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Scientists from around the world will present the latest in marine conservation research and practice at 33 symposia at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress. The IMCC4 scientific program will also feature hundreds of additional contributed talks, speed presentations, and poster presentations.

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July 31 Symposia

Perpetual motion: The future of animal movement ecology in marine conservation
Organizers: Matthew B. Ogburn, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; Frederick Whoriskey, Ocean Tracking Network; Peter Leimgruber, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute

  • ID: SY45
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon A

The uniquely dynamic marine environment forces the vast majority of animals to move within it during all or part of their lives to meet fundamental needs. Changes in movement patterns are among the first adaptive responses of marine animals to anthropogenic ocean changes. Thus understanding variation in marine animal movement, its role in population dynamics and ecosystem structure, and how movements change over time are critical to marine conservation and spatial planning. Stories of animal movements are also powerful educational tools to explain the importance of the ocean to human well-being. Movement studies are providing new insights into the marine environment through recent technological and computational advances, and efforts at international networking are expanding. The field of movement ecology has the potential to bridge the historical divide between marine and terrestrial behavioral ecology and their application to conservation and management. This symposium, convened by the Smithsonian Institution (USA) and the Ocean Tracking Network (HQ at Dalhousie University, Canada), focuses on the critical research question “How can conservation strategies be implemented to maintain connectivity across taxa, habitats, and scales to ensure resilient marine communities.” It will seek to bridge the fields of marine and terrestrial animal behavior through case studies, syntheses, and exploration of future research directions.

Seabird conservation planning: Distribution modeling, risk assessment, and effective conservation actions
Organizers: Laura McFarlane Tranquilla, Bird Studies Canada; David Lieske, Mount Allison University; William Montevecchi, Memorial University of Newfoundland; April Hedd, Memorial University of Newfoundland; David Fifield, Environment Canada

  • ID: SY35
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon B

Coastal and marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by human activities, including commercial overfishing, release of contaminants, and development leading to habitat alteration and loss. Seabirds are integral components of marine ecosystems and are vulnerable to anthropogenic threats including chronic and catastrophic oil spills, competition for prey with commercial fisheries, and bycatch. Seabirds are also vulnerable to tourism and development activities that can lead to harmful interruption in feeding, breeding and migration behaviours, and exclusion from key sites. This symposium will focus on assessing threats and vulnerabilities, to inform conservation priorities for seabirds in coastal and marine environments. Fundamental to this approach is sound spatio-temporal distribution information on both seabirds and seabird threats. Recent enhancements in seabird distribution information, as a result of year-round, multi-scale tracking of individual birds, improvements to at-sea survey methods, and predictive spatial models, are expected to contribute greatly to the discussion. Contributed papers will explore advances in distribution modeling for marine species, methods for identifying ecologically important areas and/or areas where risks from human-seabird conflict are elevated, and novel approaches for identifying, prioritizing, implementing and monitoring conservation actions that better address threats to seabirds and the marine ecosystems to which they belong.

Creating actionable science: Connecting science and practice through researcher-manager partnerships
Organizers: Angela Bednarek, The Pew Charitable Trusts;  Jennifer O'Leary, California Polytechnic University

  • ID: SY48
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon C

This symposium will address practical options for making science more actionable for marine resource management. A promising solution is to directly connect those producing scientific tools and information with those who might use them. While this approach is gaining recognition, there is uncertainty about how best to structure these partnerships, as well as how to measure their impacts. This session will provide examples of researcher-resource manager partnerships followed by a discussion of best practices. Presenters will describe a diverse set of case studies of partnerships intended to produce actionable science. Each presenter will describe the context that led to their partnership and lessons learned. Finally, we will moderate a discussion among the participants about other experiences in creating actionable science through researcher and manager partnerships. We hope by promoting a high level of interaction among participants, we can help contribute to a practical roadmap for making science matter for marine conservation efforts. We will follow the symposium with a focus group that will delve into one of the emerging facets of research and user partnerships – citizen science. “One Fish, Two Fish: Building a Fishery Citizen Science Program in the U.S. South Atlantic to Improve Policy and Marine Ecosystem Health” will be held after the symposium. U.S. South Atlantic region is poised to benefit from feedback about their proposed “Fishery Citizen Science Program.”

