Header image for OceansOnline


OceansOnline is a full day of facilitated discussions, workshops, and online tools presentations with emphasis on using the internet as a valuable tool to communicate, cross boundaries, and conduct research. OceansOnline  will take place on Thursday, August 4, 2016, at the Delta Conference Centre, immediately following the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. OceansOnline requires registration in addition to the IMCC4 conference registration. Participants do not have to register for the full IMCC4 conference to register for OceansOnline.

Descriptions for OceansOnline sessions can be found below. For information on OceansOnline plenary speakers Andrew David Thaler and Easkey Britton, please visit the Plenary Talks page. The OceansOnline plenary session will take place from 8:30-10:30am in Salon A.

On This Page:

Facilitated Discussions

Marine Planning Concierge: A tool to incorporate nature's value into planning
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Gregg Verutes, Stanford University ; Spencer Wood, University of Washington ; Robert Griffin, Stanford University ; Allison Besch, Duke University

  • ID: OOFD104
  • Time: 11am-Noon
  • Room: Salon B

The demand is growing for information about benefits that nature provides to people "ecosystem services” in planning and decision-making. Several proposed frameworks guide current science-based ocean planning (Kittinger et al. 2014, Ehler & Douvere 2009, Day 2008), many of which suggest incorporating ecosystem services and risk to habitats as elements of planning (Arkema et al. 2015, Koehn et al. 2013). Technical tools within such frameworks can help add scientific rigor and transparency to spatial planning processes, but there is confusion over what they do and how they can be linked. Stanford University and collaborators have designed an interactive tool to make it easier to learn about, get inspired by, and implement marine planning. Just like the concierge in the lobby of a hotel, we've organized lots of information with the aim of helping practitioners get what they need. The Marine Planning Concierge (msp.naturalcapitalproject.org) shares existing science-based approaches, technical information, and tools in a generalized spatial planning framework. This session will highlight current advances in research and science-policy engagements that are beginning to bridge the gaps between marine science knowledge and action. We intend to bring together a diverse group of participants to discuss results of innovative interdisciplinary collaborations among scientists, government agencies, planners and managers and that are integrating marine science into decisions.

A wave of ocean optimism: How and why we should talk about success in marine conservation
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Marianne Teoh, Fauna & Flora International-Cambodia; Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Samantha Andrews, Memorial University of Newfoundland 

  • ID: OOFD106
  • Time: 11am-Noon
  • Room: Salon C

#OceanOptimism, a Twitter initiative launched in June 2014, has spread widely as a flag for stories reporting progress in solving marine conservation challenges. Reaching over 50 million Twitter users since it’s inception, #OceanOptimism has inspired an international outpouring of marine conservation success stories. It represents a movement to create new narrative of hope for our oceans, by sharing solutions and stories of success in a world too often focused on “doom and gloom” ocean news. Rather than sweeping the issues and challenges facing the ocean and conservation efforts under the carpet, #OceanOptimism seeks to reframe conversations from the negative, towards conversations focusing on positive action that can result in solutions. A challenge for #OceanOptimism is highlighting progress and conservation success without promoting inertia to action. Through an open discussion, we will explore how and why we should balance documenting decline with promoting positivity, seeking to understand how positive messaging can be effective at promoting action and support for marine conservation. Why should we talk about success in marine conservation? How do fear-based narratives compare with optimistic messaging in driving action? Will balancing the bad news with good, and the problems with solutions, motivate people to act? How can we ensure that communicating progress and positivity won’t promote ignorance of the challenges and further action needed?

Existing opportunities: Using social media and professional societies to foster marine-freshwater conservation collaborations
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Stephanie R Januchowski-Hartley, Universite Paul Sabatier 

  • ID: OOFD109
  • Time: 11am-Noon
  • Room: Salon D

Marine and freshwater ecosystems are highly connected both naturally and with regards to human uses and disturbances. Why then do marine and freshwater conservation scientists seem to not be so connected when it comes to research? It seems that few research institutions or programs have overcome this disconnection. How then can marine and freshwater conservation scientists better come together to solve common problems? In this facilitated discussion we will identify and discuss existing opportunities for marine and freshwater scientists to build collaboration as well as stronger community via social media and professional societies.

