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To Korea for the early careers

The third instalment of the quinquennial ICES and PICES conference for early career scientists was held in Korea at the end of May. Here, the members of the steering committee provide their experience of the event.
Published: 11 July 2017

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​By Antje Gimpel ​(Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries, Germany) and Maija Viška (Latvian Institute Aquatic Ecology), members of the ECSC 2017 scientific steering committee, which also included Tae-Wook Kim (Incheon National University, Korea), Haruka Takagi (University of Tokyo, Japan), Allan Hicks (International Pacific Halibut Commission, USA) and Daniel van Denderen (DTU Aqua​, Denmark).

"Climate, Oceans and Society: Challenges and Opportunities" – The topic of the 3rd ICES/PICES Early Career Scientist Conference 2017 (ECSC17), which was held from 30 May – 2 June in Busan, Korea, reflects current and future issues being dealt with by research and management institutions from around the globe.

More than 100 early career scientists from 30 countries attended the conference, where the aim was to encourage the participation of young scientists in international scientific investigations and to promote their involvement in the management and stewardship of the marine environment as well as in the North Pacific marine Science Organization (PICES) and ICES. At the opening ceremony ICES Head of Science Support Wojciech Wawrzynski, who co-convened alongside PICES Deputy Executive Secretary Hal Batchelder, emphasized the networking aspect of the conference. "This conference is bringing together people with different backgrounds. Let us learn from each other and create friendships and cooperation. Let the science inspire you!" Putting these words into action, 87 oral presentations and 26 posters were presented over the four days.

This year's main theme sessions were patterns and processes in the marine ecosystem, anthropogenic effects on the marine environment, and climate effects on physical, chemical, and biological processes. Studies described tools and models for understanding patterns such as biodiversity hotspots, the dynamics of populations and communities, and fundamental processes in marine ecology and oceanography, while being of direct relevance for managing marine populations and determining human impacts.

The key question of how to adapt to ecosystem-based management (EBM) while accounting for the direct and indirect effects of human uses was also approached. Methods to facilitate communication and decision-making while improving the law-science-interface were also of particular interest. Additionally, topics dealing with climate effects such as sea ice melting, sea surface temperature rise, and ocean acidification its effects on coral reefs were also discussed, including wave modeling and estimations of coastline changes.

Plenary keynote lectures were given by Dr. Suam Kim (PICES/Korea) on "Fish and fisheries in a changing environment" and by Dr. Shin-ichi Ito (PICES/Japan) on "Challenges and advances in understanding marine ecosystems and projecting oceans futures". Another talk on ​"Marine science and social media" by Alejandra Bize and Simon Cooper (ICES) gave further food for thought and nailed the daily challenges young researchers are confronted with in international scientific communities: How to present yourself and your work to an international audience? And how to get heard?

Wider opportunities​

The conference also provided networking opportunities for participants while enjoying communal meals, poster sessions, and an afternoon offsite excursion to the Yeong Island, the National Maritime Museum, and the Taejongdae natural park. ​​The fascinating ECSC 2017 venue, the amazing Korean food and becoming acquainted with the Korean culture, and the unrivalled Karaoke experience aside from the official programme, led to connections which extended beyond the science. Cornelius Hammer, president of ICES, emphasized this by giving us the advice to create our own, personal networks after the conference and to maintain the relationships we had formed. Moreover, he invited all young scientists to get involved in PICES and ICES working groups and become part of the international network – and therefore part of the families of the two organizations.

We, the scientific steering committee, hope the participants will use the feedback they obtained, actively take part in the large network of the PICES and ICES communities and reinforce their voice through the two organizations' channels –​ working together on the challenges and opportunities of the future. ​​​

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To Korea for the early careers

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