*A focus group follows this symposium: FG 46: Building a fishery citizen science program in the U.S. South Atlantic to improve management and policy

Citizen science for coastal and marine conservation: Critical review and lessons learned across different practices, ecosystems, and perspectives
John A. Cigliano, Cedar Crest College; Heidi L. Ballard, University of California, Davis

  • ID: SY84
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon D

Despite the fact that the use of citizen science in marine and coastal contexts is under-represented compared to its use in terrestrial and freshwater research and monitoring, there has been a rapid expansion of the use of citizen science for marine and coastal conservation. However, not all of these citizen science projects are appropriate, effective, efficient, or ethical. The newness and rapid expansion of the citizen science in marine and coast contexts has created a demand for the discussion of key issues and the development of best practices. The aim of this symposium is to demonstrate and analyze the utility and feasibility of doing marine and coastal citizen science for conservation, and by providing critical considerations (i.e., which questions and systems are best suited for citizen science) and recommendations for best practices for successful projects. We will accomplish this through presentations from natural and social scientists experienced with using citizen science to advance marine and coastal conservation. Presentations will include the use of citizen science for MPA monitoring, seabird and coastal conservation, climate change, and coral reef conservation, and on communication and trust building to the broader public. We will provide a synthesis of lessons across the cases, and then facilitate a discussion around the key challenges and strategies from presenters and audience members.

Conservation of vulnerable marine ecosystems: Regional comparison of fisheries impacts and conservation successes.
Organizers: Evan Edinger, Memorial University, St. John's; Pal Buhl-Mortensen, Institute of Marine Research, Bergen; Vonda Wareham, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Susanna Fuller, Ecology Action Centre

  • ID: SY97
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon F

Conservation of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME's) vary widely among regions in their composition, fisheries impacts, and conservation actions. Cold-water corals were the poster-child of deep-water VME conservation, particularly in response to the expansion of deep-sea fisheries starting in the 1990's. Conservation focus The species of concern for VME's of cold-water coral conservation have expanded from the longest-lived reef-building scleractinians like Lophelia pertusa to a wide set of gorgonians, sea pens, soft corals and black corals. VME conservation efforts now include a range of sponges, erect bryozoans, seamount fauna, and hydrothermal vents. Conservation efforts for VME's have mostly focused on fisheries closures and gear restrictions. This session will compare the effects of fisheries on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems among regions around the world, and will compare progress on conserving VME's among those regions. Particular emphasis will be placed on Arctic and Antarctic regions where decreasing summer sea ice extent is enabling expansion of fishing into previously inaccessible habitats. The session will seek to understand the common major impediments to further progress in conserving VME's, and to identify successful strategies for overcoming these obstacles. 

Increasing the utility of predictive models: Understanding model transferability
Organizers: Katherine Yates, Salford University; Ana Martins Sequeira, University of Western Australia

  • ID: SY42
  • Time: July 31 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon G

Effective planning and prioritisation of conservation actions requires an understanding of where conservation features of interest occur and how management actions may affect them. All too often, however, information on the distribution of biotic features is sparse or lacking. This is particularly true for marine environments, where the vastness of the oceans and the prohibitive costs associated with sampling limits data collection. For many locations, only abiotic and spatial data exist. In these situations transferable models, i.e., models developed for a particular place but which can provide useful information in other locations, could be of great utility. Despite transferability studies in terrestrial systems being relatively common, the model features that may enhance or detract from transferability are still not well understood. This symposium will focus on how best to build predictive models that are highly transferable and how to robustly assess transferability while showing new applications to marine systems. Researchers working on different aspects of transferability will show examples of where transferred models have performed well, even across large distances, and others where they have not. They will also present evidence for which factors seem to affect the predictive performance of transferred models in the marine environment. Joint session is to allow for more in-depth discussion, which will explore recent findings, highlight which are the immediate gaps, and discuss future research avenues.

