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Pre-congress focus groups will take place on Thursday, July 28 and/or Friday, July 29, 2016, offsite at the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland. All pre-congress focus groups require a fee in addition to IMCC4 registration. The discounted fee for delegates from developing countries includes small island developing states. Pre-congress focus groups do not include lunch; lunch can be purchased at the Marine Institute in the cafeteria. Shuttles will run between the Memorial University dorms, the Delta Hotel, and the Marine Institute at designated times. (A link to the shuttle schedule will be posted on this page when it becomes available.) 

Post-congress focus groups will take place at the conference venue, the Delta Conference Centre, on Thursday, August 4, 2016.

Several focus groups will also take place during IMCC. These focus groups will be held at the Delta Conference Centre every day from July 31-August 2, 2016. Focus groups are open to all delegates, unless designated “by invitation only." Focus groups that require pre-registration are marked "pre-registration is required." All others are are carried out on a drop-in basis.

Focus group descirptions can be found below.

Pre-Meeting Focus Groups
Post-Meeting Focus Groups
Focus Groups During the Congress
IMCC4 Diversity Focus Group Series

Pre-Meeting Focus Groups

Conserving the other 50% of the world: status and opportunities in conservation of areas beyond national jurisdiction

  • Organizers: Daniel Dunn, Duke University; Telmo Morato, University of the Azores; Steve Fletcher, UNEP-WCMC
  • ID FG53: Thursday-Friday, July 28-29 (Two full days) 
  • Time: 8:30-17:30 (Lunch break: 12:30-13:30)
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $96USD for non-students from developed countries; $48USD for students; $36USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St. John's NL A1C 5R3
  • Room: Hampton Hall

For over half of Earth’s surface, the open ocean and deep seas in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), no comprehensive mechanism exist to conserve biodiversity. Driven by swelling market demand and new technologies, the human footprint in the high seas increasingly threatens marine biodiversity (Ramirez-Llodra et al. 2011; Merrie et al. 2014). This has led to repeated calls for the conservation of areas beyond national jurisdiction (Van Dover et al., 2011; Barbier et al., 2014). This past June, the UNGA adopted a resolution to establish a Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) to begin negotiations on a new legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdictions. This consensus resolution marks both the culmination of a herculean 10-year effort to bring the topic to the floor of the UNGA and, at the same time, the first step in a larger process. The negotiations that will ensue over the next two years will set the stage for the conservation of biodiversity for the other 50% of the planet and represent an enormous opportunity to inform conservation policy and effect change. In this workshop we will examine the status and opportunities for conservation of ABNJ by reviewing new scientific findings and current sectoral efforts to conserve biodiversity. We will synthesize this information and consider how it can inform a new instrument and how the new instrument may affect existing competent authorities.

Understanding Alaskan Inuit food security and conservation through use

  • Organizers: Carolina Behe, Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska; Denali Whiting, ICC-AK Food Security Advisory Committee; Harry Brower, ICC-AK Food Security Project Contributing Author North Slope Borough Wildlife Department; Qaiyaan Harcharek, ICC-AK Food Security Advisory Committee and North Slope Borough Wildlife Department; Vera Metcalf, ICC-AK Food Security Project Contributing Author and Eskimo Walrus Commission; Vivian Korthuis, ICC-AK Food Security Project Contributing Author and Association of Village Council Presidents; Julie Raymond-Yakoubian, Kawerak Inc.; Raychelle Daniel, Pew Environmental Group
  • ID: FG34: Friday, July 29 (Half-day focus group in the morning) 
  • Time: 8:30-12:30
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $36USD for non-students from developed countries; $24USD for students; $12USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St. John's NL A1C 5R3
  • Room: Main floor boardroom

Inuit homelands in Alaska for the Iñupaiq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik, Central Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples encompass the Arctic Ocean coastline from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas southward to the Northern Bering Sea coastline at the Yukon and Kuskokwim River delta. The Alaskan Inuit understanding of food security encompasses complex and interlinked cultural and environmental systems. These systems are comprised of connections among the health of people, animals, and plants; the different states of land, sea, and air; and the cultural fabric held together by language, cultural expression, and social integrity. In Inuit systems it is impossible to disentangle some of these relationships; when we discuss an Inuit food security perspective, it is this interconnectivity and these relationships that we refer to. Conservation in Alaskan Inuit homelands often comes from the perspective of conservation that benefits the environment first, and ultimately the people that live there. We propose an alternate conservation paradigm that includes Inuit not only as a part of the environment within the ecosystem; but also as part of the solution to managing these Arctic ecosystems from within. Inuit knowledge and management practices are both a part of Alaskan Inuit food security, and would help move overall management of Arctic systems to better include whole knowledge, and make science matter.