Delivering science to inform regional ocean planning: Developing an online regional ocean assessment to support decision-making under the U.S. ocean policy
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Peter Taylor, Waterview Consulting; Emily Shumchenia, E&C Enviroscape

  • ID: OOFD91
  • Time: 11am-Noon
  • Room: Salon E

Effective delivery of accurate, relevant scientific information to policy and management decision-makers and stakeholders is essential. The process of determining what information is needed and how best to deliver it can be daunting, whether focusing on a local, regional, or national scale. Under U.S. Ocean Policy, the National Ocean Council recommended regional assessments of the ocean ecosystem and ocean uses to guide ocean planning. We produced an online Regional Ocean Assessment (ROA) that supports and informs ocean planning in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic. The ROA is part of a process led by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body, which comprises 8 federal agencies, 6 states, tribes, and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Implementing the ROA occurred over a short timeframe and involved extensive planning, coordination, research, writing, design, and technical development. We distilled, synthesized, and translated the best available information on ocean uses and resources, focusing on regional planning goals. We developed an innovative approach to deliver the ROA in an engaging and dynamic digital format that is updated easily and maximizes impact and utility. The result is a user-friendly, targeted tool that offers a model for delivering science to stakeholders and decision-makers. This facilitated discussion will explore lessons learned from this project and others, and will identify approaches that can be applied in future efforts.

Live underwater broadcasting as an edutainment tool to communicate marine conservation topics
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Mike Irvine, Fish Eye Project; Maeva Gauthier, Fish Eye Project

  • ID: OOFD26
  • Time: Noon-1pm
  • Room: Salon B

Real-time interactions with marine environments have the potential to improve the delivery of marine science and conservation topics when compared to traditional approaches. Research suggests that live underwater broadcasting provides an engaging presentation of marine environments and encourages students to pursue marine science careers. In addition, online web streaming can facilitate direct discussions between students and scientists. Fish Eye Project has been providing live underwater shows allowing students to see, hear, talk and share with scuba divers, inquiring about the various marine environments they are observing. These kinds of interactions promote ocean literacy. Live underwater broadcasting give students the opportunity to explore and discover the richness of the ocean, motivating students to potentially engage in ocean stewardship.

Avoiding the pessimism trap
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Sarah Keartes, Earth Touch News Network; Jason Goldman, Freelance Journalist

  • ID: OOFD52
  • Time: Noon-1pm
  • Room: Salon C

Conservationists are often hammered with bad news, and it can be exhausting. Experienced wildlife journalists Jason Goldman and Sarah Keartes will lead a discussion on how to avoid bad news fatigue/maintain mental health, as well as how to frame hard-hitting conservation topics to keep from depressing your audience. Climate change, ocean acidification, species decline, trophic cascades, poaching ... how do you communicate developments in these areas without pushing people away? By covering these topics creatively, you may find your audience is more responsive!

Designing a hub for international marine research collaborations in small island states
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Edward Hind, Manchester Metropolitan University; Samantha Oester, George Mason University

  • ID: OOFD110
  • Time: Noon-1pm
  • Room: Salon D

Recent UN policy statements urge improved collaboration between foreign and local scientists working on marine conservation issues in small island states. The reasoning for these statements are the short- to intermediate-term need for foreign technical assistance in addressing local marine conservation needs. Given the fact that small island states are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, ocean acidification, and overfishing, the need is substantial. The statements have been backed by the calls of scientists themselves, including those collaborating within the structures of the Society for Conservation Biology. Yet, significant barriers to collaboration exist, many of which can be attributed to the lack of stable forums for scientists to interact. Logistical issues, particularly financial constraints experienced by small island state scientists, inhibit the regular face-to-face meeting of potential collaborators. Scientists and policymakers have proposed an online networking platform or “meeting” place as the potentially most stable solution to the collaboration issue. Technical and institutional support for a platform exists, but what that platform should look like is unclear. In this facilitated discussion, we invite your suggestions on how the platform should be constructed. Ideas on how it might support the exchange of technical expertise, funding frameworks, and communication are welcome, as are further concepts.

