IMCC3 FOCUS GROUPS
Two pre-congress focus groups will take place on Tuesday 12 August or Wednesday 13 August. Two post-congress focus groups will take place on Tuesday 19 August. Fourteen focus groups will take place during IMCC, from 14 August to 18 August. Some focus groups may have an attendee capacity and may require registration. Focus group descriptions can be found below.
More information on focus group times, locations, and registration coming soon.
Pre-Meeting Focus Groups
- Managing Marine Resources on the Move
- Integrating Marine Mammal Conservation: Human Dimensions and the Practitioner (Publication Development)
Post-Meeting Focus Groups
- Developing an Approach for Integrating Genetics into MPA Design and Spatial Planning Processes
- Developing Coral Reef Conservation Priorities Given Changing Global and Local Realities
Focus Groups During the Congress
- Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea: Integrating Historical Ecology into Marine Conservation and Management
- Tricks for the Trade: Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Spatial Planning
- Understanding Audiences: How can Research into Public Perceptions of the Sea Support Marine Conservation?
- Connecting People and Ecosystems: How Recognizing, Demonstrating and Capturing Ecosystem Service Values Can Support Conservation and Development
- Marine Animals in Conservation: Ethics and Welfare
- Challenges in Quantifying the Avoidance Behavior of Birds to Offshore Wind Turbines
- A Discussion of the Needs for Modeling and Assessment to Understand Whale-Watching Impacts
- Using the Current State of Science and Law to Inform the Determination of Baselines and Ecological Significance for Cumulative Effects Assessments
- Seafood Security and Food Ethics: Transforming Marine Science into Marine Policy
- Building a Society for Conservation Biology Working Group on Conservation Marketing
- Complementing MPAs in the Management of Small-Scale Fisheries: Other Tools and Approaches
- Making Citizen Science Matter
- Moving Beyond Paper Agreements: Catalyzing Conservation Action by National Governments
- Investigating Marine Social-Ecological Systems: A Trans-Disciplinary Framework for a Sustainable Future
Pre-Meeting Focus Groups
Managing Marine Resources on the Move
Kristy J. Kroeker of the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, Jennifer Sunday of the University of British Columbia
Marine species are shifting their global distributions in response to climate warming. As species move, the function of ecosystems and their services may be compromised. How can we best manage our oceans given these changing distributions, in order to secure resources and ecosystems services in the future? Management of marine ecosystems must allow for immigration of new taxa from warmer regions if they are to act as thermal refugia in a global context. We propose a focus group to address concrete management actions that can allow, foster, and even promote shifts that will most likely lead to whole ecosystem preservation into new regions (e.g., from local stressor management to building habitat in appropriate climates to assisted migration). We will focus efforts on systems or taxa in which action will be most clearly beneficial, such as immigration of foundational species (e.g. coral, mangroves, kelp forests), based on their known role in maintaining ecosystem services. We plan to bring together experts on climate-related range shifts with managers and spatial planners to make data-driven management recommendations for particular ecosystem types. The climate-driven shifting of species and entire ecosystems represents a new frontier in marine management. Our most sound collective responses and actions will be those guided by the best available science on the mechanics of range shifts and the functioning of ecosystems.
Integrating Marine Mammal Conservation: Human Dimensions and the Practitioner (Publication Development)
Chris Parson of George Mason University, Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute, Kassandra Cerveny of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Carolina Behe of the Inuit Circumpolar Council
Marine mammal conservation is unique because many species are difficult to study due to their pelagic nature, resulting in significant data gaps. All marine mammals are protected in the US under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and some species have additional protection under the Endangered Species Act. However, few species exist only in the US, so conservation plans often must include international cooperation, including First Nations tribes. Marine mammals also frequently interact with industry via competition, by-catch, and critical habitat designation. Many marine mammal species are consumed by subsistence users, and internationally through commercial and scientific whaling exemptions to the IWC. Thus, marine mammal conservation must take a multidisciplinary approach (oceanography, fisheries biology), and integrate priorities of diverse stakeholders (policy makers, industry, subsistence users). This focus group will integrate presentations from the 2013 ICCB symposium and 2013 SMM workshop (Human Dimensions Training for Practitioners) into a handbook of best practices for advancing an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to marine mammal conservation. This focus group will produce a handbook that addresses a key knowledge gap in marine mammal conservation teaching practitioners of science and conservation how to interact effectively with multiple stakeholders to achieve conservation goals.
