt. The traditional Scottish costume for men has a small knife that you wear tucked into your sock. This is for dealing with people who try to flip your kilt up.
  • Nothing is worn under the kilt – it’s all in perfect working order. (This is a very old Scottish joke, that every Scot will have heard before, so don’t try it)
  • Only American tourists of the worst kind wear plaid jackets, trousers (pants) and tam o’shanter hats.
  • It’s “tartan,” not “plaid.”
  • The traditional highland tartan was basically an early form of camouflage, using dyes from traditional plants. This aided cattle rustling and raiding attempts.
  • The idea that different clans and families have different tartans is an ancient tradition dating back to …1822. Clans did often have similar colours in their tartans because of local plants used in dying, and the same weavers making the plaid, but the elaborate genealogy of tartans is something invented relatively recently.
  • The Scots actually came from Ireland. They colonized southwestern Scotland and then expanded to take over the rest of the country, dominating the Picts who lived there prior.
  • Glasgow was actually colonised by the Welsh (technically native Britons who lived in England before Anglo-Saxons invaded). There are lot of strange, unique words in the local dialect as a result.
  • The Norse also conquered western and northern Scotland and ruled it for hundreds of years – genetically, this explains the large numbers of “gingers” in some regions.
  • The scale that measures the degree to which a patient is in a coma, was developed in Glasgow.
  • James Doohan (Scotty), Christopher Lambert (Highlander), Mel Gibson (Braveheart) and Shrek do not have genuine Scottish accents. (Although, Mike Myers, who voices Shrek has Glaswegian family and can do a good accent).
  • No one says “och aye the noo” or “hoots mon” or “see you Jimmy.”
  • Famous Glaswegians actors include: Robbie Carlyle (Trainspotting, One Upon a Time, Stargate: Universe), John Barrowman (Torchwood, Dr. Who), Peter Capaldi (the new Dr. Who), Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Billy Connelly, Gerard Butler (300), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Ian De Caestecker (Agents of Shield), John Hannah (The Mummy), David McAllum (Man from Uncle), Kelly MacDonald (Boardwalk Empire, Trainspotting), James McAvoy (X-Men First Class and almost everything these days).
  • There is a police box (yes an actual TARDIS) in the center of Glasgow, that is a registered historic monument.

-These tips were provided by Dr. Chris Parsons—IMCC3 Chair, marine conservation scientist and renowned Brit.

Take the Poster Pledge: Attend the IMCC3 Poster Session

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by Edd Hind

Edd Hind presenting a poster during a poster session at a previous conference. Going to poster sessions is important to poster presenters and benefits those who attend.

Edd Hind presenting a poster during a poster session at a previous conference. Going to poster sessions is important to poster presenters and benefits those who attend.

As anybody who has been to the last two International Marine Conservation Congresses will know, the program of talks, symposia, workshops and events is action-packed. It’s why the conferences are so good. However, there is a danger that with so many choices, you miss making one of the most important choices of your whole conference: to make sure you attend the IMCC3 Poster Session, Exhibit Hall, 15 August from 7:30 to 9pm.

As a poster presenter at IMCC1 in Washington, DC, I can’t speak highly enough of the chance I had to discuss my research with those who took the time to come and talk to me about governance of Filipino marine protected areas. However, attending poster sessions is not just about making presenters feel worthwhile… It’s also about the benefits to you!

We asked Twitter why you should attend a poster session, and this is what people had to say:

[The] same reason as why you should attend talks. To learn about new research in your field.” (@whysharksmatter)

Personal interactions with presenters.” (@bgrassbluecrab)

Reviewing for oral presentations can be much more conservative, really interesting ideas can get their first airing in a poster” (@Craken_MacCraic)

There are some hidden gems.” (@RJlilley)

I like posters as you can display different types of data. Some of my most out-of-the-box work has been a poster.” (@Craken_MacCraic)

Provision of wine […] … more delegates pitch up and they are chattier!” (@TalkinOceans)

Poster sessions are […] friendly – less nerve wracking and tend to be in the evening.” (@Craken_MacCraic)

Beer!” (@ChrisDarimont)

And my favorite, from a recent graduate:

I was interviewed by someone who had a poster at a conference I attended.  Never saw her poster #doh #stoopid

So there you go… a few of a myriad of excellent reasons for attending the poster session at IMCC3. Take the poster pledge with me and promise to yourself and the poster presenters that you will be there. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the cash bar!

