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IMCC for All

At the International Marine Conservation Congress, we want to promote a safe, comfortable space for presentations, collaboration, innovation, and creativity. We welcome suggestions and questions. Please email IMCC4 Chair Samantha Oester and IMCC4 Diversity Chair Luli Martinez with comments or concerns.

On This Page:

Code of Conduct

It was important to IMCC4 organizers to research and develop a Code of Conduct for the conference, and all IMCCs moving forward. The Society for Conservation Biology and the SCB Marine Section work to promote a welcoming environment at conferences that is safe, collaborative, supportive, and productive for all attendees, including delegates, volunteers, exhibitors, invited speakers/stakeholders, members of the media, and service providers. The SCB Marine Section and IMCC value the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences reflected among all attendees. A Code of Conduct is important to promoting diversity and creating a safe, productive environment. The IMCC4 organizers consulted with available materials and research on codes of conduct, other societies and conferences, the Society for Human Resource Management, and human resource psychologists and other experts. IMCC4, and future IMCCs, will also have a designated Safety Officer onsite to help with issues, answer questions, provide counseling, mediate, and advise on necessary actions. The Safety Officer is a human resources professional with experience in human resource management and psychology.


IMCC4 delegates should feel free to use the toilet (restrooms) of the gender they identify with at the Delta Conference Centre, as well as event venues. One toilet facility at the Delta Conference Centre will also be designated as a mixed-gender (or gender-neutral) restroom. This restroom can be used by all delegates, including (but not limited to) families and anyone who needs assistance in the restroom from a person of another gender. To accommodate a mixed-gender restroom, we will be changing some of the signs on the toilets. (This accommodation may also result in a "men's" room converting to a "women's" room, or vice versa.) Please use the IMCC4 sign designations, when present. If you have questions or need alternate accommodations, please let us know


One of the reasons the Delta was chosen for IMCC4 was the convenience for delegates who would benefit from staying onsite. Hotel rooms at the Delta are upstairs from the conference centre, making it easier for delegates traveling with familes and kids, delegates who may need to frequently visit their rooms (for medical or other reasons), or anyone who needs privacy at points throughout the day. We ask that everyone be respectful of others and understand people may have different needs.


We want parents to be able to make the most of IMCC4, while understanding traveling with kids can be a challenge. Please see the IMCC4 Bringing the Family page for information on caregiver badges, the lactation and changing room, children's tickets to certain events, and more. We are also opening the poster reception to kids under the age of 17 (chaperoned by an IMCC4 delegate) with a free kids' ticket that can be picked up at the registration desk as a means for ocean outreach. Additionally, we've strived to end sessions at a reasonable time each day for family time, time to decompress, and to promote an essential part of conferences—networking in a setting outside of session rooms.


We are working with InclusionNL to help make IMCC4 as accessible as possible. Anyone who needs accessibility assistance—whether it's getting materials and forms in a different format, onsite accessibility, or a volunteer to help navigate participation--can contact us to make requests. We want to help. IMCC4 and InclusionNL will work together to help make your participation at IMCC4 successful. Please email us with requests. The Accessibility page was formatted to be effective for people who may be using computer software for those who are visually impaired. If you need information in another format, please do not hesitate to contact us.


For the first time, it was possible to submit IMCC abstracts and proposals in languages other than English. Delegates could also request offline submission forms in langauges other than English. We are working with delegates who wish to present in various languages, allowing them to feel as confident and comfortable as possible during their presentations. We will provide means so people who speak English can enjoy presentations in other languages. We are also working with a team of volunteers to give assistance upon request to delegates whose first langauge is not English but would like to give their presentations in English. If you need language assistance or need to present in a language other than English, please email IMCC4 Diversty Chair Luli Martinez.


At IMCC, we understand conservation is inherently interdisciplinary and conservation cannot be achieved by natural scientists alone. We welcome abstracts, proposals, and participation by any stakeholder, sector, or discipline related to aquatic science and marine conservation. The overall theme of IMCCs is Making Marine Science Matter, but several themes for each particular congress are chosen to highlight various issues, local work, and the multiple disciplines needed for conservation success. We also always welcome proposals, abstracts, and other content that may not fit into one of the chosen themes. For IMCC4, we've increased our efforts to reach out to working groups, societies, NGOs, universities, etc. that specialize in fields other than natural science, including policy, communication, social science, management, diversity, culture, and more.