Post-Meeting Focus Groups
Developing an Approach for Integrating Genetics into MPA Design and Spatial Planning Processes
F. Kershaw of Columbia University in the City of New York, H.C. Rosenbaum of the Wildlife Conservation Society
This Focus Group aims to address the following: How can we integrate genetic information into marine protection and spatial planning tools? In essence, how can we make marine science matter? The persistence of biodiversity requires the protection of evolutionary processes at the scale of ecosystems, species, and populations. The importance of accounting for evolutionary processes in marine spatial planning efforts has been reflected in a range of policy mechanisms, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Genetic tools can provide information that directly responds to this need, including the identification and distribution of species and population units, delineating habitat use of distinct populations, elucidating patterns of genetic connectivity - essential to the ecological coherence of MPA networks, and estimating effective population sizes. Protection of genetic diversity is becoming increasingly important due to climate change. Integration of genetic information into marine spatial planning has so far been lacking, however, despite significant scientific advances in the application of genetics in marine conservation and management. To address this implementation gap, this Focus Group will bring together geneticists working in the field of marine protection with practitioners and technical developers of marine planning tools to develop an approach to integrate genetic information in a way that is both ecologically meaningful and useful for managers.
Developing Coral Reef Conservation Priorities Given Changing Global and Local Realities
Maria Beger of the University of Queensland, Alan White of The Nature Conservancy, Alison Green of The Nature Conservancy, Jennifer McGowan of the University of Queensland, Hugh Possingham of the University of Queensland, Simon Donner of the University of British Colombia, Rebecca Weeks of James Cook University, Robecca Jumin of WWF Malaysia
This focus group will bring together a smaller group of experts to tackle the theoretical framework for managing transforming coral reefs, and to establish criteria for their assessment (such as which novel combinations of species are more robust, which are more or less valuable for biodiversity and sustainable use), and socio-economic factors. The focus group will tackle two main questions: (a) How can we integrate ecological and social conservation objectives to tackle changing reef futures and make them accessible to policy makers? (Particular focus will be on developing a set of socio-economic conservation objectives and design principles to match ecological objectives.) (b) What are the main information needs to plan and implement marine conservation and management for transforming reefs at different spatial scales (regional to local)? For example, expanding recent work for fishes, what are optimal spatial and temporal scales of conservation actions for invertebrate species?
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Coral Reef Conservation Priorities Given Changing Global and Local Realities: Focus on the Coral Triangle
Focus Groups During the Congress
Managing Human Legacies in a Changing Sea: Integrating Historical Ecology into Marine Conservation and Management
RH Thurstan of University of Queensland, L. McClenachan of Colby College, JN Kittinger of Standford University, J. Drew of Columbia University, JM Pandolfi of the University of Queensland
The importance of an historical perspective when managing marine populations and ecosystems is becoming globally recognised. Marine historical ecology (MHE) research continues to address critical knowledge gaps in areas as diverse as fisheries science, endangered species and catchment management. However, there are still few examples of such research being subsequently applied by management. This lack of application may be due to limited communication between researchers and managers, or it may be because historical ecology research outputs are difficult to translate into management objectives. During the IMCC2, a symposium into the potential application of historical data was successfully hosted, where a diverse group of panelists discussed the common challenges that arose in the application of long-term data to management. This focus group will expand upon previous work by discussing the role historical data can play in proactively advancing effective policy and evaluation of marine systems. Discussions will revolve around the potential role of historical data in contributing to quantitative models and management frameworks, and how impediments to its adoption can be overcome. This focus group will be a joint session with a symposium on the use of novel approaches to fill historic data gaps, and will present a valuable opportunity for researchers from different fields to consider the potential application of their work.
