Fisheries and coastal sciences are increasingly being challenged with applied problems that form the basis for resource management and regulatory decision-making. The systems of interest experience multiple stressors and often exhibit non-linear responses making intuitive-based predictions questionable. This leads to team science approaches and, because the consequences involve trade-offs, the involvement of a variety of stakeholders.
My focus is on the often neglected aspect of coupled human-natural systems – namely the social dynamics among the scientists and stakeholders involved. Working as a member of a multi- or inter-disciplinary team and interacting with stakeholders, sometimes in controversial situations and litigation, involves many types of inter-personal interactions. All of these social interactions are aided and complicated by technology, such as email, web sites, conference calls, webinars, public meetings, blogging, and visits.
I will discuss: group dynamics, disruptive knowledge, advocacy, communication, transparency, ethics, and trust. My focus is on practical steps we can take to ensure that the science is heard. There is an ever increasing need to consider the social aspects of us as scientists in order to safeguard and promote the important role science plays in bringing clarity and equity to complicated environmental situations; otherwise, emotion, beliefs, and self-interests will dominate the discussion.
Kenneth Rose, University of Maryland