Section Update: Marine

News from the SCB Marine Section

SCB Marine Small Grants Winners 2018 Announced

Each year, the Marine Section is pleased to offer grants to worthy conservation projects or research around the globe. The winners of the 2018 small grants round have been announced and include 14 projects located from Mexico to Cameroon, and examining subjects such as the management of sea turtle hatcheries, engaging communities for reef conservation, and data-hunting in recreational fishing tournament archives.

The full list of projects can be found here. We congratulate the recipients, and look forward to hearing updates as their projects progress!


We are hard at working and putting together a congress that will deliver the best marine conservation science, the most inspiring talks and workshops, and the most inclusive networking experience we can! The International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC), as you all know, has the theme “Making Marine Science Matter” – but we also know that it’s the people who share the science who really make the difference. That’s why we encourage non-scientists to attend - we hope all marine conservation advocates, be they policy makers, students, citizen scientists, NGOs, ecotourism operators or anyone who cares about the ocean, will attend and get involved! Check out the IMCC5 blog to see some guest posts from people who’ve benefited from attending – and don’t forget to tell your friends about it.

The general schedule for talks, workshops, symposia and focus groups has been released, and is available at the IMCC website. The call for abstracts is still open (until 16 March); registrations will open in the next few weeks.

Some of the exciting things going on at IMCC5 in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo this June -

International Marine Kids Congress (IMKC) – that’s right, for the first time, we’re running a kid’s congress alongside IMCC5 so parents can attend and their kids (age 7-14) can attend a mini-conference and learn about marine ecosystems! IMKC participants will include local youth from Sarawak as well as conference delegates’ children, and they can expect to visit a local ecosystem, help out at a local shore clean-up, and even carry out a small marine science research project. Here are some of the things participants can look forward to:

  • Melissa Marquez from The Fins United Initiative as plenary speaker
  • Lessons on the scientific method, student-led projects, and an IMKC poster session
  • Hand-on, STEM-based laboratory activities on estuaries, marine debris/plastics, and salinity
  • Activities with a local artist, centred around environmental awareness
  • Excursions that may include mangrove and dolphin-watching, Semenggoh Wildlife Center, and local-led city tour of Kuching
  • Beach/estuary clean up and trash inventory
  • Movie screening and discussion

If you want to know more about IMKC, check out the IMCC5 website, where you’ll also find contact information for our awesome organisers, who can help you with any further questions.

Make for the Planet Borneo - Got an ingenious idea to look after our oceans? Make for the Planet is an exciting team competition/hackathon to create hardware and/or software solutions to specific marine conservation challenges. Conservation X Labs will host up to 15 teams from Malaysia and surrounding countries to compete in Make for the Planet Borneo. Teams work to solve global conservation challenges through creative and transformative solutions that harness emerging science and technology, entrepreneurship, and design, and will have access to a pop-up makerspace with prototyping equipment, including 3D printers and electronics stations. A panel of judges will review physical/digital representations of their ocean solutions, and award cash prizes so teams can continue developing and improving their ideas. Team applications are open until April 1apply here.  More info

Oceans Online – a full day add-on to IMCC5, Oceans Online delves into strategies for communicating and engaging people for marine conservation, using internet tools. Oceans Online is a great opportunity for social media beginners, intermediate users, and experts to build networks, collaborate, and share stories about how we can Make Marine Science Matter to a new (and large!) online audience. The call for abstracts is open until 16 March – more information is on the website here.

Jairo Sandoval Moira Bravery Award 2018 - Jairo Mora was a young conservationist highly committed to protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica. In 2013, at the age of 26, he was brutally murdered by local poachers. The SCB Marine Jairo Mora Sandoval Award honours his commitment to marine conservation, and is given for bravery associated with an outstanding contribution to the field of marine conservation, with particular emphasis on responsible and educated scientific endeavour, public engagement and conservation activism. The recipient of the 2018 Award will be announced at IMCC5.

Meet our new science officer

The Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology is excited to welcome its new Science Officer! Dr. Leslie Cornick will start her three-year term of service this month.

Dr. Cornick is a vertebrate physiological ecologist who has worked primarily on marine mammals. Her research has focused on the physiological constraints on foraging behaviour, and how these animals are able to respond to anthropogenic changes in the environment by changing their foraging behavior. She did her doctoral research in Alaska, and then an NSF Post Doctoral Fellowship studying Weddell seals in Antarctica. She was a professor of Marine Biology, Policy, and Statistics and Director of the Marine Physiological Ecology Laboratory for 13 years at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, where she worked primarily on research aimed at conserving the endangered population of Cook Inlet beluga whales. She continues to collaborate with colleagues in Alaska and internationally to understand the impacts of climate change on access to subsistence marine resources in indigenous communities; she is currently co-editing a special issue on this topic for Frontiers in Marine Science. Leslie has also been a Senior Policy Fellow for the Marine Conservation Institute, and serves on the Science Council for the GLORES project, which incentivizes exceptional Marine Protected Areas to achieve the goal of 30% ocean protection worldwide by 2030. She has served previously on the Marine Section Board as Member-at-Large and Policy Officer, and is excited to serve again. This is a critical time in marine conservation, with skepticism of science at an all-time high, and setbacks in marine protection policy in the US. Leslie is committed to working with the Science Committee and Section members across the globe to ensure that science remains at the forefront of marine conservation.

You can find out more about Dr Cornick and her work here: