Author: Shannon Boyle
The first of many project presentations came right at the halfway point of the summer at the NOAA IRC Intern Symposium. With some pre-presentation jitters, we took the stage and for the next 45 minutes talked about all that we had accomplished this summer. After the presentation, we were met with praise and congratulations from our teams about the mountains of data we had been able to analyze in such a short period of time. Although a surprising amount of work is done, the amount left to do is even more surprising. Outlining a timeline for the overview report, our primary deliverable, with a deadline of early-November definitely left us with a few bricks on our shoulders, but the prospect of having a hard copy of our report in hand by the time we graduate is the steam we need to power through.
With just under a month left in Honolulu, as we sit here toiling away with GIS and R attending endless meetings, I’ve been looking back at some highlights passed, and am looking forward to some still to come. By pure happenstance, this summer in Honolulu is framed by two events that embody our program, our goals, our project, and our future as budding environmentalists attempting to bridge science and management.
In mid-June, Honolulu held the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) where over 3000 coral-reef-minded scientists, social scientists, economists, managers, activists and the like gathered en masse to listen, learn, and lecture on all things coral reef. I got a chance to attend the last few days of the conference and immerse myself in the coral reef world. Suddenly I found myself amongst almost every superstar scientist I had ever heard of: Hugh Possingham (The Nature Conservancy, also the creator of MARXAN, the number one spatial planning program in the world), Peter Kareiva (of the Kareiva Camp), our very own Ben Halpern, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Jeremy Jackson; the list goes on and on.
The next batch of superstars is yet to come but is going to be just as memorable. To list a few: Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, E.O. Wilson, the president of Conservation International, the president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, Thomas Lovejoy, Thomas Friedman. In September, this group of luminaries along with countless others will also be gathering in Honolulu for the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC). In an appropriate conclusion to this illuminating summer, we’ll be attending the WCC as volunteers and enthusiastic conservationists.
It’s no longer enough to just state “these results are potentially important for informing fisheries management” in a peer-reviewed paper. The general anxiety about the state of the world is bringing people together as a community to push for a more interdisciplinary focus with enhanced communication between sectors and better interpretation of effective scientific findings. Interestingly enough, “Bridging Science to Management” was the theme of ICRS this year, a veritable call-to-arms to get everyone thinking about their role in the complex system of decision making. Our project is similarly titled and we hope to effectively bridge science and management in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.