How can ocean plans ensure better stakeholder engagement in ocean and coastal decision-making?

  • Organizers: Sarah Winter Whelan, American Littoral Society; Jenna Valente, American Littoral Society; Jennifer Felt, Conservation Law Foundation
  • ID: FG55: Friday, July 29 (Half-day focus group in the afternoon) 
  • Time: 13:30-17:30
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $0 (registration fee for each individual who registered covered by focus group sponsor)
  • Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St. John's NL A1C 5R3
  • Room: Main floor boardroom

The health of the oceans, coasts, Great Lakes, and the livelihoods of those that depend on them are directly linked to the United States’ prosperity. Recognizing this, in 2010 President Obama established the National Policy for the Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coast, and the Great Lakes. The National Ocean Policy (NOP) highlights our responsibility to improve and maintain the health of these valuable resources and the importance of working with States, tribes, and partners to tackle key challenges through common sense, science-based solutions, like ocean planning. The NOP and ocean planning aim to ensure that our ocean, coasts, & Great Lakes will continue to provide a wealth of benefits that support the Nation’s well-being, safety, and prosperity. The U.S. is also home to coastal communities and stakeholder groups with rich variation in culture, social norms and perspectives. Historically, those in positions of leadership have not always considered the viewpoints or expertise of such stakeholders when implementing their regulatory responsibilities. However, ocean planning may serve as an opportunity to change this dynamic. This focus group seeks to explore the idea of whether regional ocean plans can provide a mechanism to enhance stakeholder engagement. Our goal is to take participants’ experiences of success and failure of current engagement and develop strategies for ensuring ocean plans deliver better stakeholder engagement in ocean and coastal decision-making efforts.

Sponsored by:

Towards 2020 targets and beyond: Evidence-based adaptive management of MPAs in Canada

  • Organizers: Anna Metaxas, Dalhousie University; Peter Lawton, Fisheries & Oceans Canada; Pierre Pepin, Fisheries & Oceans Canada; Paul Snelgrove, Memorial University; Emilie-Pier Maldemay, Fisheries & Oceans Canada; Rodolphe Devillers, Memorial University; Lucia Fanning, Dalhousie University; Natalie Ban, University of Victoria
  • ID: FG49: Friday, July 29 (Full-day focus group) 
  • Time: 8:30-17:30 (Lunch break: 12:30-13:30)
  • Pre-registration is required
  • By Invitation Only (see invitation note below)
  • Focus group fee: $48USD for non-students from developed countries; $36USD for students; $24USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St. John's NL A1C 5R3
  • Room: E2325

Ocean stakeholders need a strong, effectively networked marine science community to apply leading-edge scientific knowledge to develop sustainable ocean use strategies. CHONe II (NSERC Canadian Healthy Oceans Network) is a strategic partnership between 39 researchers from 11 Canadian universities and federal government departments, as well as industry and NGOs. Our goal is to help our federal agencies, primarily Fisheries and Oceans Canada, meet national and international commitments on sustainable oceans and to advance the new National Conservation Plan. We envision our focus group as a model study case for parallel efforts in other countries. One key objective of CHONe II is to understand the ecosystem characteristics that define the capacity of Canada’s oceans to recover or respond to management strategies such as networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other spatial closures. Canada will base the design of the network of MPAs on current but partially limited knowledge of our marine environment, general design principles, and the precautionary approach to ecosystem management. Success of management interventions hinges upon the assessment of their effectiveness in addressing conservation and other societally valued objectives and adapting if necessary. Our Focus group will evaluate the possibility of incorporating adaptive management approaches (e.g. altering permitted activities or conservation targets when necessary) to networks of MPAs in Canada.