Tricks for the Trade: Identifying and Overcoming Barriers to Spatial Planning
Anne Guerry, Mary Ruckelshaus and Gregg Verutes,
Natural Capital Project
Nearly 150 countries have coastlines, many of which are working to obtain additional benefits from their oceans and coasts while preserving the natural capital that underpins those benefits. Coastal and marine planning promises to do just that, but is far from easy. Challenges include narrowing objectives, aligning appropriate authorities, prioritizing data collection, and synthesizing information. There is great demand for credible, practical approaches and tools for marine planning. Informed by experience in spatial planning in Belize, Canada, the USA, and elsewhere, we have built a beta-version of an open-source, science-driven tool to help overcome barriers to spatial planning in marine and coastal systems. It includes models for exploring how various activities affect a range of benefits derived from marine and coastal systems, valuation of ecosystem services, and optimization of diverse benefits. At the focus group, we will solicit input from planners, scientists, and other stakeholders to shape our continuing work on the tool. We will ask participants to articulate barriers to spatial planning, explore how tools might help overcome some of those, and envision novel solutions to remaining challenges. Outcomes will include: an improved tool for spatial planning that serves the needs of a wider community, development of new international collaborations for the exchange of experiences and ideas, and a peer-reviewed paper addressing barriers, opportunities, and lessons learned.
Understanding Audiences: How can Research into Public Perceptions of the Sea Support Marine Conservation?
Rebecca Jefferson of Plymouth University, Emma McKinley of the University of Chichester
This focus group will follow on from a symposium which provides a background of research into public perceptions of the sea, discussing research findings and their application to marine conservation. Additionally, presenters will highlight gaps in our understanding of public perceptions of the sea, and questions of how this research can be used more effectively to support marine science: specifically how we can make this science matter. The aim of the focus group is to bring together an international audience of academics and practitioners, to discuss pertinent questions and move forwards the agenda on how to best use research into public perceptions of the sea to achieve marine conservation outcomes. The focus group will look at improving the application of this research to marine conservation through discussing four of questions: (1) What are the priorities for future research on public perceptions of the sea? (2) How can public perceptions research be made most accessible to practitioners and policymakers? (3) How can connections be fostered between researchers to support cohesion in the research, and practitioners to encourage application of this research to marine conservation? (4) What is our baseline of public perceptions? By discussing these questions, the participants will investigate how public perception research can be made most relevant to marine conservation, and what capacity is needed to ensure that this research can have an impact.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Understanding Audiences: How Research into Public Perceptions of the Sea can Support Marine Conservation
Connecting People and Ecosystems: How Recognizing, Demonstrating and Capturing Ecosystem Service Values Can Support Conservation and Development
Christian Neumann of GRID-Arendal, Jackie Alder of UNEP, Tundi Agardy of Forest Trends, Steven Lutz of GRID-Arendal, Marianne Kettunen of IEEP
Ecosystem Services in the coastal and marine environment are receiving growing scientific and political attention. Science has helped us assess ecosystem services, anticipate future outcomes regarding ecosystem services delivery, and place economic value on coastal and marine habitats for the myriad services they provide. Paralleling significant effort being currently focused on economic valuation, we will explore other ways that ecosystem service information can be incorporated into marine spatial planning, MPA design, and ecosystem-based management more generally. Collectively, this information can be a powerful tool to reconcile the fields of environmental conservation and economic and social development, as ecosystems are now understood as Green Capital, a prerequisite to sustainable development. The symposium and focus group will draw on experience and approaches of a broad range of projects and initiatives, including: TEEB for Oceans & Coasts, Forest Trends Marine Ecosystem Services (MARES) Program, Blue Solutions (a project by GIZ, GRID-Arendal, IUCN and UNEP), the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) Blue Forests Project, the IEEPs Assessment Guide Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas. The symposium and focus group aim to provide guidance as to how to design, implement and communicate science on marine and coastal ecosystem services, so it becomes a significant driver for coastal and marine conservation and the overall well-being of coastal communities.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Connecting People and Ecosystems: How Recognizing, Demonstrating and Capturing Ecosystem Service Values Can Support Conservation and Development
Marine Animals in Conservation: Ethics and Welfare
Amanda Lombard of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and University of Cape Town, Chris Draper of Born Free, Chris Parsons of George Mason University, David Lavigne of Independent Scientist, Katheryn Patterson of George Mason University, Megan Draheim of the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute, Philippa Brakes of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society
