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Congress Workshops

All pre-congress workshops will be held at the Waterfront Hotel Kuching on Friday June 22 and/or Saturday June 23, 2018. All short courses require pre-booking during IMCC5 registration process. These courses will have limited capacity so please book early (announcement forthcoming with registration date).


Accepted Workshops for IMCC5

The following workshops have been accepted for IMCC5. Specific dates, times, locations, and numbers of participants will be made available shortly, so stay tuned for updates!

Title: Finding and Communicating the Human Dimensions of your Marine Conservation Research or Project

Organizer(s): Dr. Kelly Biedenweg, Dr. Ana Spalding, Ms. Heather Mannix

The conservation of marine systems requires attention to the social component, often called the human dimension.  The ubiquity of use of the term, however, usually hides what we really mean. This workshop will incorporate two separate sessions.  The first portion of the workshop will help biophysical scientists, conservation professionals, and students identify and develop the "human dimensions" of their research or program.  Building from a successful training for OSU graduate students, we categorize the human dimensions into three categories: Social Research, Arts & Humanities, and Application (communication, education and management).  All participants will rotate through facilitated workgroups in each of the three categories, exploring best practices and innovative applications of the three types of human dimensions, and developing a prototype for integrating each type of human dimension into an existing project of their choice.

The second half of the workshop will facilitate the communication of human dimensions components to marine conservation.  While all scientists need to practice effectively communicating their message, the marine social sciences and human component are particularly problematic for many professionals to frame in meaningful ways.  Using COMPASS's proven tools and frameworks, workshop participants will learn how to identify their audience, frame, and deliver their human dimensions message. Through hands-on activities and small group feedback, participants in this workshop will leave with a better understanding of how to identify, incorporate, and communicate human dimensions in their research.  


Title: Hacking for Conservation - Make for the Planet pre-conference workshop

Organizer(s): Dr. Barbara Martinez

We are in the middle of a period of extraordinary change on the planet, a sixth great mass extinction. This is happening, even as we have been successful in creating new enclaves to protect species at exponential rates.  These challenges will increase as billions emerge into middle class placing new demands on the planet, exacerbated by climate change.  While traditional conservation science can define the problems, it does not possess all the solutions. We need new solutions, disciplines, and solvers engaged in conservation as powerful new tools for conservation exist in adjacent fields.  One way to achieve this is by harnessing the power of exponential technologies, open innovation, and entrepreneurship to transform the efficacy and scale of conservation efforts.     

This workshop will offer participants a boot camp in design thinking and technology development for solving the grand challenges in conservation.  It will also teach core skills for product development for conservation technology that can dramatically affect the speed, scale, and sustainability of such efforts. The workshop participants will include the registered Make for the Planet teams as well as IMCC5 delegates interested in designing scalable solutions for conservation.  Following design thinking methods and activities, the teams will work through challenge statements to define a set of problems, brainstorm a set of solutions, consider design factors, iterate on ideas, and understand the most effective processes to move from idea to innovation, and innovation to social enterprise to scale for conservation impact.


Title: Tales from the Sea: developing and sharing your science and conservation story

Organizer(s): Dr. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Dr. Stephanie Green, Ms. Heather Mannix

We are excited to offer the third iteration of this popular workshop and add to the growing video library of stories told by IMCC participants. Marine conservation scientists are witnessing first-hand how the ocean is changing. Storytelling is a powerful tool to share these experiences in a way that reaches diverse audiences and opens the door to understanding and action. During this workshop, participants will learn key elements of storytelling and use these elements to craft powerful stories to share their conservation science experience with non-scientists. This 2-day workshop involves: 1) identifying a clear conservation science message, 2) developing an engaging story for public audiences, and 3) the option of telling the story in a public forum. Part 1 will help participants distill their work into a clear and succinct message. Part 2 will help participants share their messages in a complete and compelling story. Participants will take part in a combination of group exercises, live and video demonstrations, and one-on-one story development with organizers. By the end of the workshop, each participant will have developed an engaging telling of their conservation science story. Participants will then have the opportunity to tell their story to a public audience at a live event during the conference. The participants' conservation stories will be recorded and hosted online as part of a new legacy project co-hosted by the Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section (https://conbio.org/groups/sections/marine/stories/). This growing archive of stories is a living library of first-hand experiences from the frontlines of ocean conservation. 