Exploring effective marine science communication in the digital realm
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Lisa D. Tossey, University of Delaware/Delaware Sea Grant

  • ID: OOFD111
  • Time: Noon-1pm
  • Room: Salon E

Science communication often suffers from numerous pitfalls including jargon, complexity, a general lack of (science) education of the audience, and short attention spans. Delaware Sea Grant, with its mission of "science serving the Delaware coast," has been taking on these challenges through innovative approaches using emerging digital technologies. These have included its 15 Second Science video series, which deliver complex marine science topics with visually stimulating footage and succinct audio in short, mobile-friendly episodes, and exploration of smartphone-based virtual reality educational offerings on deep-sea science with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere (C-DEBI) Investigations. Let’s discuss how to make the most out of digital platforms, such as online video, for scientific outreach, and best practices for planning, producing, distributing, and evaluating related educational content.

In this age of reducing climate footprints, what would virtual conferences for the marine field look and feel like, and how could they best complement the respective strengths of in-person meetings?
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: John Davis, OpenChannels; Nick Wehner, OpenChannels

  • ID: OOFD87
  • Time: 3-4pm
  • Room: Salon B

Some of the most valuable information at in-person conferences like IMCC is what’s shared in the hallways and over meals: fortuitous conversations that spark new ideas and collaborations. That spontaneous face-to-face interaction with a large group of peer professionals is not easy to replicate online at this time. However, tools for distance knowledge-sharing are advancing rapidly, and they offer their own unique set of strengths. In this era of climate change awareness and shrinking travel budgets, this discussion will explore the future of virtual conferences and how they and in-person meetings can best complement one another - for the good of the field and the environment. The discussion will examine the state of the art in online distance learning and collaboration tools, including examples from OpenChannels and Duke’s Environmental Leadership Program as well as emerging virtual and augmented reality tools. This will open to a group discussion on what an ideal virtual marine conference could entail and what such a conference must include to be worthwhile. The discussion will conclude by exploring how to facilitate more virtual conferences in marine science and conservation.

Bringing fishermen to the table: The use of combined tools to facilitate global engagement and secure long-term participation
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Maria S Campbell, Plymouth University; Laurence Hartwell, Laurence, Penryn College; Edward Hind, Manchester Metropolitan University; Richard J Lilley, Cardiff University; Katrina Burrow, Mindfully Wired Communication

  • ID: OOFD68
  • Time: 3-4pm
  • Room: Salon C

An idea was mooted by Lawrence Hartwell (ex-trawler skipper and science communicator) of @ThroughTheGaps before the finale of the European Project Gap2; a conference to bring scientists, stakeholders and policy makers together. Unfortunately due to constraints the conference attendance was capped at 120 people. When considering a lot of commercial fishermen (from both developed and developing countries) cannot attend these kinds of events, the idea was born to bring the conference to the fishermen (After all, without the fishermen, there is no participatory research).To this end, the use of “Bambuser” to stream the conference live, alongside dedicated individuals to translate the speakers main points on the chat function, to post to social media, and answer questions and field questions to speakers was undertaken. A conference that was capped at 120 attendees, reached over 400. Lawrence set up a dedicated station in one of the UK's largest fishing ports, Newlyn, and fishermen could join in on whatever aspect of the meeting they wanted to be part of, and thus contribute to the conference. How can we make marine science matter if we do not allow all stakeholders/actors to be present in this dialogue? We must be better at using technology that facilitates stakeholder engagement and enables co-ownership: Critical if we are to encourage active participation in marine conservation and to support evidence based decision making.