*A focus group follows this symposium: FG 43: Increasing the utility of predictive models: Understanding model transferability 

Using marketing to tackle the challenge of behaviour change
Organizers: Diogo Verissimo, Rare/Georgia State University; Andrew Wright, George Mason University; A. Mel Cosentino, Wild Earth Foundation; Emma McKinley, University of Chichester; Kevin Green, Rare; Kathleen Pilfold, Independent Consultant

  • ID: SY23
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon A

All major threats to the marine environment are driven by human behavior. The SCB Marine Section list of critical research questions to the advancement of marine conservation recognizes this by including several questions on the ability of conservation practitioners to drive sustainable behaviors. Recently there has been increasing interest in research on influencing human behavior. However, many fundamental challenges remain, especially with regard to the way these efforts are implemented. Many of these challenges have long been faced by marketing professionals, making this field a rich resource for those seeking to conserve marine environments. This Symposium aims to connect scientists with marketing professionals to convey their experiences with tackling some of the key challenges around behavior change. It will also showcase how marketing principles and concepts can improve conservation outreach efforts. It will bring together a diverse set of speakers from academia and the non-profit and business sectors, it will also bring in marketing professionals from outside the environmental field. We hope this will help conservation practitioners build on the lessons learned in other fields, such as public health, where the use of marketing concepts has been much more widespread. Marine scientists will be exposed to a wealth of experiences and knowledge from the marketing field that will help understand and leverage behavior change to address issues in the marine realm.

Putting tipping points science into practice in social-ecological systems: Stories of success, stumbling blocks, and hope
Organizers: Carrie Kappel, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

  • ID: SY28
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon B

In marine social-ecological systems, one plus one does not always equal two. Awareness is growing among marine scientists and managers that small changes in stressors can lead to disproportionately large changes, or tipping points, in marine ecosystems and the human communities they support. We have seen small changes oceanic pressures lead to fishery collapse with sizable impacts on local communities. Once healthy coral reefs are now overtaken by algae. These observations are not new. Many scientists have studied the complex dynamics of marine ecosystems. However, the uptake of past science to foster positive change on the water has been slow. We are working to change that. Engaging at the interface of marine science, communication, and management, a growing group of researchers has taken up the charge of bringing science to bear on the management of ecosystems prone to tipping points. This session will highlight stories from the field and desk as scientists and managers work together to make tipping points science matter on the water. Each story will feature a particular challenge in incorporating this science into management, from the realms of ecology, governance, economics, and cultural values, and the progress being made to overcome these stumbling blocks. We will highlight how innovative tools and partnerships are helping to translate complex science into tangible and effective decision tools to help managers anticipate, avoid, or recover from tipping points.

Human dimensions of conservation in the Caribbean: Lessons for marine and coastal work in small island states and other underserved regions
Organizers: Samantha Oester, George Mason University; Christine Gleason, George Mason University; Chris Parsons, George Mason University; Edward Hind, Manchester Metropolitan University

  • ID: SY6
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Placentia Bay

Small island states are relatively remote, vulnerable to environmental fluctuations, and generally small in size. Despite varying histories and economic realities of small island states of the Caribbean, they face many similar challenges. Several Caribbean islands suffer from vast marine and coastal issues, as well as widespread poverty. The socio-economic aspects of marine and coastal conservation are as salient as natural science. Combined with vulnerable tropical island ecosystems, Caribbean nations face numerous environmental threats from human activities that negatively impact people. In this symposium, foreign researchers working in small island states of the Caribbean, as well as researchers and stakeholders from these nations, will present the human dimensions of marine and coastal conservation. These dimensions include poverty and socio-economics, education, sustainable development and harvesting, research and monitoring, community-based environmental management, climate change mitigation, human-wildlife conflict, and marine reserves. The need for increased research collaboration within and between countries will be emphasized. Hard-fought lessons with global applicability will be discussed.

Conservation and stewardship in small-scale fisheries: Practices and lessons from around the world
Organizers: T.S. Whitty, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; R. Chuenpagdee, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's

  • ID: SY33
  • Time: July 31 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon F

The importance of small-scale fisheries to food security, livelihoods, and well-being of millions of people globally is highly recognized. However, their interactions, both positive and negative, with ecosystems and the resulting implications for conservation are not thoroughly understand. Research generally focuses on the negative impacts of these fisheries on ecosystems, rather than on the positive roles these fisheries could play in conservation and stewardship. Ecological impacts of small-scale fishing, while not always thoroughly researched, are considered to be high. This presumption frequently leads to decisions about conservation that not only affect the viability of small-scale fishing communities, but also impede their participation as stewards of resources and marine ecosystem. This session calls for (1) studies that illustrate impacts of small-scale fishing in ecosystems, and (2) examples of how small-scale fisheries contribute to improving resource sustainability and ocean health, as well as lessons about stewardship practices that they engage in. Ultimately, the session aims to broaden the discourse about the role of small-scale fisheries in marine conservation, based on empirical evidence, and to engage in discussion about marine resource governance that enables contribution of small-scale fisheries in conservation and stewardship as a means to address global concerns in marine ecosystems.