Title: Indo-Pacific Seagrass Network (IPSN): Assessing the value of seagrass for supporting livelihoods and food supply across the Indo-Pacific: A focus on gleaning.

Organizer(s): Mr. Benjamin Jones, Dr. Leanne Cullen-unsworth, Dr. Richard Unsworth, Dr. Lina Mtwana Nordlund, Dr. Johan Eklöf

During this workshop we will launch the Indo-Pacific Seagrass Network (IPSN) a collaborative research network, with the overall aim to build capacity, foster learning exchange and conduct collaborative research on seagrass and their associated fisheries across the Indo-Pacific. We are inviting researchers, practitioners and resource users, interested in working with seagrass and associated fisheries in the Indo-Pacific, to this workshop and to become members of IPSN. Seagrasses are important fishing grounds, used by men, women and children, targeting a wide range of species. The first year’s theme within IPSN is “seagrass gleaning”, in other words fishing/collecting invertebrates or fish with no or very basic gear in water where it is possible to stand.

This workshop will consist of two parts. Part 1 includes an introduction to IPSN, discussion on working within the network, and an introduction to the gleaning research protocol. Part 2 will focus on refining and practicing the research protocol for the first year’s theme - gleaning, to enable replicated data gathering across sites. Year 1 fieldwork is expected to be conducted between July 2018 and June 2019. The structure of the collaborative network (IPSN) is such that each contributing team will own their own data, but the data will also be shared within the network to allow for larger-scale analysis. Each site is encouraged (and will be supported though the IPSN mentor program) to publish its collected data and share it with local and national fisheries and environmental authorities


Title: Proactive science based planning for emerging marine uses: guidance on marine mammal protection and marine renewable energy suitability and siting

Organizer(s): Ms. Anne Nelson, Dr. Tundi Agardy, Ms. Lauren Wenzel

This workshop intends to provide guidance to those working on MPAs or marine spatial planning. Increasingly marine practitioners are looking to increase connectivity of marine protected areas and corridors to strengthen MPA networks and climate refugia. Simultaneously, practitioners are required to determine suitability for emerging marine technologies, including marine renewable energy, in relation to their protected resources and management plans. Some marine renewable energy technologies are still experimental and potential impacts can be difficult to assess.

MPA managers often must weigh placement of these technologies in areas where understanding of their resources, often notably marine mammals, is insufficient or unknown, thus rendering avoidance of risk a formidable challenge for managers with limited staff and funding capacity. We will provide precautionary guidance to support science-based decision making in data deficient areas and how to develop  proactive partnerships to minimize impacts to marine fauna and focus on protection of connectivity and ecosystem function with a focus on protecting marine mammals as umbrella for protecting food webs.

This guidance may also be applied to other types of marine uses and can be used as a framework for minimizing impacts to other protected marine resources. In the multi-faceted two-part workshop, participants will gain information on:

  • latest marine renewable energy technologies
  • considerations for siting suitability
  • best practices from around the world for MPAs, connectivity and proactive research
  • guidance to support decision making which participants can use in their own regions


Title: Communicating your Science & Becoming an Agent of Change

Organizer(s): Ms. Heather Mannix

Conservation scientists have a tremendous amount to contribute to solving today's most pressing problems. As both the need and the opportunities to communicate scientific information to different audiences increase, it can be difficult for scientists to know exactly how and where to engage most effectively. Grounded in the latest research on science communication, this two-part, hands-on workshop is designed to help scientists build their communication skills, understand paths to engagement and make their science matter to the audiences they most want to reach. Participants may take either Part I, Part II or both.