-Edd Hind is a Marine Resource Management faculty member with the School for Field Studies. He is also on the Communications Committee for IMCC3.

Plenary Focus: Sam Fanshawe Affirms Importance of Citizen Scientists, Volunteers in Marine Conservation

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Sam Fanshawe, pictured here at a 2007 Marine Conservation Society beach cleanup, will be speaking 14 August as an IMCC3 plenary.

Sam Fanshawe, pictured here at a 2007 Marine Conservation Society beach cleanup, will be a plenary speaker at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress.

In 2013, Sam Fanshawe became the first British woman to receive the Rachel Carson Prize, an award in memory of the American writer, scientist, marine biologist and environmental ethics advocate. Executive director of Marine Conservation Society, Fanshawe was granted the international environmental award for her “outstanding leadership of the sea charity” and the scope of her conservation work. Fanshawe is actively involved in conservation research, marine conservation policy and public engagement. She has led several high-profile marine conservation campaigns in the UK.

Fanshawe will be speaking at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC3) on citizen science and public participation in UK marine conservation. “The marine environment has been a notoriously difficult and expensive environment to monitor, resulting in a paucity of knowledge and understanding about the distribution and state of marine species, habitats and impacts for many years,” she explained. “Effectively trained volunteers, combined with robust methodologies, have filled numerous gaps in our baseline knowledge of the UK marine environment and provided vital evidence to support marine conservation policies and protection measures.”

Fanshawe studied marine sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on community ecology and interactions between sea otters, abalone and commercial fishermen. She joined the Marine Conservation Society, a UK-based charity, in 1994, coordinating the charity’s education and public engagement projects. The projects included Basking Shark Watch, Beachwatch (beach litter surveys) and Seasearch (underwater habitat and species surveys). This role developed into one focused on informing and influencing UK policies for marine wildlife protection and sustainable management, including protection of the basking shark and the Review of Marine Nature Conservation that led to the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2010. Director and Chief Executive since 2005, Fanshawe continues to champion the charity’s mission to inspire, inform, involve and influence everyone with a role to play in protecting seas, shores and marine life.

Fanshawe said she’s looking forward to emphasizing the important role of citizen science during her plenary speech at IMCC3. She stated, “This is a really exciting opportunity to reflect and applaud the role that citizen science and volunteers have played in marine conservation over the past 20 to 30 years and discuss with experts and practitioners from around the globe, the potential to build on this to protect the seas for our future.”

Fanshawe will be featured as an IMCC3 plenary speaker on 14 August 2014 at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, a day showcasing strong female marine conservationists.

-Samantha Oester is a Co-Chair and Communications Chair for IMCC3. She can be reached at soester@gmu.edu for information on the IMCC3 Plenary Speakers and other facets of the Congress.

 

Meet the IMCC3 Local Secretariat: Scotland Team

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Dominc McCafferty

Dr. Dominic McCafferty, professor at the University of Glasgow, is Head of the Local Secretariat for the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress

Dr. Dominic McCafferty, Head of Local Secretariat

Dominic is the Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow, in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine.  He has a passion for the marine environment in Scotland and a special interest in seal conservation. He teaches on a variety of undergraduate and masters courses, as well as participates in a wide range of public outreach activities. One of the highlights of the year is coordinating a field course on marine mammal biology at Field Studies Council, Millport. Dominic lives in a small village, close to Scotland’s first national park at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, together with his wife, ten-year old daughter and chocolate Labrador. He looks forward to welcoming International Marine Conservation Congress delegates to Glasgow in August.

 

Natalie WeldenAssistant to Chair and Local Secretariat

Natalie Welden is the Assistant to Chair and Local Secretariat for IMCC3.