August 1 Symposia

Advances in tools and approaches in marine spatial planning to achieve marine conservation goals
Organizers: Natalie Ban, University of Victoria; Mandy Lombard, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

  • ID: SY83
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon A

Improving the management of the oceans requires advances in scientific research and approaches, and spatially-explicit tools to support conservation goals and develop comprehensive marine plans. Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a political process that addresses ecological, conservation, social and economic objectives with stakeholder consultation and spatial allocation of uses and activities. One of the goals of MSP may be to propose new marine protected areas or other forms of marine protection in the context of other ocean uses, requiring the evaluation of trade-offs. The science and practice of developing and using technical and spatial tools for MSP processes and achieving marine conservation goals has been progressing since the beginning of MSP, including more explicit consideration of ecosystem services and quantifying cumulative effects This symposium highlights recent advances with examples from on-going marine planning efforts. This Symposium directly addresses question #58 about marine spatial planning, and #43 about ecosystem services. Through elaboration of interdisciplinary tools, techniques and approaches developed to inform MSP, this symposium will show that Marine Science Matters in developing science-based strategies and policies to advance marine conservation and engage stakeholders. This Symposium will identify ongoing challenges in these fields based on the experiences of the speakers and from those in attendance or participating via social media.

Measuring marine protected area establishment at the continental scale: A case study of marine conservation in Canada, USA and Mexico.
Organizers: Sabine Jessen, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society; Lance Morgan, Marine Conservation Institute

  • ID: SY77
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon B

Marine species and ecosystems do not obey geopolitical boundaries. The oceans of Canada, Mexico and the United States are intimately linked by migratory species, oceanographic features, and shared resources. Action, or inaction, on one side of a political border has far-reaching consequences. Scientific guidelines for MPA network planning stress the importance of planning at ecosystem scales. However the designation, management and measurement of MPAs is still inconsistent between countries making alignment and collaboration challenging. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Marine Conservation Institute and The Nature Conservancy have worked on marine protected area establishment in Canada, the US and Mexico, respectively and are now joining forces to conduct a critical analysis of progress in MPA establishment across the North American continent. This analysis will also address the challenges of measuring MPAs, providing recommendations to scientists, planners and decision-makers to increase consistency in the design and measurement of MPAs, and to provide clear and consistent messaging to the general public. This symposium will review and discuss the results of this analysis, exploring key lessons-learned and pending questions from North America and explore comparisons of large-scale conservation progress in other regions. Participants from governments, stakeholder groups and academia will provide the political, scientific and social context for the discussion.

Environmental effects of marine renewable energy
Organizers: Marie-Lise Schläppy, University of the Highlands and Islands;  Anna Redden, Acadia University; Andrea Copping, Laboratory

  • ID: SY12
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon C

Nations are interested in decreasing their reliance on fossil fuels and energy coming from nuclear sources.  A portfolio of renewable low-carbon energy sources can help to fill the gap in energy for the future. Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) can be a key part of that portfolio for coastal nations.  MRE devices harvest energy from tides, waves, ocean currents, as well as differentials in temperature and salinity in the oceans. Tidal and wave devices are presently the most advanced of these technologies. However, the responsible deployment and operation of these devices requires that we understand the potential environmental effects, which range from direct interactions with marine animals, to changes in habitats, and estuarine circulation.  We don’t understand most of these potential effects, and the lack of deployed and operational arrays of MRE devices prevents scientists from testing their effects hypotheses. To allow array development while ensuring that the precautionary principle is maintained for the environment and existing uses, effects hypotheses must rely on interactions observed at and near single devices.  This symposium will allow speakers active in this research area to provide a synopsis on the state of the science on effects of MRE devices on marine mammals, fish, birds and benthic communities. The conference themes addressed are: Marine Energy, Marine Policy, and Effective Marine Conservation Planning.

