So I guess this is the day, I launch into the lab blog! First let me introduce myself. My name is Sigrid, I am a post-doc freshly arrived in the lab last February (so "fresh" refers more to the weather at the time than to the duration of my stay). I am a modeler, defended my phD last November dealing with the assessment of impacts of marine protected areas on the anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay. I am currently working on the interaction between herring and lobster in the Gulf of Maine. Last thing you need to know and you may have already noticed, I am French, so please forgive my potential mistakes in English. Voila! Everything's said, we can go.
I guess it's good form to start with a copepod joke...
OK copepod joke: done
More seriously, I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle
last week to attend the 141th conference of the American Fisheries Society
titled "New frontiers in fisheries management and ecology: leading the way in a
changing world". This was an exciting event I wanted to share: 4 days, 94
symposia and about 4000 participants among them some of the most famous
fisheries scientists, I felt in the Hollywood of fishery science! Consequently
the organization comity was forced to move the plenary sessions to the
Paramount Theater, a magnificent performing arts venue built in 1929 and that
hosted famous names such as Madonna for her first concert and of course the best of the Seattle grunge stage such as Soundgarden and Nirvana.
There was thus a big pressure on the plenary speakers who certainly made it by reminding us how Fisheries science rocks! The essence of the talks pretty much fits GMRI's vision, see yourself:
Dr. Randall Peterman from British Columbia's Simon Fraser University gave a talk titled An optimistic view of challenges facing fisheries scientists and managers. He emphasized the need for multidisciplinary approaches (from ecologists to social scientists) to address the complex interactions between human and natural systems. He also pointed out the necessary communication between scientists and managers that would require the acquisition of new skills on both sides to address the question of risk assessment and risk management conjointly. He listed his reasons to be optimistic concerning the future of fisheries, among others, the rising development of certification and sustainable seafood labels, the increasing inclusion of uncertainty at every levels of the management decision process, and the potential represented by young scientists increasingly trained in all aspects of the field (ecology, physics, economics, communication, quantitative methods).
Dr. Robert Lackey retired from Oregon State University then dissected the underlying implications of this 141th AFS conference theme: leading the way in a changing world. He stressed the necessity to look forward to the problems that fisheries will face in the next years giving the important changes we experience and will experience in climate and economics. He said that "there is no "good all days" and there won't be any in the future". He discussed the role of scientists in management decision accenting their duty of neutrality and the risk of scientist corruption. He finished by emphasizing the need to "reject pessimism and optimism and embrace realism!".
Finally Dr. Jesse Trushenski from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale gave a metaphoric talk titled The Ecology of Fisheries Education -- Are We Adequately Preparing the Next Cohorts for a Field in Flux? cleverly transposing ecological concepts to principles in the education of young scientists. She stressed the need for specialized generalists able to adapt quickly especially to work with imperfect data. She also emphasized the need to keep students connected to the field, ready to "get dirty! " and to recognize than science is "half brain, half gut! ". She promoted the development of a balanced r/K strategy as a parallel with selection theories that would produce high quality students, in reasonable number given the limited professional opportunities but with good adaptive skills to face the rapid changes experienced in our field.
To get some taste of the best I grabbed from the symposia, have a look at the figure below. Aside from the conference I get the chance to see fish flying... at pike place market, chipmunks eating grapes on the sides of Mont Rainier and marine scientists excited about touching sea urchins and starfish at Seattle Aquarium touch tank!