Natalie Welden is the Assistant to Chair and Local Secretariat for IMCC3.

Natalie, originally from Nottingham, grew up canoeing and kayaking on the River Trent. Realizing there were jobs that would keep her on and around water, she chose to study ecology, focusing on aquatic habitats. Starting her studies in Derby, she made her way north to the Scotland, with short stops for an M.Sc. in Marine Environmental Management and a stint with the Environment Agency in York, as well as a summer surveying cetaceans with the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre in Wales. Now based on the Isle of Cumbrae, Natalie is writing up her Ph.D. on the impacts of marine microplastic in the Clyde Sea – she wishes her laptop had enough power to work on the beach. When not working on her thesis, Natalie loves birding, and often disappears to remote locations to look for another feathery find for her list. She also works with the RYA as an environmental advisor and volunteers for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology. For someone outside in all weathers, she owns an almost shocking amount of pink clothing and refuses to stop dying her hair ridiculous colours. 

 

Kirsteen McColganLocal Logistics and Volunteers

Kirsteen McColgan is handling local logistics and overseeing volunteers at IMCC3.

Kirsteen McColgan is handling local logistics and overseeing volunteers at IMCC3.

Kirsteen lives in the beautiful village of Lochwinnoch, about half an hour from Glasgow, surrounded by stunning countryside and a wealth of nature. With a background in marketing and communications, she is relishing the opportunity to use her practical skills in promotion and writing to engage with marine conservationists and, ultimately, bring about change. She’s looking forward to experiencing the International Marine Conservation Congress.

 

Tunnock’s and Me: A Marine Biologist’s Love Affair with Scottish Sweets

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Marine biologist Natalie Welden’s love affair with Tunnock’s  products prompted her to ask the family-owned and operated Scottish sweets company to become a sponsor of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress, taking place in Glasgow 14-18 August. Welden, a member of the IMCC3 Local Organizing Committee, was unsure of what their response might be (a sweets company and a marine conservation conference?). To our delight, Tunnock’s gladly offered to become an IMCC3 sponsor. Welden was so delighted, she wanted to share her Tunnock’s love story.

Tunnock’s and Me

by Natalie Welden

Tunnock's, a family-run Scottish company, is a sponsor of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. (Photo by Natalie Welden)

Tunnock’s, a family-run Scottish company, is a sponsor of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. (Photo by Natalie Welden)

Some days you find yourself hard at work on a paper, others you find yourself leaving the house at 10pm to take photographs of confectionary in the sunset. Not a bad night for it really. There are sandwich terns foraging just off the headland, the Waverly (our last seagoing paddle steamer) is chuffing past, and there are blissfully few midges. I wish I could say that the otters put in an appearance, but I’d be lying. There is, of course, a very logical reason for my snack-based walk. One of the sponsors of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress is Tunnock’s, a Scottish family-run business, who have been making delicious chocolaty snacks since 1890.

However, my Tunnock’s addiction began long before I moved to Scotland. When I was a teenager, my dad used to pack Tunnock’s caramel wafers in our lunch boxes for our hill-walking trips. There’s no better source of energy than a hot cup of coffee and a caramel wafer when you’re half way up a rain-soaked mountainside.

When I swapped cold, damp mountains for cold, damp research boats, the wafers came with me. And on arriving in Scotland, I branched out to include the marshmallow-filled Tunnock’s Teacakes in my snack box. They’ve kept me awake and functioning on cetacean trips in the Hebrides and bird surveys in the Irish Sea. I’ve been soaked, sunburned, and sea sick all in one trip, but I’ve certainly not been hungry. It’s become a little bit of a running joke at my expense; last year I even managed to decorate my Christmas tree using Teacake wrappers – it was my most delicious decorating session to date. In my opinion, Tunnock’s is fieldwork fuel (and they’re welcome to use that as a slogan if they pay off my uni debts).

If you want to try some for yourself, you can pick up a tiny taste of Scottish sweetness at registration, but move fast. I’ll be first in the queue.