Increasing the impact of coral reef science on conservation:  current impediments and possible solutions
Organizers: Clare Fieseler, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • ID: SY81
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon D

Coral reefs are in severe decline from anthropogenic stressors. Despite a high level of coral reef science including conservation-oriented work, the impact of science on management decisions is not sufficient. The goal of this symposium is to pinpoint and discuss the disconnect between science generation and management. The focus will be knowledge sharing and translation between scientists and those involved in management. The symposium will present the results of a survey of scientists, managers, NGOs, appointed participatory management committees, etc., involved in coral reef management around the world, soliciting expert opinions on the impediments to effective knowledge sharing of coral reef science for conservation.  This presentation will be followed by contributed presentations that will be preferably based on case studies, and discuss causes affecting knowledge sharing and translation including communication strategies, stakeholder perceptions, science-management partnerships, technologies, and tools designed to increase the impact of evidence-based assessments. While impediments are likely to vary locally, we aim at identifying chronic patterns emerging at either regional or global scale. Additional contributions, or highlighting successful experiences, or current challenges are welcome. Symposium output will be a peer-reviewed publication of the survey results with an interpretation informed by quantitative ranking, representative case studies, and attendee discussion occurs in the subsequent focus group. Therefore attendees are encouraged to participate in the composite session (Symposium + Focus Group) and, optionally, an informal lunch following. This symposium and the focus group immediately following are hosted by SCB’s newly formed Coral Reef Working Group.

*A focus group follows this symposium: FG 61: Addressing the gap between science and coral reef management

Governance for marine conservation across the land-sea interface
Organizers: J. Pittman, University of Waterloo; D. Armitage, University of Waterloo

  • ID: SY14 
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon E

There are many marine conservation approaches (e.g., marine protected areas [MPAs]) currently being used at the land-sea interface in the face of changing conditions. However, many of these approaches are unable to meet conservation objectives for three reasons. First, these approaches typically do not occur at scales that encompass land-sea interactions. For example, MPAs usually have limited jurisdiction over land uses that may damage or threaten marine habitat. Second, many approaches are often inflexible across a range of scales (e.g., spatial, temporal). Inflexibility limits capacity to adapt or transform in relation to changing stresses. Third, some approaches suffer from issues of legitimacy that can serve to alienate local communities. Local communities are crucial for advancing conservation, and they are typically more engaged if conservation programs match their expectations of fair process and perceptions of beneficial outcomes. The lens of governance can illuminate ways of improving marine conservation efforts to deal with the challenges mentioned above. The purpose of this session is to examine the role of governance – including effective ways of linking decision making and marine science – in advancing marine conservation at the land-sea interface. The intent is to identify, from a range of cases, middle-range propositions regarding the elements and configurations of effective governance for conservation at the land-sea interface to address rapidly changing social-ecological conditions.

Integrated science and management solutions for data-limited and low governance fisheries
Organizers: Kendra Karr, Environmental Defense Fund; Rod Fujita, Environmental Defense Fund; Jake Kritzer, Environmental Defense Fund

  • ID: SY73
  • Time: August 1 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon F

Most small-scale fisheries lack data about the health of fish populations, giving managers very limited information on which to base management measures. In turn, most of these fisheries appear to be under performing with respect to conservation, the amount of food they can produce, the amount of money they can generate, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support. Rights-based management systems have often been effective at maintaining sustainable yields. However, in many fisheries today there is a perception that stocks cannot be assessed without large amounts of data and complex models. Since many fisheries generate limited data, they remain unassessed and ineffectively managed – and often, not managed at all, continuing to under performance or even collapse. Research and experience show that establishing secure fishing rights with science-based limits on catch, empowers fishermen to become stewards of the resource and is key to long-term sustainability. However, stock assessment appears to be an obstacle for small-scale fisheries that generate insufficient data to conduct formal stock assessments. Poor governance and lack of capacity to design, implement, and enforce management measures is another major obstacle. Fortunately, there are tools designed to empower on-the ground partners to address the challenges these fisheries are facing and develop solutions that support more fish in the water, more food on the plate and more prosperous communities.

Making knowledge matter: Incorporating traditional and local knowledge into marine assessments and management
Organizers: Tessa B. Francis, University of Washington Tacoma; Phillip S. Levin, NOAA Fisheries

  • ID: SY63
  • Time: August 1 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon A

Marine conservation managers, policy makers and researchers must confront complex social-ecological systems (SES) where we lack historical baselines and robust data, and, consequently face high uncertainty. There are a number of conventional scientific techniques and tools available to overcome some of these hurdles. Nonetheless, in many places, these challenges persist. Therefore, for marine science to “matter” to conservation planning and management, the definition of “science” must be expanded upon to include traditional and local knowledge (TLK). Doing so will increase understanding, change our perspective of uncertainty, and inform strategies for effective conservation. Successful conservation must bring multiple sources and types of knowledge to the management processes. However, to do so requires the effective connection of locally collected or held knowledge to formal management processes, and this requires bridging gaps of culture, language, and process. This session will focus on using TLK alongside conventional science in the service of conservation management. The presentations will describe work that is diverse across marine systems, knowledge base and governance structure, and include using TK in models, viability analyses and ecosystem indicators, in fisheries and conservation management and assessment.

The impact of overfishing and climate change on food security and human nutrition
Organizers: Christopher D. Golden, Harvard School of Public Health; Katherine Seto, UC Berkeley 

  • ID: SY9
  • Time: August 1 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon C

Globally, approximately 2 billion people in impoverished areas alone depend on subsistence fisheries to meet their basic nutrient requirements. Global fisheries are a pillar of human nutrition as a source of protein and calories and, more importantly, as a source of critical micronutrients like iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Preliminary studies indicate that marine fish consumption may comprise significant portions of protein, caloric, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and fatty acid intake for low-income populations with little market access. The future of human nutrition is tied to the fate of our global fisheries, a risky prospect given uncertainties surrounding fisheries governance and environmental trajectories of fish stocks. In this session, we will present a series of methods and case studies that describe current work to understand the ways in which overfishing and climate change will directly impact the distribution and abundance of fisheries and subsequently, human food security and nutrition. Our research explores the following three topics: 1) the current role of fish and other seafood in maintaining macro and micro-nutrient nutrition for populations around the world; 2) the effects of overfishing and climate change on global fish stocks and distribution; and 3) the ways that changes in fish stocks may affect human nutrition and food security.

August 2 Symposia

Marine planning in Canada: Results and lessons from the Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP)
Organizers: J.L. Smith, TNC Canada; F. Kilburn, MaPP, J. Byington

  • ID: SY59
  • Time: August 2 8:30am-10:30am
  • Room: Salon A

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is usually a process led by governments or a specific organization, with public and stakeholder engagement, designed to achieve specified objectives and improve decision making in ocean and coastal environments. In this symposium, presentations will focus on sharing the results of a recently completed 4-year long planning process in the North Pacific Coast of Canada. In “Making Science Matter”, the Marine Planning Partnership used over 275 spatial data layers as well as spatially-explicit Marxan outputs, ecosystem services models for tourism and recreation, climate change vulnerability models and habitat vulnerability models to inform the marine spatial plans for 102,000 km2 of Canada’s Pacific Ocean. Science, First Nations knowledge and local knowledge were integral in the development of four sub-regional plans and one regional plan in 2015 including zoning for a diversity of uses and activities and area-specific management considerations. This symposium will provide a rare opportunity for conference delegates to hear from all four sub-regional planning teams and the government partnership, describing how different types of knowledge were used to develop marine spatial plans that have been approved and are now being implemented by the provincial and 18 First Nations governments in British Columbia.

Making marine science matter to people: Sharing experiences
Organizers: Véronique Bussières, Concordia University; Annie Lalancette, Concordia University

  • ID: SY78
  • Time: August 2 8:30-10:30am and 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon B

It is now generally accepted that indigenous peoples and other local communities have a crucial role to play in marine and coastal conservation and resource management: they are often the primary resource users, hold valuable knowledge about local ecosystems, are the most affected by environmental changes and policies and are well-positioned to monitor them. In many parts of the world, local communities are building the capacity to influence and even drive research agendas; yet many challenges remain to building effective partnerships between local peoples, scientists, managers and decision-makers. This symposium will bring together pairs of presentations focusing on similar topics (e.g., fisheries management, protected areas, threatened species, marine hunting, and marine pollution) from different geographic locations. The goal is to highlight lessons learned in terms of strategies used to foster collaboration, challenges encountered as well as benefits for communities and in terms of conservation outcomes. This symposium will be combined with the focus group Making Marine Science Matter to People: Steps Forward during which participants will build on the panel presentations to develop a white paper aimed at relevant Canadian governmental agencies involved in coastal and marine resource management.

