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What has ICES done for you? Tara Marshall

Have you ever wondered how collaborating with ICES could affect your career? In the lead up to the 2019 Annual Science Conference, we ask scientists that became involved with ICES early in their careers the impact this has had.
Published: 28 August 2019

​​​​​​​Tara Marshall ​is a Senior lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

How did you first get involved with ICES?
While working at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, I became a member of ICES Arctic Fisheries Working Group ​(AFWG) in 1996. This expert group​ trained me in the basics of fish stock assessment which has served me very well since. Those meetings were always a crazy amount of work but we also squeezed in some fun. Each year, we used to have one AFWG nation organize a dinner night featuring national dishes, drinks, and music in the kitchen of the old ICES HQ. The composition of the AFWG allowed us to experience Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Canadian hospitality. One memorable year, the Spanish scientists borrowed skillets from a Spanish restaurant in Copenhagen to cook enough tortillas. That year I learned to cook tortillas from Lorenzo Motos which is a skill I use regularly. Good times.

What roles have you played within ICES?
In 2000, I joined the Working Group on Recruitment Processes (WGRP) which introduced me to many of the greats, scientists which I knew from the literature. It was fantastic to get to know them as people and exchange ideas. It really boosted my confidence to engage with them.

In 2001, Coby Needle and I began a study group, both serving as co-chairs (Study Group on Growth, Maturity and Condition in Stock Projections). Working on the terms of reference, I spent a 3-month sabbatical in Aberdeen which unexpectedly led me to a new job (as a lecturer at the University of Aberdeen). That gave insights about how to manage and administer a working group which is a very useful skill. 

Over the years, I have given talks at the ASC. 2012, 2013,​ and 2014 are the only years I can remember because I have ICES pen drives. I have also co-convened theme sessions. This year, I am presenting in Theme Session P on mixed fishery management
​ (Monday, 9 September 13:00 - 16:30 Room H1). Please come!  

In 2007, I attended the NAFO PICES ICES Joint Symposium Reproductive and Recruitment Processes of Exploited Marine Fish stocks in Lisbon, Portugal. That was a wonderful meeting in a beautiful city.

My PhD students regularly attend ICES meetings to present their results. This is a very valuable spur for them to get some exciting results pulled together for presentation and they always come back with useful feedback and motivation. I look forward to hearing their views about what exciting science was presented. My students have also attended a range of ICES training courses, normally at early stages of their studies. These are very practical, hands-on learning opportunities that are simply invaluable in skills development.

This year, we have submitted a proposal for a new expert group to ICES Science Committee (SCICOM). It is called the Working Group on Impacts of Warming on Growth Rates and Fisheries Yields and co-chaired by myself and colleagues from the US and Australia. Because climate warming is occurring globally, it takes a global consortium of scientists working together to synthesize knowledge. Consequently, we have proposed it as a joint ICES/PICES expert group (PICES is the North Pacific equivalent of ICES) so as to maximize the global reach of group membership.

How has being a member of ICES impacted on your career?
From a research perspective, the single biggest impact on my research has been ICES enabling the use of fish data via ​DATRAS, the on​line data portal which ICES maintains. I use this resource for both my teaching and research. My PhD students have used the data extensively and whenever they have questions, ICES Data officers are always very quick to respond to queries. The annual reports produced by the stock assessment working groups are also an unparalleled research resource that my research group uses regularly. Weekly, if not daily, I am on ICES website searching out data, reports, information, links, names etc.

ICES community has formed the backbone of many collaborative research projects throughout my career. My ICES colleagues are quick to respond to pleas for information, help, or data. I often think the experience of going to sea together on research vessel surveys inspires the willingness of marine scientists to support each other. A few leading ICES lights served as mentors along the way and I have been very grateful for their advice and support.

Why would you recommend becoming a member of this community?
Networking opportunities are so important - particularly at early stages. The narrative above illustrates how these networks are built through participation. ICES also gave me an entrée in to the world of expert knowledge and resources. Last, but not least, my involvement in ICES has introduced me to lifelong friends from around the world who have enriched my life immeasurably.


There are many ways to become involved with ICES:

In addition, each year, ICES organizes events for early career scientists​​ at our Annual Science Conference (ASC). ​


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​Tara Marshall, Senior lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.


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What has ICES done for you? Tara Marshall

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