If you are interested in receiving an invitation for this focus group, please email Anna Metaxas (metaxas@dal.ca) and Paul Snelgrove (psnelgro@mun.ca).

Making citizen science matter: Developing protocols to address questions of marine citizenship

  • Organizers: Rina Hauptfeld, Colorado State University; Gregory Newman, Colorado State University; Rebecca Jordan, Rutgers University
  • FG54: Friday, July 29 (Full-day focus group) 
  • Time: 8:30-17:30 (Lunch break: 12:30-13:30)
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $48USD for non-students from developed countries; $36USD for students; $24USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Marine Institute 155 Ridge Road St. John's NL A1C 5R3
  • Room: SOF Seminar Room

The expansion of marine citizen science has been accompanied by increasing rigor, in part through the development of standardized research protocols. Despite this progress, development of a parallel protocol, appropriate for cross-cultural assessment of social outcomes, has lagged. Creation of a protocol is vital to enable evidence-based meta-analysis of the impacts of citizen science on marine citizenship. Strategic coordination between practitioners and researchers is needed to address this crucial gap and develop a synergistic set of metrics appropriate for assessing the participant impacts. This 8-hour focus group will develop a key set of elements appropriate for comparison of project impacts on marine citizenship across systems, continents, and cultural contexts. In particular, this focus group will develop a protocol that: (1) addresses participant learning, behavior, and intentions, (2) is applicable cross-culturally, and (3) facilitates evidence-based meta-analysis, addressing pressing questions in marine (& terrestrial) conservation. By (a) expanding the scope of citizen science to include questions of marine citizenship, and (b) producing a standardized protocol framework, (c) enabling questions such as “What are the best methods, concepts, and skills that should be developed with citizens to improve understanding and action towards marine conservation?” to be answered, making Marine Science Matter. Participants are invited to contribute to a journal publication.

Integrating behavioural information into the process for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs)

​This focus group has been cancelled. Delegates who purchased a ticket will be refunded. If you have not received an email concerning a refund for your ticket to this event, please email Mary Lou Scarbrough.

Post-Meeting Focus Groups

Marine spatial planning in practice: Sharing experience and developing guidance

  • Organizers: Ole Vestegaard, UNEP; Steve FLetcher, UNEP-WCMC; Ilona Porsche, GIZ
  • ID: FG62: Thursday, August 4 (Full-day focus group) 
  • Time: 8:30-17:30 (Lunch break at discretion of organizers)
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $48USD for non-students from developed countries; $36USD for students; $24USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Salon F of the Delta Conference Centre

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is widely recognized as an approach to facilitate the conservation and sustainable use of resources and ecosystem services through the careful planning of coastal and ocean space. Increasingly, MSP is the framework in which MPAs are designated and managed therefore understanding effective MSP practice is an important contribution to effective marine conservation. A key defining factor of MSP is its attempt to reconcile multiple sectoral development objectives and activities using a spatial approach. MSP initiatives vary in their composition, yet many face similar challenges, particularly during the MSP implementation phase. This workshop will adopt an evidence-driven approach, using practical lessons from existing MSP experiences, to identify enabling factors that underpin successful MSP implementation in a range of ecological, social and economic contexts. Key questions to be explored during the workshop include: 1) What are the challenges and constraints that managers and policy-makers experience in MSP implementation? 2) What elements of the MSP planning phase are most important in ensuring effective implementation? and 3) What are the capacity development priorities to support effective MSP. Anyone with an interest in MSP is invited to attend this workshop to share their experiences and views.

Developing robust criteria for the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)

  • Organizers: Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Institute; Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University Newfoundland; Rodolphe Devillers, Memorial University Newfoundland; Leslie Cornick, Alaska Pacific University; Lida Teneva, Conservation International; Daniel Dunn, Duke University; Sara Maxwell, Old Dominion University; Callum Roberts, York University
  • ID: FG64: Thursday, August 4 (Full-day focus group) 
  • Time: 8:30-17:30 (Lunch break at discretion of organizers)
  • Pre-registration is required
  • Focus group fee: $48USD for non-students from developed countries; $36USD for students; $24USD for delegates from developing countries/SIDS
  • Location: Salon G of the Delta Conference Centre

The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a science based initiative designed to catalyze strong protection for 30% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030. It is a strategic way to safeguard marine ecosystems and will enable humans to recover marine life. Protecting places where viable marine populations can survive is the most cost-effective tool for conserving marine life. Effective, strongly protected areas will maintain and recover living things whose interactions drive humankind’s largest life life-support system, and provide a strategic protein reserve for the future. Marine Conservation Institute is working with a growing circle of partners to create the Global Ocean Refuge System, a new strategy to incentivize humans to provide safe havens for marine life as climate changes and oceans acidify. At IMCC 3 in Glasgow, we hosted a workshop and presented a conceptual framework for scoring Global Ocean Refuges based on the scientific literature. In the last 2 years, we have refined these criteria and would like to present a more detailed scoring framework for Global Ocean Refuges to the IMCC 4 participants in St. Johns, Newfoundland and seek their feedback. This workshop will provide marine conservation biologists the opportunity to help shape a conservation strategy based on their science and research – allowing them the opportunity to make their science, matter.

Focus Groups During the Congress

Increasing the utility of predictive models: Understanding model transferability

  • Organizers: Katherine Yates, Salford University; Ana Martins Sequeira, University of Western Australia; Julian Caley, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Phil Bouchet, University of Western Australia; Kerrie Mengersen, Queensland University of Technology; Ben Fitzpatrick, Queensland University of Technology
  • ID: FG43
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon G of the Delta Conference Centre

Large areas of the oceans are poorly sampled and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. However, planning conservation and management actions requires an understanding of the spatial distribution of features of interest. Thus, it is often desirable to make predictions for areas in which data is lacking. In these cases transferable models would be of substantial value; that is if a model developed for a particular location could be used to make useful predictions at other locations. Little research has focused on model transferability in the marine environment and the features that may enhance or detract from model transferability are still not well understood. Following on from the symposium of the same title, this focus group will explore model transferability. Organised around a series of key questions, this session will be divided into a mix of small group discussions and open debates. Participants will be offered the opportunity to contribute to a written output from the focus group. Light refreshments will be provided.

*This focus group follows a symposium: SY42: Increasing the utility of predictive models: understanding model transferability

New hope for the ocean: The contribution of religious-based action to marine conservation

  • Organizers: David Johns, Portland State University; Julie-Beth McCarthy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada;  Jame Schaefer, MarquetteUniversity; Marybeth Lorbiecki, Interfaith Oceans
  • ID: FG25
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon D of the Delta Conference Centre

Science alone cannot protect and restore the oceans. It can only identify what steps must be taken. Others, working with scientists, must create stronger support for those steps, as Buddhists did to help ban Thai ivory trafficking. This example of cooperation among faith groups, science and secular NGOs shows potential. All religions include ethical systems that are increasingly concerned with biodiversity loss. Many have issued specific statements or initiated campaigns for the environment. Billions are adherents of these faiths. Most faith and conservation partnerships have focused on land issues, notwithstanding recognition of negative human impact on the oceans. Greater cooperation with faith groups has enormous potential for redressing the damage done to the oceans and preventing future damage. This focus group will examine from a variety of perspectives how religiously motivated institutions and communities can benefit marine conservation. Cases where religious institutions and communities have led or played a role in marine conservation will be analyzed; partnerships between religiously motivated and secular groups will be examined for factors which help or hinder success; and questions for research and interim guidelines for creating effective partnerships and joint advocacy will be identified.