*A focus group follows this symposium: FG 79: Making marine science matter to people: Steps forward

Technology and citizen science: How open-source solutions are revolutionizing data collection and analysis
Organizers: Jacob Levenson, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

  • ID: SY76
  • Time: August 2 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon C

High quality, long-term data is essential to marine conservation but no researcher can traverse the vast distances required to study the marine environment consistently and without gaps. Citizen science can close those gaps. Open source technology is transforming the way citizen scientists can contribute to natural resource management. Social media, collecting geospatially accurate data through mobile devices, and improved tools and sensor networks allow organizations to streamline data collection and provide qualified data easily. This has led to a dramatic transformation in engaging citizen scientists. This symposium explores the latest in open source tools and resources for engaging citizen scientists and creative methods for disseminating data. Organizations seek accurate, reliable, cost-effective data collection systems using mobile technology, and open hardware enables anyone to build tools. This boom in citizen science exponentially increases data available to resource managers, challenging data management and effective data dissemination. The scientific community has extensively discussed relying on untrained citizens to collect data sufficiently reliable for scientific research and conservation management. This concern is addressed through basic data collection training, evaluating citizen science dataset limitations, and the careful interpretation of data and comparative studies using well-established techniques (e.g. telemetry) to validate citizen science datasets.

Beyond engagement: Turning citizen science findings into conservation and policy action
Organizers: Caitlin Birdsall, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre; Scott Finestone, Project Seahorse; Tessa Danelesko, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

  • ID: SY51
  • Time: August 2 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon C

Often regarded as an outreach and engagement tool, citizen science has grown to become a powerful, cost-effective and increasingly popular way for scientists to enlist the help of the public to collect and report large amounts of useful data. Efforts to turn marine citizen science into action, however, face several hurdles. Issues around data quality, quantity and reliability, participant consistency, and preconceived ideas about citizen science credibility can present daunting challenges. In this symposium we will go beyond the “how to” of creating a citizen science project to look at projects around the globe that have overcome such challenges and successfully used citizen science as a means to further understanding and support action. Through a combination of presentations and a facilitated panel discussion, we will utilize a diverse group of projects as our case studies to explore the tools and strategies used by citizen science projects to achieve significant contributions to marine science, conservation and policy throughout the world.

August 3 Symposia

Informal learning and ocean conservation: Science literacy in and out of the classroom
Organizers: Jake Levenson, Oceans Forward; Marissa Fox, Oceans Forward; Chelsie Archibald, Oceans Learning Partnership

  • ID: SY80
  • Time: August 3 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon A

Engaging K-12 and adult students about the importance of the ocean, the very life support system of our planet, presents a unique challenge. We are all connected to and depend on the sea, yet the ocean seems distant to many and others simply take it for granted. For this reason, increasing ocean literacy is essential for effective marine conservation. This symposium will discuss the best methods for addressing existing gaps in ocean conservation, including developing successful partnerships between academia and informal or experiential learning institutions. This symposium will also examine case studies that have successfully engaged students, teachers and coastal communities in conducting ocean science, and describe interactive activities focused on conserving protected species and improving collective climate and ocean literacy. Finally, this symposium will explore and share innovative solutions to evaluating the effectiveness of these programs while ensuring local education standards are exceeded.

Connecting theory and practice to advance marine conservation science and outcomes
Organizers: K.J. Siegel, University of California, Santa Barbara; M. Clemence, University of California, Santa Barbara

  • ID: SY31
  • Time: August 3 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon C

Making marine science relevant for policy and management depends on the bi-directional linkages between scientific theory and practice. Scientists develop theory and help resource managers, policy makers, and conservation practitioners apply it; the results of these management interventions can in turn yield new insights for scientists, informing the next generation of theory and scientific inquiry. While there has been considerable attention paid to the challenges of communicating science to policy makers and conservation practitioners in order to inform their on-the-ground decisions, there has been less focus on connecting practitioners to scientists for the purpose of extracting insights from practical application to advance underlying scientific theory. In this session, we will bring together scientists and practitioners to engage at both ends of this knowledge exchange, provide case studies where this bi-directional learning has been put into practice, and highlight the synergistic benefits for both science and management.