Making waves inland: The challenges for ocean literacy in land-locked locations
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Samantha Andrews, CaNOE Communications Working Group; Kat Middleton, CaNOE Communications Working Group

  • ID: OOFD107
  • Time: 3-4pm
  • Room: Salon D

Surrounded by the ocean on three of its four borders, and with an economic exclusive zone (EEZ) spanning some 2.9 million km2, Canada plays a major role in the conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment. For the 7 million people that live in Canada’s coastal areas, the ocean is a significant feature in many of their lives, be it for the extractive uses on which so many coastal communities depend or non-extractive uses that provide benefits to human health and wellbeing. Alongside most of the World’s ocean, Canada’s waters have seen degradation from human activities such as overfishing, coastal habitat modification, and pollution from upstream and in the air. Fostering understanding and stewardship of the ocean among the Canadian public is vital for establishing and maintaining a healthy ocean. There is a dire need for better marine education for the 28 million Canadians who live inland and in remote locations - especially those in central Canada. But how can we help Canadians learn about their influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on them? How can we increase ocean literacy in Canada? We want people to learn about the ocean in a way that inspires and motivates positive action for this vital Canadian “ecosystem” as well as the global ocean. Since we cannot bring everyone to the ocean, we must bring the ocean to as many people as possible. If used correctly internet-based tools can play a vital role in advancing ocean literacy throughout Canada.

Happywhale: Marine mammal photo identification on a global scale through web-based citizen science
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Ted Cheeseman, Happywhale.com; and Leah Crowe, Allied Whale/College of the Atlantic

  • ID: OOFD75
  • Time: 3-4pm
  • Room: Salon E

Successful citizen science should address questions of research or conservation interest, meaningfully engage the public, and harness “the crowd” to provide data where it would otherwise be impossible or impractical. In this facilitated discussion we discuss what makes web based crowd-sourced citizen science successful, exploring finding the sweet spot of citizen science — projects that are both real science and really engaging to the public. We will use the example of Happywhale.com, a global scale web platform for individual photo identification marine mammal studies. Piloted in the Antarctic during the 2015-2016 austral summer and currently on the US Pacific coast, Happywhale cost effectively uses images contributed by well-equipped and conservation motivated citizen scientists to document humpback whale and blue whale populations. Happywhale uses public contributed images, crowdsourced image management, and automated image processing to engage participation and assess otherwise insufficiently known marine mammal populations. In 11 months since launch Happywhale.com has received over 20,000 submitted images from over 380 citizen science contributors, resulting in over 5500 documented marine mammal encounters of over 2750 identified individuals. Happywhale has collaborated with the Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue (AHWC) to build upon and contribute to a multi-decade history of whale identification efforts. The AHWC is an international, collaborative project maintained by College of the Atlantic since 1987 investigating movement patterns of humpback whales in the Southern Ocean and corresponding lower latitude waters. In this first year of collaboration with Happywhale, photos of 299 whales were contributed, and 243 individuals were catalogued, 39 of which matched to other years or areas.

Balancing science communication and science: Achieving effective outreach when it’s not in your job description
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Susan vonThun, MBARI

  • ID: OOFD108
  • Time: 4-5pm
  • Room: Salon B

With advances in technology rapidly changing the way we understand and navigate our world, effective science communication has never been more important. Helping the public realize the impacts humans have on the environment is critical as we face increasing threats to the ocean such as climate change, ocean acidification, habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing. Social media has emerged as a tool that makes it possible to reach thousands, even millions of people, with relative ease, but how can scientists leverage their stretched resources to reach these massive new audiences? The passion scientists have for their research is key to sparking public attention as to why marine science matters, but many scientists struggle with the time consuming undertaking of regularly engaging audiences to build a following and influence the masses. In the ever-changing world of social media, how do you choose which social media platform is most effective for the task? In this session, we will discuss how to play to your strengths with science communication, work proactively with communications departments, and how to best balance time spent on outreach versus research.