Animal welfare considerations, and the ethics we apply in conservation activities, are becoming increasingly important issues as humans place greater pressures on natural systems for resources, research, education and recreation. While adverse human impacts on ecosystems and populations receive considerable attention, the welfare of individuals is often ignored, or it is argued that individual sacrifice is ethically justified as a means to achieving improved conservation of populations. Public interest in marine conservation, however, is often raised by the plight of an individual marine creature. Individual animals in the marine realm face many challenges to their welfare, and this Symposium aims to explore the nature of these challenges, and to provide recommendations for integrating marine animal welfare science into our marine activities. We have a combined symposium and focus group. The symposium will address conceptual issues and provide case studies on hot topics, and the focus group will build on these issues and capture lessons in a summary document with guiding principles which can then contribute towards existing and emerging policies. Although none of the 71 questions proposed as specific topics of interest to the congress directly deals with ethics and welfare, most of them are subsumed by this topic. We believe that a combined Symposium and Focus group will help to elevate the status of ethics and welfare in marine science, and show why it matters.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Marine Animals in Conservation: Ethics and Welfare
Challenges in Quantifying the Avoidance Behavior of Birds to Offshore Wind Turbines
Liz Humphreys of the British Trust for Ornithology, Ian Davies of Marine Scotland, Sjoerd Dirksen of Bureau Waardenburg, Lucy Wright of the British Trust for Ornithology
The risk of collision with operating turbine blades is considered to be one of the most important effects in assessing the potential impacts of offshore wind farms upon bird populations. Understanding those factors which determine the likelihood of a direct bird strike is paramount to quantifying possible mortality rates through collision risk modeling (CRM). Birds may either alter their flight paths around wind farms or actively divert away from rotating blades and this is collectively known as avoidance behaviour. CRM is particularly sensitive to the avoidance rates used, and improved estimates are critically required to better inform recommendations. This is of particular concern to industry as the calculated risk of birds colliding with turbines has contributed to the delay in the consent process or, in some cases, has resulted in applications being turned down. This focus group will draw from the symposium on interactions between birds and wind turbines to focus on three key questions that will be tackled through break out groups: (1) How should we define avoidance behaviour; (2) Are we using the right technology to quantify avoidance behaviour; (3) Capturing variability in avoidance rates - the evidence needed for robust CRM.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Interactions Between Birds and Wind Turbines: Understanding Collision Risks in the Marine Environment
A Discussion of the Needs for Modeling and Assessment to Understand Whale-Watching Impacts
Leslie New, U.S. Geological Survey
We will discuss the research questions and hypotheses that will benefit our understanding of whale-watching's impact on large cetaceans. We will guide the discussion to focus on the needs of various interest groups, and how these can be aligned to ensure that science can inform the policy, management and conservation of affected species. The goal is to build a strong scientific platform from which to assess the potential effects of whale-watching, as well as address those issues most important for the conservation and management of the species of concern. In uniting these objectives, we aim to make marine science matter by specifically linking cutting edge science to its practical application. Our focus group is aimed at diverse interest groups, including, but not limited to, conservation organizations, whale-watching companies, scientists and policy makers. To ensure that participants in the group begin the discussion on the same page, they must be provided with background information on the modeling and assessment of whale-watching impacts. The broad nature of the topic makes it impractical to include that information within the focus group itself, as this would severely limit time for discussion and interaction. In combining the focus group with a symposium, we can present our audience with the needed information, while providing people with the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas in order develop actionable outputs leading to a unified approach to the assessment of whale-watching impacts.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium The Modeling and Assessment to Understand Whale-Watching Impact
Using the Current State of Science and Law to Inform the Determination of Baselines and Ecological Significance for Cumulative Effects Assessments
Megan Mach, Sarah Mooney and Rebecca Martone,
Center for Ocean Solutions
Despite a general consensus that understanding the effects of human activities on the environment requires assessing cumulative effects, inconsistent and often fragmented methods for evaluating and mitigating cumulative effects pervades the law, science, and practice of cumulative effects assessments. Our interdisciplinary symposium will set the foundation for identifying how current scientific, legal, and practitioner perspectives consider the impacts of multiple stressors. Our focus group will build on this foundation by addressing the existing legal and scientific barriers of defining ecological significance and the use of environmental baselines in practice, two of the greatest barriers identified for cumulative effects assessments. To overcome the pervasive inconsistency in determining and applying significance and baselines, the focus group will work to identify actionable methods or best practices informed by science, and usable under the law and in practice. This joint symposium and focus group will provide a unique opportunity for scientists to collaborate with practitioners and legal experts, and to explore solutions to the barriers posed by current approaches to cumulative effects assessments. The novel solutions developed during this session make marine science matter by translating the best available science into recommendations that are salient and can be implemented by practitioners.