In Part I, "Communicating your Science," participants will learn to share what they do, what they know - and most importantly, why it matters - in clear, lively terms, using a tool called the Message Box. Participants will be introduced tools and strategies to help you communicate and distill what you know and why it matters for different audiences. This workshop will involve hands-on practice, feedback and an interactive exercise practicing your "elevator pitch."

In Part II "Becoming an Agent of Change," participants will learn the components of successful science engagement, and explore their own avenues to engagement. They will receive an introduction to, and practice with, tools and frameworks for developing a personal plan for bringing about change through their work. Previous experience with the Message Box is recommended for this workshop.


Title: The Art of Communication: PechaKucha (PK) in the Spotlight

Organizer(s): Dr. Maria Campbell, Dr. Andrew Johnson, Mr. Mike Mutschler

The ability to deliver engaging oral presentations is a critical skill for anybody involved in ocean sciences, conservancy and industry. The nature of the long format scientific presentation at conferences creates a lot of space for procrastination, time spent on extraneous details, thus diluting the important message. The need to become more effective communicators, both in dealing with our peers and the general public, has led to the use of a variety of different presentation styles. PechaKucha (PK) events are multiple-speaker events where all presenters use this concise and fast-paced format. PK's are generally dynamic, with audiences fully engaged and interacting with the speakers throughout.  IMCC has convened workshops on how to communicate science more effectively, but has never before actively challenged scientists by creating a workshop like this. A total of 12 presenters will be chosen and with their presentations submitted in advance, each has a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds to talk about their chosen subject. This short format does not allow superfluous slides with lots of written information, meaning time is spent on delivering the message as opposed to introducing the topic. Key to this presentation style is asking oneself ‘What is my story? How can I present my story in the most concise way to a general audience? What language? What imagery do I use?’ considering they will be presenting quickly and to a wide audience from varying backgrounds.


Title: Conservation communication: building effective and productive relationships with science communicators and the media.

Organizer(s): Ms. Katie Walters, Mr. Matt Tietbohl, Mr. Josh Silberg, Mr. Jesse Hawley

The importance of science communication has been known for decades, but communication needs to be effective to be successful. Some scientists don’t have the time, skill or inclination to be “science communicators” as well. This workshop will ask the professional “intermediaries” – journalists or professional science-communicators – what their role entails, and how scientists can work with them to spread the right messages in the right place, to achieve marine conservation goals. Science communication professionals, journalists, editors, and communication-savvy scientists will speak on the importance of understanding and selecting the right outlet for your marine conservation message. Long-form, short-form, interviews, podcasts, narrative and illustrative storytelling – what works, where does it work, and why? 

The workshop will also address framing a message, building relationships with media and publications, and give tips for working with the media (antagonistic and friendly). The workshop will end with a panel discussion on common interview pitfalls, as well as a question-and-answer session.


Title: Talking the talk – giving effective and engaging presentations to diverse audiences

Organizer(s): Prof. Chris Parsons, Ms. Katie Walters

This workshop, aimed at students and those who need public speaking experience, will give participants tips and advice on giving presentations to various audiences, including science conferences, corporate and government agencies, and the general public. Advice will be given on tricks to calm the nerves, how to edit and organize your slides and talk, what aspects to focus on and tailoring presentations for different audiences. We will also go over helpful suggestions on public speaking and having a confident “stage” presence. Participants who are presenting at IMCC5 will get the chance to practice giving their presentations during the workshop, and will get feedback on visuals and the oral presentation from the organisers, peers and members of the SCB Communications and IMCC5 Organising Committees in a safe and supportive environment.