Conserving the other 50% of the world: Status and opportunities in area-based management beyond national jurisdiction
Organizers: Daniel Dunn, Duke University; Telmo Morato, University of the Azores; Steve Fletcher, UNEP-WCMC

  • ID: SY90
  • Time: August 3 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon D

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.

Making bad better: Advancements in trawl fisheries research and mitigation
Organizers: Sarah Foster, Project Seahorse, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries; Amanda Vincent, Project Seahorse, UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries

  • ID: SY20
  • Time: August 3 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon E

This symposium aims to highlight advancements in our understanding of the impacts of trawl fisheries and how they can be better managed, seeking commonalities in process that can provide insight into how to better manage even the worst examples. One of the greatest challenges facing both fisheries management and marine conservation today is how to regulate and therefore reduce the impact of the world’s bottom trawl fisheries. Bottom trawling is a very common fishing practice in much of the world, providing (with dredging) about a quarter of the world’s fish catch and half of the invertebrates. Many of the world’s bottom trawl fisheries are far from well-managed, particularly in areas such as southeast Asia where they are sustained only by perverse subsidies. Making matters worse, many of the trawls are working to extract any and all life, without discretion or distinction. Solutions to this global problem seem untenable, but researchers have made considerable process in understanding the extent and impact of trawl fisheries, as well as approaches and methods for mitigating impact. This symposium will bring together these stories – on biomass fishing, trawl impacts on threatened species, as well as recent advancements in understanding impact and mitigation –seeking insight into how to improve practices in the rest of the world. 

Fisheries management in an era of climate change: A look at eastern North America
Organizers: Rebecca Goldburg, Pew Charitable Trusts

  • ID: SY70
  • Time: August 3 8:30-10:30am
  • Room: Salon F

Climate change challenges fisheries managers. Species ranges, carrying capacity, recruitment, and other population and marine community attributes are already shifting as water temperatures, oxygen levels, pH, and other physical ocean characteristics change. Moreover, traditional management methodologies may be inadequate; for example, traditional stock assessment methods assume that there are no long term trends in the physical environment. This symposium will examine the fisheries impacts of warming waters along the east coast of North America and consider current and potential management responses. Changes in ocean temperature vary from Canada and New England, where warming waters have had a marked impact, to the south Atlantic, which currently appears relatively unaffected. Speakers will discuss observed shifts in fisheries ranges and altered ecological interactions that appear to result from climate change, such as reduced prey availability for seabird predators. Presenters will also address management and policy approaches to sustain fisheries and fishing communities, such as ecosystem based fisheries management. The session will conclude with discussion of topics such high priority scientific questions, management dilemmas, and implications for both biodiversity and people. This symposium will contribute to the theme of making marine science matter, because it will consider the application of actionable marine science to climate adaptation in fisheries.

Science-based management of sustainable marine tourism in Southeast Asia
Organizers: T. Yeemin, Marine Science Association of Thailand; S.T. Vo, Institute of Oceanography Vietnam; C.L. Nanola, University of the Philippines Mindanao; M. Sutthacheep, Ramkhamhaeng University

  • ID: SY60
  • Time: August 3 11am-1pm
  • Room: Salon B

Southeast Asia (SEA) has high productive marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs, with their rich biodiversity providing great ecological services to coastal communities. Marine tourism is one of those valuable services that contributes economic benefits to the countries in this region. The marine tourism among SEA countries has been developing over the past decades in order to comply with growing demand of marine tourism. However, rapid development of marine tourism with improper management may cause severe negative impacts on marine ecosystem health and biodiversity. Besides, natural disturbances of global climatic change, such as elevated seawater temperature, also exacerbate those impacts. Since coastal tourism is strongly dependent upon the ecosystem health, maintaining the ecosystem services is greatly important to ensure sustainability of coastal tourism sector. Science plays an important role as a knowledge base to understand ecosystem and how to sustain their functions while collaborations help gather stakeholders to work harmoniously and enhance effective sustainable tourism management. In this symposium, scientists and managers working in SEA countries are gathered to present their recent insights from its management, monitoring and conservation focusing on coastal ecosystems and tourism. Several lessons learned from this region, including capacity enhancement for monitoring and research, community-based management, sustainable tourism will be highlighted.