Global Outreach

The SCB Marine Section is a global section of the Society for Conservation Biology, and IMCC delegates come from around the world. We've made a special effort to increase our global reach with IMCC4, contacting 1,500+ universities, agencies, NGOs, and community groups in countries that have not been represented at past IMCCs, to invite them to participate in the Congress. We began developing a database of contact information for organizations on every inhabited continent, and communcations and materials were provided in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Arabic. Want to add your group or organization to our database? Please contact IMCC4 Chair Samantha Oester.

While the location of IMCC changes with every conference, we fully recognize they have always stayed within the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., and this needs to be improved to continue saying we aim for global reach. The location of IMCC4—St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada—was chosen based on the need to bridge the gap between conservation and industry, as well as a fantastic local organizing team. Starting with IMCC5, IMCCs will regularly move around the world with hopes to increase international access and participation. 

Diversity Travel Grants

The travel grants available through IMCC4 were designated for the Diversity Travel Grant Awards Competition. The Diversity Travel Grant applications were open to delegates with approved abstracts from countries designated as developing countries by the World Bank, countries designated as small island developing states, and North American indiengenous communities. Winners received either full travel assistance, partial travel assistance, or free IMCC4 registration. Winners included delegates from Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, the Philippines, Colombia, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, Fiji, Palau, Slovenia, Nigeria, Uganda, Mexico, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the North American indigenous communities of Iñpuiat and Yup'ik. The competition was open to students and non-students. The IMCC4 program will benefit immensely from the particiaption of these presenters, some of which are representing countries and communities that have not been well-represented at past IMCCs. IMCC and the SCB Marine Section are global, and marine conservation issues affect all reaches.

IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series

A focus group will take place every afternoon of the IMCC4 scientific program to discuss issues of diversity in marine science, academic societies, marine conservation, and science conferences. The following are the focus groups that are part of the IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series. The focus groups are open to the participation of any IMCC4 delegates. While we could not cover every aspect of diversity at IMCC4, we hope to continue the series at future IMCCs, bringing in more expertise and discussing more issues. Suggestion for focus groups in the IMCC5 Diversity Focus Group Series can be sent to IMCC4 Deputy Chair Edward Hind and IMCC4 Diversity Chair Luli Martinez.

IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series: Diversity in conservation and the creation of a marine diversity network

  • Organizers: Luli Martinez, University of California-Santa Cruz; John Cigliano, Cedar Crest College; Nicola Smith, Simon Fraser University; Mel Cosentino, Wild Earth Foundation
  • Time: July 31 3-5pm
  • Room: Salon D

In recent years, it has been recognized that diversity increases the effectiveness of research and innovation in the science realm. Diversity can be broadly defined as inclusion, no matter the country of origin, cultural roots, religion, gender, or special abilities. The more diverse the group of people, the better the science. The Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology and the International Marine Conservation Congress are keen to embrace diversity and favor the inclusion of people from all over the world to share ideas and to collaborate, with the ultimate aim to increase the impact of our science in the conservation of the oceans and their biodiversity. A fundamental aspect to maintain a diverse group of people focused in marine conservation is the creation of a network that facilitates the communication and collaboration among those involved. This focus group seeks a deep insight to this respect to find ways to develop the network and most importantly to keep it active and nourished with the contributions of the members. We aim to answer: What is the best strategy to build a Marine Diversity Network? Which tools can be used to keep it active?

IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series: Promoting the participation of women at science conferences

  • Organizers: Stephanie Sardelis, Columbia University; Joshua Drew, Columbia University; Samantha Oester, George Mason University; Luli Martinez, University of California-Santa Cruz; John Cigliano, Cedar Crest College
  • Time: August 1 3-5pm
  • Room: Placentia Bay

Representation of women in science has increased over the past two decades. Approximately 60% of Master’s recipients and up to 48% of PhD recipients are women (West and Curtis, 2006; Redden, 2007; Ceci et al., 2014). Yet, women occupy less than 40% of jobs in biology, chemistry and physics, and only 25% of STEM jobs overall (Beede et al., 2011). The “leaky-pipeline” effect occurs when a gender filter removes women from the academic stream and exclusively allows men to progress (Blickenstaff, 2005; Stout et al., 2011). This imbalance is a consequence of academia culture, which regrettably harbours gender biases against women (Rosser, 2004; Sugimoto et al., 2013; West et al., 2013). Gender biases range from social exclusion due to stereotypes to unequal distribution of promotions, awards, and tenure (Yentsch and Sindermann, 2013). The glass ceiling effect is where progress is limited by inequality in salary and opportunities, contributing to unequal ratios of recognized women to men (Addessi et al., 2012). A scientist’s level of recognition is related to their citations, awards, and the perceived value of their research (Jones et al., 2014). One solution is to increase the visibility of women, so they have a greater influence on junior female scientists and to help eliminate the misconception that women are less competent scientists than men. Symposia allow speakers to present in a prestigious venue and thus reduce negative gender schema. In this focus group, we plan to discuss a recent study on the participation of women in organizing science conferences and in conference symposia. We will also discuss reducing barriers to conference participation for women by facilitating travel, making conferences child-friendly, and promoting women to organize sessions. Additionally, we will discuss other factors that may influence the visibility of women at science conferences and how increasing visibility can impact women in science outside of conferences.

IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series: Conference accessibility, harassment, and codes of conduct

  • Organizers: Brett Favaro, Memorial University; Samantha Oester, George Mason University; Tracey Woodbury, Society for Human Resource Management; Edward Hind, Manchester Metropolitan University; John Cigliano, Cedar Crest College; Leslie Cornick, Alaska Pacific University; Luli Martinez, University of California-Santa Cruz
  • Time: August 2 3-5pm
  • Room: Placentia Bay

Harassment, bullying, and intimidation are pervasive problems in science. Recent high-profile articles in scientific journals and popular media have drawn attention to cases of abuse, and scholarly research has shown that these cases are far too common. Conferences are critical to the communication, conduct, and implementation of conservation science, and so making these spaces safe and accessible is absolutely necessary. As organizers of IMCC4, we built a code of conduct to guide delegate behaviour. We designed this code – and the consequences for violating it - with input from experts in inclusivity and human resources to make the conference accessible and safe. In this FG, we will discuss the need for conference codes of conduct, and will argue that all science conferences should adopt similar policies. In addition, we will discuss some of the misconceptions that people have about how to craft and implement codes of conduct. We will also discuss the importance of conference codes of conduct in welcoming diverse delegates.

IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series: Cultural and religious diversity in marine science

  • Organizers: Luli Martinez, University of California-Santa Cruz
  • Time: August 3 3-5pm
  • Room: Placentia Bay

Human behavior and perceptions are shaped according to the cultural values and religious beliefs, to a great extent. Both have played a major role in the use of species and resources and in the dominance of humans in the natural world. In fact, 80% of the population worldwide is influenced by religion on a daily basis, being population growth a clear consequence. Although negative effects on nature have been documented, religion and culture may also have a strong influence in conservation. The designation of sacred sites as protected areas or the maintenance of animal populations because of their cultural services are just some of the examples. This focus group seeks an open discussion about how the religious and cultural values have influenced the use and conservation of the oceans and their resources. In a positive way, we want to answer: Under which circumstances the influence of religions and traditions have had a positive impact on the management, use and conservation of the marine species? What lessons can we learn and how can we take advantage of those cultural values to change human perceptions about our ole and duties with the ocean?

Note from Organizers

It was important to IMCC4 organizers—including IMCC4 Chair and SCB Marine Section President-Elect Samantha Oester, IMCC4 Local Chair Brett Favaro, IMCC4 Deputy Chair Edward Hind, and SCB Marine Section President John Cigliano—to strive for an "IMCC for All" approach to organizing the conference. We have worked very hard and made large strides in making IMCC more accessible and open, while maintaining scientific integrity in our programming and keeping fees as low as possible for delegates. We understand improvements still need to be made and some approaches may need to be re-worked. We welcome input, assistance, and suggestions.