Title: Using social media to make your marine science matter

Organizer(s): Dr. David Shiffman, Ms. Ting-Chun Kuo, Ms. Katie Walters

If used effectively, social media can be rewarding and informative for scientists and conservation professionals. Social media is a significant means of communication for the general public, organisations and agencies. In fact, recent polls have shown that internet-savvy adults (and children) get a substantial portion of their news via social media and the web. Social media campaigns can take advantage of built-in audiences and the ease with which those people can share and promote your message, increasing the reach of your outreach. Social media and internet resources can also be used effectively for data collection and citizen science campaigns. We will discuss the importance of conservation communication and having an online and social media presence. We will also give how-tos and tips on successfully using various online tools and social media outlets. We will walk participants through setting up accounts with different social media outlets, the benefits of each and tips on successfully utilising each outlet. We will help each participant set up desired accounts for themselves or their organisations – including Twitter, FaceBook, Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress, Periscope, Storify, etc. – they can begin using during IMCC5.


Title: Bringing resilience to the classroom

Organizer(s): Dr. Jennifer Selgrath

So you want to teach about resilience, but are not sure where to start? Come to this dynamic introduction to teaching social-ecological resilience in the classroom. The workshop will be based around the lesson "Regime shifts and spatial resilience in a coral reef seascape" from the new edition of Learning Landscape Ecology.  It’s an interactive lesson and useful for people who are interested in teaching this complex idea to upper level undergraduate and graduate students. The lab investigates how social and ecological factors influence resilience across scales using simple nested models and maps within Excel. We’ll talk through useful introductory points and do a quick run through of how calculations in the spreadsheets work. Participants will be given supporting teaching materials and resources. There will also be time for participants to discuss ideas, experiences, and opportunities for making resilience of social-ecological systems come alive in the classroom. Laptops will be needed. 


Title: So you want to be a Conference Organizer? An introduction to managing conferences.

Organizer(s): Mr. Travis Nielsen

Conferences are one of the most utilized methods of bringing academic groups together for the purpose of sharing knowledge on their research. For many scientists these are highlights of their year and can involve research, networking, socializing, the chance to visit a new place, and a lot of fun. In an academic professional’s career, the opportunity to organize a conference will likely come up. Organizing a conference is a prestigious thing to have on your CV, and it can lead to unique networking opportunities that regular delegates cannot access. However, for most academics, the work and details that go into organizing a conference is poorly understood, and without due diligence and a lot of work, can lead to many serious challenges. The goal of this workshop is to provide conservation academics and professionals that are interested in organizing conferences some insight into the workload of organizing a conference, and to demonstrate a series of helpful methods and tools to make sure the experience is productive and enjoyable. Topics that will be covered include:

  • Organizing a conference committee and managing expectations.
  • Setting up an event plan.
  • High, and low level scheduling.
  • Setting up a call for proposals.
  • Negotiating, costing and hiring.
  • Communicating with service providers.
  • Communication with delegates.
  • Pricing and setting fees.
  • Submission/Registration systems.
  • Managing tasks and volunteers.
  • Providing customer service for delegates.


Title:  The Art of Knowledge Exchange

Organizer(s):  Philip Karp

As in other fields, there is a growing recognition within the marine science and conservation community of the power of practitioner-practitioner exchange.  Whether they take the form of “barefoot” exchanges between fishers, or more formal exchanges involving researchers, MPA managers or policymakers, such exchanges are emerging as an effective way of sharing, replicating, adapting and scaling up successful solutions to the challenges of marine protection.  Practitioner exchanges are particularly effective for sharing “how to” knowledge about solutions, as these “tips and tricks” tend not to be codified or recorded in written descriptions and case studies.  

Practitioner exchange represents a departure from traditional approaches to capacity building wherein external experts are relied on to share successful solutions with which they are familiar only through research, and may therefore lack a complete understanding of the full range of factors that underlie success or of the pitfalls to be avoided.

While knowledge exchange is an effective form of capacity building, good design can spell the difference between achievement of intended results and waste of resources on expensive study tours and other exchanges that are little more than development tourism.  This workshop will introduce participants to a practical, step-by-step approach to design and execution of results-focused knowledge exchange programs. Using a knowledge exchange case on MPA management developed by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, participants will take a hands-on approach to objective setting, identification of knowledge gaps, participant selection, identification of knowledge providers, selection of appropriate knowledge exchange modalities, and monitoring and measurement of results.