Collaborative web apps for the scientific community and participatory decision-making in marine resource management
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Grace Goldberg, University of California Santa Barbara; Will McClintock, University of California Santa Barbara

  • ID: OOFD113
  • Time: 4-5pm
  • Room: Salon C

The web is a powerful tool for improving shared access to information, with well-designed web-based applications providing tools to generate, engage with and collaborate around marine science and conservation specifically. For participatory science-based marine resource management, web apps like SeaSketch (http://www.seasketch.org), developed by the McClintock Lab at the University of California Santa Barbara, allow a diverse set of audiences to participate in data-driven design of marine spatial plans. Just within the research community, web apps have the potential to push science forward more efficiently and allow researchers to leverage the progress of their peers. The Oceans Collaborative is an emerging partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund and UCSB, with the purpose of bringing together scientists and technologists to collaboratively develop open-source web apps for marine science, conservation and decision-making. In this session we will introduce existing and envisioned software tools. We will hold an open discussion around (1) barriers in the scientific community to collaborating via web-based platforms, (2) rewards and challenges engaging stakeholders and resource managers in exploring data and analytics through interactive web apps, (3) the value of standardization of platforms versus providing configurable tools to meet diverse needs, (4) issues of scalability and sustainability for cloud-based software services, and more.

Instagram is the new IMAX experience: Communicating ocean science through experiential social media campaigns
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Katherine Middleton, Laurentian University

  • ID: OOFD65
  • Time: 4-5pm
  • Room: Salon D

Ensuring the protection of a healthy ocean involves effective environmental policies, which rely on a knowledgeable and engaged public. Unfortunately, the majority of the public has a limited knowledge of the ocean and low levels of ocean literacy. Better public understanding of the ocean is essential for establishing a greater push for ocean conservation, and resolving critical issues that threaten it. Research has shown that personal experiences can significantly enhance learning. For people who do not live near the coast, informal learning environments like aquariums, science centres and museums can provide that first-hand connection. But these learning opportunities are often not available to everyone, especially inland and remote populations. Fortunately, science learning opportunities are rapidly growing and changing, particularly the seemingly infinite array of digital media available online. Due to the accessible and ubiquitous nature of the internet, it is now possible to create a highly connected learning experience for citizens around the world. Visually-focused social media platforms like Instagram use videos and images to connect people in real-time. Instagram shows significant potential as an effective science communication tool for improving ocean literacy, particularly for inland and remote populations. Like miniature interactive IMAX experiences, Instagram posts catch audiences in fleeting moments and can be used to draw them deeper into science communication. In this presentation and facilitated discussion, delegates will learn about emerging online tools, including Instagram, that have great potential as experiential digital science communication tools. There will also be a quick tutorial on using and posting to Instagram, including do's and don'ts using relevant examples. Participants are encouraged to download to app prior to the discussion.

Creating online scientist-teacher-student partnerships
Organizers/Discussion Leaders: Patrick Goff, Science Educator (Middle School); Keni Rienks, Science Educator (High School)

  • ID: OOFD105
  • Time: 4-5pm
  • Room: Salon E

There are many secondary school teachers who would love to work with scientists, and many scientists who are willing to help teachers and their students. Let’s figure out how to bring these parties together while being respectful of their time and workload. This discussion will be aimed to better understand how partnerships can be developed between scientists and teachers/students. We will explore and share ways to use online tools and social media outlets to collaborate, give advice, talk with and help be a mentor to a group of students. One goal is to establish and maintain an active pool and community of participants of science and education both in attendance at the conference as well as outreach after the conference ends.


Communicating marine science and conservation through podcasting
Organizers: Andrew Lewin, Spatial-Conserve Inc.

  • ID: OOWS38
  • Time: 1:15-2:45pm
  • Room: Salon B

The internet has provided marine scientists and conservationists with online tools to connect us with the public via blogs, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), video (You Tube and Vimeo and audio (podcasting). This workshop will focus on the benefits of using podcasting as a communication tool and the technical aspects of getting up and running with podcasts. The workshop will have a brief presentation; discuss the technical specifications required for podcasts (microphones, software, etc.); and, provide a strategy to increase the number of downloads across all podcasting platforms. There will be plenty of time for questions on how to create one's own podcast for marine science and conservation commnication. I started and host my own podcast (and will launch 2 more podcasts before the conference) - The Speak Up For Blue Podcast - and will share my knowledge and experience with the attendees.

