Monday, October 28, 2013

CHANS lab well represented at North Pacific Marine Science meeting

I have been attending meetings of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) for over 10 years. The week-long meetings have always been the definitive place to hear about cutting edge physical and biological oceanographic studies of the North Pacific, and the influence of these physical and lower-trophic level effects on important marine species including marine mammals, birds, and commercial fishes.

However in recent years, thanks to the objectives of the overarching FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses to North Pacific Marine Ecosystems) program and its focus on engagement, the PICES community has successfully broadened the types of science represented. It now includes a substantive human components section, as well as quality science on how multiple impacts may influence coastal communities, and the latest approaches to ocean monitoring. All told, the meeting now presents a stimulating, vertically integrated buffet of science from physical oceanography all the way up to human values.

At this year's meeting, held in Nanaimo, BC, CHANS lab was well represented in a number of these themes. I was pleased to have an opportunity to give a plenary talk on the opening day of the conference describing some key aspects of my thesis work related to model uncertainty. Kai's talks were the highlight of the human dimensions session, where he described our British Columbia Coastal Ecosystem Services project, and his work with NCEAS on integrating cultural values into decision making. The value of expert knowledge was addressed by our associate Stephen Ban, who explored the use of a Bayesian Belief Network to assess climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef. Our lab was also well represented in the cumulative impacts session, with post-doc Cathryn Clarke Murray doing a bang-up job on a method for assessing direct and indirect risk from human activities (she was awarded best presentation in the Marine Environmental Quality Sessions!), and by former post-doc Rebecca Martone (now at Center for Ocean Solutions) presenting some critical work on ground-truthing predictive models of cumulative impacts.

All in all, it was a great week for getting some of the cutting-edge work underway here at CHANS lab out there, and for us to get a taste of what is going on elsewhere around the North Pacific. You can search for our abstracts (or browse the entire abstract book!) here. Who knows - you might find the science as interesting as we do, and join us at the next annual meeting!

Edward Gregr