Building a fishery citizen science program in the U.S. South Atlantic to improve management and policy

  • Organizers: L. Dunmire, L, The Pew Charitable Trusts; M. Duval, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality-Division of Marine Fisheries; R. Bonney, Cornell Lab of Ornithology; B. Hartig, Commercial Fisherman, Florida; A. Vonharten, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
  • ID: FG46
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon C of the Delta Conference Centre

The U.S. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has grappled for years with the challenge of providing timely and robust science to support decision making despite limited resources, over 70 species to manage, and a complex and diverse ecosystem. These data shortcomings and the resulting scientific uncertainties complicate management and often lead to offers from fishermen to provide their vessels as research platforms, collect samples, and record their own observations to help “fill the gaps.” Recognizing constituents’ desire to get involved, the necessity of good program design, and the benefits of decreasing uncertainty, the Council is now developing a comprehensive fishery citizen science program. It hosted a January 2016 workshop in collaboration with citizen science practitioners from the Citizen Science Association with 75 invited members of the science, fishing, and management communities. This focus group will share lessons learned from the process and seek input from marine science, conservation, and management professionals to inform a white paper written by the organizers on how to build a fishery citizen science program that enhances existing data collection, research, and monitoring efforts. The material presented during this session will provide examples of how researchers, resource managers, and users can partner to create actionable science. The resulting white paper will be presented to the Council and made publicly available.

*This focus group follows a symposium: SY48: Creating actionable science: connecting science and practice through researcher and resource manager partnerships

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 of the Delta Conference Centre

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?

Maximizing the marine conservation value of Ramsar, the Wetlands Convention

  • Organizers: A.C.J. Vincent, Project Seahorse and UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries; R.X. Bestbier, Project Seahorse and UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
  • ID: FG27
  • Time: August 1 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon B of the Delta Conference Centre

In this focus group we will explore how far Ramsar, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, can be stretched to help protect marine biodiversity. We will investigate the existing relationships between Ramsar and the ocean. We will probe Ramsar's application and applicability as far into the ocean as it allows. We aim to identify new opportunities to improve, expand and add Ramsar sites to include more ocean spaces and species. Ramsar provides the framework for conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources - through local and national actions and international cooperation. To date Ramsar’s 169 member countries have named a total of 2218 Wetlands of International Importance (> 2,141,311km2). Wetlands include coastal areas such as marshes, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, reservoirs, and salt pans. We have come to assume that the wetland definition is limited to freshwater and coastal wetlands but it can clearly be applied to the ocean in a far broader sense. Such sites can include marine waters up to six metres depth and the coastal zones next to wetland sites, but the full potential of this remains untapped. Also, Ramsar has proven willing to revise its guidelines, perhaps since it is not a UN convention. There has, however, been no clear analysis of Ramsar’s role in the ocean - which we hope to address at this focus group.

Addressing the gap between science and coral reef management

  • Organizers: Katherine Cummings, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; John A. Cigliano, Cedar Crest College; Dominique Pelletier, French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea; Clare Fieseler, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • ID: FG61
  • Time: August 1 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon D of the Delta Conference Centre

As threats to coral reefs increase in severity, new and more complex science helps expand our understanding. Climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, and other human stressors have motivated a growing field of conservation-oriented scientific studies. Yet, it is well recognized that the impact of new coral reef science on conservation planning and management decisions is not sufficient. Building on a complementary symposium immediately prior, this focus group invites scientists, managers, and participants to coral reef management to discuss two collaborative outputs that begin to address this gap. First, the organizers will collect additional information from attendees for a new publication proposed during the prior symposium. The purpose is to 1) determine case studies which illustrate globally significant impediments to science impact on management but have not yet been collated, and 2) collect additional feedback on the interpretation of a new expert survey about impediments. Second, the organizers will facilitate a structured discussion about solutions for better connecting science and coral reef management. Participants are invited to propose strategies (i.e. scholarly, media, engagement) for the SCB’s newly formed Coral Reef Working Group for future collecting, analyzing or sharing of data about improving science-management pathways.

*This focus group follows a symposium: SY81: Improving coral reef science impact: Current impediments and possible solutions

Evaluating and monitoring the marine bushmeat crisis: Integrating social science

  • Organizers: T. Collins, Wildlife Conservation Society; A.M. Cosentino, Animal Welfare Institute; L.J. Porter, SCB Asia Section; E.C.M. Parsons, George Mason University
  • ID: FG103
  • Time: August 1 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon E of the Delta Conference Centre

Many international conservation treaty bodies, such as the Convention on Migratory Species and the International Whaling Commission, have ‘marine bushmeat’ as a priority. ‘Marine bushmeat' can be defined as the products derived from wild marine mammals and other marine megafauna (e.g., sea turtles) that are used for human consumption, for fishing bait and/or other uses (e.g., pharmaceutical, traditional uses). The meat and other body parts being obtained through illegal or unregulated hunts, and from animals found stranded (dead or alive) or accidentally caught in fishing gears. The global scale of the issue remains currently unknown. The focus group follows on from a workshop held alongside the Conservation Asia 2016 meeting (co-organised by the SCB Asia Section) and aims to: (1) Review arising issues and concerns with respect to marine bushmeat, with a special focus on marine mammals, and introduce the “toolkit” developed at the Conservation Asia workshop. This toolkit is a suite of methods to better map the distribution and assess levels of marine bushmeat globally. (2) Discuss ways in which social science can be better utilised to gain information on the scale of marine bushmeat, both in terms of takes and trade. (3) Discuss case studies where solutions have been found to reduce or eliminate the use of marine bushmeat. (4) Discuss strategies to better bring the concerns about this issue to international conservation and treaty organizations.

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
  • Time: August 1 3-5pm
  • Room: Placentia Bay of the Delta Conference Centre

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.

Canada's policies on marine species at risk, past and future

  • Organizers: A.C.J. Vincent, The University of British Columbia; J.D. Reynolds, Simon Fraser University; J.K. Baum, University of Victoria; B. Favaro, Memorial University; I.M. Cote, Simon Fraser University; S. Fuller, Ecology Action Centre
  • ID: FG85
  • Time: August 2 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon E of the Delta Conference Centre

This focus group will generate vital collective action for marine species at risk in Canada. We will explore Canada’s history with, and help define Canada’s future for, marine species at risk. Our focus group wonderfully supports the conference theme of Making Science Matter, drawing on science to change policy. Canada has a history of overlooking, opposing, and sometimes protecting marine species, as three examples illustrate. First, Canada takes out blanket Reservations to defer its responsibilities for marine and all other species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Second, most marine fish species that are evaluated by the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as at-risk are rejected for protection under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA). Third, many species slip through the net of legal protection. This has led to worrying trends in the status of Canada’s marine species. The focus group will allow participants to explore the challenges for marine species at risk and develop ideas to help create the political and policy changes needed to provide better support for Canada’s marine life. We will then take these ideas forward to effect change in Canada’s use of policy instruments for marine species conservation.

Fishing the small: Making sure there is enough food for all

  • Organizers: Sigrid Kuehnemund, WWF-Canada Oceans; Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, WWF-Canada Oceans; Mariano Koen-Alonso, DFO - Newfoundland and Labrador; Pierre Pepin, DFO - Newfoundland and Labrador; Jason Simms, DFO - Newfoundland and Labrador; Rodolphe Devillers, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Bill Montevecchi, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Sam Andrews, University of Victoria
  • ID: FG29
  • Time: August 2 8:30-10:30am and 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon F of the Delta Conference Centre

It is well recognized that forage species – those small, abundant, and highly productive species – play a key role in marine ecosystems, providing the main pathway for energy to flow from plankton to predators, including fish, birds, and mammals. With a few exceptions worldwide, current management of forage fish fisheries have focused on maintaining targeted population without explicitly addressing their ecological role. Natural mortality rates of these species may fluctuate quickly with changes in predator’s biomass and environmental conditions and often can surpass largely the amounts harvested by fisheries. A main task to the advancement of an ecosystem based fisheries management of these species is to explicitly account for the foraging needs of top predators. However, to which degree and how remains a topic of discussions and is one of the 71 critical questions identified by the SCB Marine Section. WWF-Canada proposed a focus group on the subject with an emphasis on Canadian ecosystems. From the Pacific Eulachon importance as a food source to first-nations, to herring supporting commercial and recreational fisheries in the Maritimes, to capelin rolls rallying crowds in Newfoundland – these small fish are important to many: ecologically, socially and economically. With this focus group, we seek to bring together national and international experts, policymakers, and practitioners to identify crosscutting priorities to advance ecosystem-based fisheries management of forage species in Canada.