CANCELLED: Storyboarding: A guide to creating a visually captivating science documentary
Organizers: Jacqueline-Remy Orvis, Interdisciplinary

  • ID: OOWS56

Curating stories of success: Best practices & platforms for stories of #OceanOptimism
Organizers: Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; Emily Frost, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

  • ID: OOWS19
  • Time: 1:15-2:45pm
  • Room: Salon E

Since the beginning of the ocean conservation movement, “doom and gloom” has been the dominant narrative. The media and even scientists themselves contribute to this via an ever more depressing string of reports on overfishing, pollution, invasive species, global warming and ocean acidification. While documenting problems and building public awareness of these problems is important, the continuing nearly exclusive focus on bad news and scary messaging has backfired because it has led to a sense of hopelessness – apathy rather than action. Moreover, the preoccupation with catastrophe ignores the growing number of genuine successes that we have had in protecting and restoring ocean ecosystems. This workshop will bring together participants that are interested in “Making Marine Science Matter” through communicating ocean success stories online. The workshop will help to expand and strengthen alliances and partnerships with others working with ocean conservation solutions, and to provide participants with practical skills and a richer theoretical understanding of generating marine conservation successes through the process of curating solutions. We will discuss research that has shown that audiences are more likely to respond to and share compelling positive stories that arouse awe rather than negative stories that stimulate sadness, pull from a diversity of environmental communications approaches and what the best online platforms are for sharing these stories.

Online Tools Presentations Session

The Online Tools Presentations Session will feature four tools used for marine science research and management and their applications.

  • Time: 5-6pm
  • Room: Salon A

OOP22: Running the gauntlet: Regional movement patterns of Manta alfredi through a complex of parks and fisheries

  • Elitza Germanov, Marine Megafuana Foundation, Murdoch University; Andrea Marshall, Marine Megafauna Foundation

OOP92: Measuring effects of catch shares: A user-friendly online dashboard of ecological, economic, social, and governance data for managers and stakeholders

  • PH Taylor, Waterview Consulting; J H Swasey, MRAG Americas; S Iudicello, Iudicello and Associates Environmental Consulting

OOP50: MPAtlas.org: The online tool for tracking meaningful marine protection

  • Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Institute; Russell Moffitt, Marine Conservation Institute; Beth Pike, Marine Conservation Institute

OOP18: The Northeast Ocean Data Portal: A decision support tool for ocean planning in the Northeast U.S.

  • K Longley-Wood, SeaPlan; N Napoli, Northeast Regional Ocean Council; A Lipsky, SeaPlan: K Knee, RPS ASA; R Shmookler, RPS ASA: D Martin, NOAA; E Shumchenia, NROC

OceansOnline Social at Yellow Belly Brewery

  • Time: Thursday, 4 August @ 8-10pm
  • Location: Yellow Belly Brewery, 288 Water St, St. John's
  • Ticket Price: FREE with OceansOnline registration
  • Pre-registration is not required for OceansOnline delegates

After a full day of OceansOnline facilitated discussions, presentations, and workshops, a social event for OceansOnline registrants will take place at Yellow Belly Brewery and Public House, the province's only gastropub. Originally constructed in 1725 and one of the oldest structures in North America, the Yellow Belly Brewery building is the place where the 'Great Fire of 1892' was finally extinguished. The gastropub boasts multiple fireplaces, original brickwork, wide plank flooring, and an open concept kitchen and brewhouse. Many vegetarian and vegan hors d'oeuvres and platters will be served during the event, and delegates can sample beers brewed at Yellow Belly. The social will also feature music and Team Ocean Family Feud—a team Family Feud-style relay game. 

OceansOnline delegates will need to walk the short distance from the Delta Conference Centre to Yellow Belly Brewery.