Hello Friends and Colleagues,
As I write you today, I am still getting my “land legs” after having the distinct pleasure of joining an international team of students and other colleagues for a leg of an offshore research cruise. Our goal was simple, to enhance our understanding of the abundance, distribution and behavior of cetaceans off the continental shelf. But the logistical requirements of such an endeavor were anything but simple! From the years-long planning; to the competencies of the crew, honed and developed over collective decades; to the purpose-built vessel that safely plied the winter, and sometimes downright angry, Atlantic waters; to the diversity of technologies onboard including those to detect individual whales that we would never see; to the tags that offer us unparalleled insights into the lives of these divers. All had to work.
This wonderful adventure reminded me that members of our community are every day working across the globe, in a diversity of environments and often under difficult conditions, to carry out critical research on marine mammals. From the poles to the equator, from the pelagic to the riverine, from the sea surface to the abyss, from the Eocene to the Anthropocene, and from the outside to the inside of our species, our colleagues are discovering how marine mammals work in their diverse environments. This information always adds to our understanding of the biological world and is often absolutely required to inform wise management and conservation actions to help preserve marine mammal biodiversity.
Our strength as a Society relies upon the dedication and hard work of its members. So, thank you all.
Things have been busy within the Society lately! A few highlights – congratulations to our Emily B. Shane Awards winners! The Education Committee and the sub-Committee on Diversity and Inclusion have filled their ranks and are ready to carry out their important work. The World Marine Mammal Conference team has been working diligently (an understatement, really!), and you will soon be asked to submit your abstracts and workshop proposals to ensure that we have the finest scientific program possible. You are being asked to vote on three measures that will strengthen our community – to support our student members, to enhance our ability to recognize the accomplishments of many of our colleagues, and to honor the lifetime achievements of two senior scientists. And your journal is getting a new look, including options for its cover design, upon which you will be asked to vote!
So, a lot is going on! And as always, I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or ideas that will continue to enhance our work together.
My very best wishes to you all!
D. Ann Pabst
Saturday, 18 May, will involve a full day of student oral and poster presentations, followed by a group dinner. On Sunday, 19 May, there will be an optional fun outing [TBD].
YAQU PACHA, an organization that promotes aquatic mammal protection, conservation, and research in South America and sponsors LAJAM (Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals), has generously offered SOLAMAC (the Latin American Society of Specialists in Aquatic Mammals) two travel grants to assist students attending the 2nd World Marine Mammal Science Conference/23rd Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.
The conference will take place at the International Convention Centre of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, on December 9-12th, 2019.
This meeting will be hosted jointly by the Society for Marine Mammalogy and the European Cetacean Society, together with the active involvement of SOLAMAC, effectively bringing together experts in the field from every continent. The gathering of interdisciplinary scientists will enable discussion amongst the marine mammal research community and policy makers, and will facilitate collaboration and training of the next generation of scientists and practitioners.
Travel grant eligibility
To be eligible for one of the grants, an applicant must:
– Submit a manuscript as first author to LAJAM by March 31, 2019. Late applications will not be accepted. The manuscript will have to be accepted to be considered for one of the grants.
– Attach a certificate showing that he/she is enrolled as a student (graduate or undergraduate level) at the time of submission.
– Indicate in the cover letter of the manuscript that he/she meet the above criteria and would like to be considered for the scholarship.
What does the travel grant cover?
Each grant will cover airfare, accommodation, and registration to the upcoming World Marine Mammal Conference for the student author of the best two manuscripts accepted for publication in LAJAM´s first issue of 2019.
An independent panel of experts will be appointed by LAJAM’s Editor-in-Chief to evaluate all manuscripts submitted by eligible students to LAJAM, and will deliver their results by the end of June 2019. The decision of the panel will be unappealable.
Manuscripts will be judged by the originality of the research, the quality of manuscript, and the potential impact of the study on the conservation of aquatic mammals in Latin America.
Questions regarding this travel grants should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Good Colleagues!
It has been a busy few months for the Society, and I would like to highlight just a few of these events here.
To begin, please join me in welcoming Dr. Mridula Srinivasan as our new Chair of the Education Committee. Mridula is a very active member of the SMM and helped lead the Women in Marine Mammal Science (WIMMS) Workshop in Halifax. She has worked globally to promote marine mammal science and will bring her commitment to building inclusive communities to her new role. I also wish to thank all the fine individuals who stated their interest in this position – we are very fortunate to have dedicated and passionate colleagues willing to serve our Society.
On November 10-11, we held our interim SMM Board meeting in Barcelona, which included a joint meeting with the Council of the European Cetacean Society (ECS), to discuss and plan for the World Marine Mammal Conference (WMMC). Manel Gazo and Carla Alvarez Chicote, the WMMC Co-Chairs, were our gracious hosts. Many thoughts about the Conference come to mind at once! Our host city of Barcelona is as beautiful, historically-rich, and friendly as you have heard, and Carla and Manel are working very hard to ensure that you will have an opportunity to learn more about, and visit parts of, their city during the Conference. The site of the WMMC, the Barcelona International Convention Center (CCIB), is a world-class facility on the waterfront, which will provide us beautiful and extremely functional space for all our events. The Scientific Co-Chairs, Joan Gonzalvo and Frances Gulland, are developing an exciting program befitting a World Conference, and the Student Organizing Committee, Serena Lagorio and Rebecca Boys (ECS) and Courtney Smith and Raquel García Vernet (SMM) are planning a multitude of science and social events for the student attendees! In addition, there is a small army of dedicated folks who will be working virtually non-stop from now until December 2019 to ensure that the WMMC is a truly global and impactful meeting, and one that you will not want to miss!