Connecting science with the conservation of large marine protected areas: Gaps and opportunities

  • Organizers: Tom B. Letessier, Zoological Society of London; Heather Koldewey, Zoological Society of London; Enric Sala, National Geographic; Jessica Meeuwig, University of Western Australia; Barbara Block, Stanford University; Angelo Villagomez, Pew; Charles Clover, Blue Marine Foundation; Nai`a Lewis, Big Ocean Network
  • ID: FG44
  • Time: August 2 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon A of the Delta Conference Centre

There has been global attention on a number of new large marine MPAs in recent years. This focus group will aim to identify gaps in scientific knowledge relating to the current implementation of large MPAs, discuss how these are being tackled by existing research programs and how effectively science is informing their management and conservation. The conversation will focus around the following topics: (1) What impedes the effective enforcement of large-scale marine protected areas, and what technological advances could change this? (2) How effectively do large MPAs protect mobile species of fisheries importance, e.g. tunas and sharks? (3) What standardised scientific monitoring methods can be applied across all large MPAs to inform their conservation and management? (4) Large MPAs are primary implemented along territorial boundaries, that may not respond to a strong scientific rationale, especially for mobile species. What scientific and political barriers need to be addressed in order to change this? (5) What socio-ecological research is necessary to reduce the incentives for illegal, unregulated and unreported activities?

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 of the Delta Conference Centre

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.

Yes, but is it conservation? How do you measure if marine conservation has been a success?

  • Organizers: E.C.M. Parsons, George Mason University; R. MacPherson, Pelagia Consulting; A. Villagomez, Pew Charitable Trusts; D. Verissimo, RARE
  • ID: FG93
  • Time: August 3 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon D of the Delta Conference Centre

What exactly does “doing conservation” science mean? By definition, conservation involves the preservation or restoration of natural ecosystems. In other words, if the conservation intervention is successful then the ecosystem should reflect a better state. Marine conservation is populated with individuals engaged in science, education, social marketing, economics, resource management, and policy. How are we measuring our impact? How do we know that the ecosystems we direct conservation upon are “better” or at the very least “less worse”? Especially when the marine conservation community has such a diverse array of disciplines, from conservation social scientists to marine toxicologists, ecologists, oceanographers and science communications. Counting the number of individuals of a captive bred species might be considered “conservation”, but if they cannot be released back into their wild habitat, is it really? Is simply publishing a paper on an endangered species/habitat ever really “conservation”? How does one measure a project’s impact when it is just a small cog in a larger conservation machine? How does one measure the conservation impact of an outreach campaign – you may have a million retweets but does this translate to conservation? Conservation: does this word really mean what you think it means? This workshop seeks to discuss these questions and develop a way to measure less tangible ways of measuring conservation effectiveness.

White-beaked dolphin conservation status in the NW Atlantic: Understanding knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research

  • Organizers: Chiara Giulia Bertulli, University of Iceland; Michael J. Tetley, IUCN Joint SSC-WCPA Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force
  • ID: FG102
  • Time: August 3 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon G of the Delta Conference Centre
  • By Invitation Only

The white-beaked dolphin is an endemic species of cold temperate and sub-arctic North Atlantic waters. The species is considered to have a conservation status favorable across most of its range. However, recent assessments of the NE Atlantic range describe potential impacts from climate change, habitat and prey depletion, noise and chemical pollution and bycatch in fisheries, which may negatively affect the long-term survival of white-beaked dolphins. Genetic surveys (mainly sampling NE Atlantic animals) found a very low nucleotide diversity making this species highly vulnerable. Information compiled for the Convention on Migratory Species also indicated a knowledge gap on white-beaked dolphins in the NW Atlantic, making assessments of Conservation Status across the species range difficult. The purpose of the proposed Focus Group of experts attending the IMCC is to 1) determine what information may already be available but not yet collated for this species in its NW Atlantic range 2) provide recommendations on the drafting of a research strategy to enhance international collaboration on white-beaked dolphin research for the NW Atlantic region and 3) feedback knowledge on the potential status in its NW Atlantic range to the CMS and IUCN Red List for future North Atlantic scale assessments of the species conservation status.

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 of the Delta Conference Centre

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?