*This focus groups follows-up to the symposium Integrating Law and Science to Inform and Improve the Practice of Cumulative Effects Assessments
Seafood Security and Food Ethics: Transforming Marine Science into Marine Policy
Tony J. Pitcher of the University of British Columbia, Mimi E Lamb of the University of British Columbia, Bethann G. Merkle of Communications Consulting
This focus group is focused on communicating marine science in a way that matters not only to research scientists, but also to practitioners, policy-makers and the public. Following a joint symposium on marine conservation and seafood security, it will be co-facilitated by an ecologist, a journal editor, and a communications consultant. The focus group will distill from the symposium-generated dialogue clear policy guidelines and criteria for what makes seafood production systems both sustainable and ethical. It will develop a template for a research synthesis and policy paper and re-frame the conclusions into a story that will stick, to be disseminated in the popular media and as a policy paper. Often, scientists lack the training and experience in communicating their science in a way that is understandable and engaging to non-scientists, but these are precisely the skills that can make science matter. This focus group will hone these skills by example, using the scientific products of a joint symposium to develop an engaging story line for research and popular media outputs. Participants will be guided through the process of transforming good science into a good story for researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and the public. The sustainability and ethics of seafood production will resonate with all groups, as it captures emerging research that is integral to the culture and economies of many local communities, with global ramifications for seafood security policy.
Building a Society for Conservation Biology Working Group on Conservation Marketing
Andrew Wright of George Mason University, Diogo VerÃssimo of Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Kathleen Pilfold
This follows on from the Completive Outreach in the 21st Century: Why We Need Conservation Marketing symposium. We believe that there is sufficient interest in this area to support a full working group within the SCB. We also believe that this will generate a needed forum for discussion on this emerging discipline and a pool of expertise that does not currently exist. Marketing agents use techniques to convince the public to buy particular products, though developing relationships or creating positive associations with the particular item or service. Despite their malevolent reputation in conservation circles, the same techniques can be used to influence public behaviour regarding conservation matters, rather than re-inventing the wheel. This is likely to be even more important in advancing marine conservation efforts to which the public typically relate less than they do with more visible terrestrial problems.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Completive Outreach in the 21st Century: Why we need Conservation Marketing
Complementing MPAs in the Management of Small-Scale Fisheries: Other Tools and Approaches
Jennifer Selgrath and Kyle Gillespie,Project Seahorse and the University of British Columbia
We need effective approaches for management and conservation to make resource users like small-scale fisheries more sustainable in the > 99% of the ocean that remains unprotected. Community-established marine protected areas (MPAs) have become the conservation tool of choice in many coastal regions, particularly in developing countries where small-scale fisheries predominate. MPAs have led to many successes, but key MPA limitations (e.g. small size, limited overflow of biomass, inadequate enforcement) have made large scale conservation difficult to achieve in the absence of other management tools. Conservation and management efforts would benefit from a forum to think broadly about alternative approaches to MPAs and to complement and support the scattered efforts to implement other management measures. There are enormous opportunities for the sharing and development of alternative management practices. During the Complementing MPAs focus group and symposium, we will integrate the experiences of leading conservation practitioners and academics working in small-scale fisheries management around the world. Speakers will be asked to explicitly address an agenda that focuses on three areas of fisheries management in a small-scale, resource limited context: fishing gear, institutions, and spatial measures (beyond MPAs). We will discuss the problems faced and best practices for developing and implementing tenable and innovative management approaches.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Complementing MPAs in the Management of Small-Scale Fisheries: Other Tools and Approaches
Making Citizen Science Matter
