Symposium publication deadline extended to 31 October, click here for further details
Humans are integral components of social-ecological systems. Such systems have marine (including physical-biological sub-systems) and human (including cultural, management, economic, and socio-political sub-systems) components which are highly inter-connected and interactive. The recent 4th Assessment Reports of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identified a number of climate-related changes that are very likely to occur to marine systems in the near future. In addition, global changes are taking place in human systems which impact the oceans, including intensive fishing and globalisation of trade. The IPCC report identifies the need to make social-ecological systems more resilient by building "adaptive capacity". This is an issue on which both natural and social scientists can contribute, for example by identifying the essential characteristics of such systems and relevant approaches to building such capacity. Marine ecosystem changes have impacts on, and consequences for, the human communities that depend on these systems, and how these human communities respond to these changes can have reciprocal impacts on marine ecosystems. However, "natural" marine ecosystems are usually studied independently from their human components, and by different scientific disciplines with largely different scientific traditions ("natural" scientists; "social"` scientists and humanists). Understanding the important issues and collaborating with other disciplines is essential for correctly interpreting the causes and dealing with the consequences of global changes in marine social-ecological systems.
Difficulties in developing understanding and collaboration between natural scientists, social scientists, and knowledge users on issues of global change in marine social-ecological systems include a lack of clarity on the underlying conceptual issues of marine and human community interactions, poor appreciation of the process of knowledge transfer from science to society, and a lack of opportunity to meet and discuss these issues. By “global change” we include climate change, but also resource over-exploitation, competing uses of the marine environment, changing lifestyles, and globalisation of trade and economies. While the focus is on climate and environmental change, how these interact with other global changes are important considerations.
The central goals of the symposium are to share experiences across disciplines and to identify key next steps and common elements and approaches that promote resilience of marine social-ecological systems in the face of global changes. This involves:
- exploring conceptual issues relating to social-ecological responses in marine systems to global changes;
- analysing case studies of specific examples of social-ecological responses in marine systems to significant environmental changes manifested locally;
- synthesising the work of natural and social scientists and building comparisons of social-ecological responses in marine ecosystems subjected to major environmental variability;
- developing innovative approaches to the use of science and knowledge in management, policy and advice;
- identifying lessons for governance for building resilient social-ecological systems.
Recently added information to the symposium website:
Symposium publication (5 September)
Symposium presentations and posters (5 August)
Participant list (17 July)
Symposium press release (10 July)
Draft schedule and abstracts (last update 13 June).
Information for participants