In Barcelona, the Board also carried out regular business for our Society. Our focus was to consider how we could best continue to support the work of our colleagues to carry out high quality marine mammal research (especially that with a conservation focus) and how we could help our Society enhance its diversity, inclusiveness, and sense of community. An important outcome of this meeting was the development of a Diversity and Inclusion Statement, now posted to our website with our Mission and Objectives. We must, as a Society, live up to this statement, as our strength and ability to achieve our goals relies utterly upon our being as welcoming and inclusive a community as possible. To help us move forward with these efforts, I hope you all participated in our diversity and inclusion survey before the December 16th deadline.
I also wish to let you know that you will be asked to vote in early 2019 on two important topics. The first will be a re-definition of the Student Membership category to increase the length of time that a student is eligible for that status. The proposal will define a student as “any person who is actively enrolled in, or within one year of their graduation from, a degree-granting program at an institution of higher learning.” We hope that this change will make it easier for students, who represent the future of our Society, to maintain their active membership as they transition to their next life step. The second vote will be to bestow Honorary Membership to two of our colleagues, to recognize their exceptional contributions to marine mammal science. We look forward to bringing you these votes in early 2019.
In closing, as we look ahead to the new year, and all that it will bring, I also wish to take a moment and reflect upon those colleagues and friends whom we have lost this year. We all stand upon their shoulders, and thus, as a community, can see farther and contribute more.
My very best wishes to you all.
D. Ann Pabst
The Conservation Committee seeks nominations for the 3rd Conservation Merit Prize. The prize is public recognition given to a person or team that has done extraordinary work towards solving a pressing conservation problem for marine mammals. The person or representative of the team receiving the Prize receives travel to the presentation at the biennial conference including two night’s lodging. Choice of the person or team will be by the Conservation Committee and approved by the Board. Any SMM member may propose recipients. The Prize is only given when the Conservation Committee finds a case of exceptional merit and may not be awarded at every biennial. Please send nomination inquiries (self nominations welcome) to: email@example.com.
Chair, Conservation Committee
The Conservation Committee seeks nominations for the 3rd Conservation Merit Prize. The prize is public recognition given to a person or team that has done extraordinary work towards solving a pressing conservation problem for marine mammals. The person or representative of the team receiving the Prize receives travel to the presentation at the biennial conference including two night’s lodging. Choice of the person or team will be by the Conservation Committee and approved by the Board. Any SMM member may propose recipients. The Prize is only given when the Conservation Committee finds a case of exceptional merit and may not be awarded at every biennial. Please send nomination inquiries (self nominations welcome) to: Barbara.Taylor@noaa.gov.
The Emily B. Shane Award submission deadline is just one week away!
Hello Friends and Colleagues,
It is a pleasure, and my honor, to be writing you as President, to share news from the Board, and to highlight a few of the events that you will read more about below.
An important role of each incoming Board is to carry out a review our Committees, as the vibrancy and well-being of the SMM depend very much on their productive work. We viewed this process as an opportunity to identify collaboratively our goals for the upcoming term and beyond. Two guiding questions that we asked were (1) how can we support the work of our colleagues to carry out high quality marine mammal research (especially that with a conservation focus) and (2) how can we help our Society enhance its diversity, inclusiveness, and sense of community? While we are still completing this process, I do wish to share with you a few points.
First, although I thought I had some idea of how hard our Committees worked, I had not a clue! Based upon my discussions with each Chair about her or his Committee, the news for us all is that there is a small army of dedicated, hard-working volunteers who help make our Society go! We will continue to share with you their efforts in the future.
Second, because ensuring that we are an inclusive community is a core value of our Society, we have established an Ad-hoc Committee on Diversity, co-Chaired by Eric Archer and Tara Cox. This step was one of Jay Barlow’s last actions as President, and we thank him for it. At this point in time, Eric and Tara are working on the broad outlines of their Committee’s goals and will soon be reaching out to our global scientific community to get a broad representation of the Society to help shape this endeavor.
Third, Committees offer our members an important opportunity to serve the Society, to learn more about how it works, and to determine if one may wish to take on a leadership role in the future. I would encourage you, if you are interested, to explore our Committee pages and reach out to Committee Chairs, to learn more about their work and how you might play a role. And I now will make such a request, as we have an important Committee Chair to fill.
Shane Gero, who has served the SMM over the past six years, will be stepping away as Chair of the Education Committee. Shane joined the Board in 2012, and under his leadership, transformed the species fact sheets into the Wikipedia marine mammal species project, helped bring the SMM into the world of social media, and was a generous, hard-working colleague. Although Shane will be stepping down as Chair, he has made it clear that he is not stepping away from the SMM! We all thank Shane for his service!
Thus, we will be looking for a new Chair of the Education Committee. This role is an important one for our Society and one that can help shape our outreach to the world. May I ask, if you are interested in this important role, that you reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org? Thank you!
One other note from the Board. We will be having our interim Board meeting in Barcelona in early November 2018. During this time, we will be meeting jointly with the Council members of the European Cetacean Society, to continue planning the 2019 World Conference.
I also wish to inform you that Mario Acquarone, Chair of the European Cetacean Society, and I had the privilege of being invited to the African Marine Mammal Colloquium, held last month in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It was an excellent and exciting meeting, hosted by Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld, and the Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University. We were also pleased to have the opportunity to present and to invite our African colleagues to the 2019 World Conference!
My very best wishes to you all,