Ryan Meyer of California Ocean Science Trust, Amy Freitag of California Ocean Science Trust, Tina Phillips of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Heidi Ballard of University of California-Davis, John A. Cigliano of Cedar Crest College, Jake Levenson of Conserve.IO, Tyler Stiem of Project Seahorse, Sarah Foster of Project Seahorse, Ann Wasser of Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History-LiMPETS
The number of projects that engage the public in scientific research (i.e, citizen science) has dramatically increased in recent years. Worldwide, many marine-based citizen-science projects exist that provide opportunities for individuals to engage in marine conservation-related activities, such as monitoring reef systems, categorizing whale calls, and tracking marine debris. Citizen science projects have generally impacted marine conservation by focusing on education and research outcomes. But citizen science, which has been called people-powered conservation, can be an effective method to impact marine conservation more broadly by, for example, influencing management and policy, improving stewardship, or strengthening a sense of community. This focus group will bring together practitioners and researchers experienced in citizen science to generate guiding principles on how to make citizen science matter for marine conservation and management. The focus group will start with an overview of citizen science and a summary of the associated symposium, followed by a case study demonstrating how a marine citizen science project was developed (iSeahorse). We will build on the discussion from the symposium to develop a typology of marine conservation outcomes that can be effectively addressed using citizen science and scientists. Using results from the focus group, we will develop toolkits for each of the typologies to address marine conservation issues through citizen science.
*This focus group follows-up to the symposium Making Citizen Science Matter
Moving Beyond Paper Agreements: Catalyzing Conservation Action by National Governments
Sarah Foster of Project Seahorse, Amanda Vincent of Project Seahorse, John A. Cigliano of Cedar Crest College
For international treaties, international plans of action, species at risk legislation, cross-boundary agreements etc. to be more than just paper agreements, they have to result in conservation and management action by national governments. For example, effective implementation of marine species listings on the international trade convention CITES requires effective national adaptive management plans. In another example, species assessed as threatened under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) still require government agreement to legally protect them before there is any mandate for management or conservation action. This focus group will explore how marine scientists can catalyze action by national governments so that we can move beyond paper and towards real outcomes and impacts. The goal is to highlight win-win approaches to implementation, which consider the need for resource management and conservation while accounting for the political, social or economic factors that concern national governments. Six panelists will be invited to start the discussion with 10-minute presentations on their experience working with national governments highlighting success stories and lessons learned. These will be followed by a moderated discussion largely lead by questions and comments from the audience.
Investigating Marine Social-Ecological Systems: A Trans-Disciplinary Framework for a Sustainable Future
Pierre Leenhardt of the University Pierre and Marie Curie, Joachim Claudet of the National Center for Scientific Research
Social-ecological systems (SESs) are conceptual systems that enable to depict, characterize and understand human-nature interactions from an integrative basis. Understanding how such complex adaptive systems are structured, evolve through time and respond to different pressures (e.g. respond to stressors, policy decisions or management actions) is crucial to the sustainable management of SESs. The understanding of SESs will remain limited if only framed within a single discipline. Collaborating with other disciplines is essential to better investigate SESs and to propose a unified trans-disciplinary framework that acknowledges their full complexities. Orientations for the future investigations and management of social-ecological systems require reliable forecasts, scenarios that involve multiple modeling techniques. Development of such models will facilitate the critical process of making explicit the differing mental constructs of various users, stakeholders and managers and will illuminate the consequences of different environmental policies on SESs. This focus group will contribute to a better understanding of complexity and dynamics that characterizes SESs. The objectives of the focus group are: (1) to share experiences across disciplines, (2) to propose a unified trans-disciplinary framework for investigating SES and (3) to identify frontier research prospects in social-ecological system investigations.