Chairs' Notes

Pre-meeting Update - 30 January 08

The deadline for early registration is upon us (February 1) and hotel rooms that have been held are selling out. If you have not yet registered and made your hotel reservation, please do so.

We hope you will find this Ocean Sciences meeting to be interesting, informative, and exciting. Due to the tremendous abstract submission response, there will be over 3400 presentations in concurrent oral sessions during the day on Monday through Friday and exclusive poster sessions Monday through Thursday afternoons. There are a large number of topical sessions, created by members, several general sessions, and an eclectic Committees Choice session. We have lined up 5 timely and interesting plenary talks that should have broad appeal (at 11:00 each morning). A very large exhibition hall will be used for the poster sessions and exhibits. Posters will be up for the full 4 days, with featured presentations scheduled each afternoon. There will be a large number of town meetings, workshops, and alumni get-togethers during lunch breaks and on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings.

A special feature is the Wednesday Evening panel forum on communicating science broadly, titled Does Science Really Matter? With recognition by most in the marine sciences community that there should be more public and political awareness and interest in looming environmental problems, there is also acknowledgement by many of your colleagues that we are not dong a good job of effective communication. The panelists are:

  • Jerry Schubel - former Dean and Director of Stony Brook's Marine Sciences Research Center and Provost of the University, current President and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific,
  • Charlie Hall - SUNY ecologist who is concerned with The Great Scientific Coverup of the most important threat to Western Civilization (meaning peak oil, but more or less, peak fish, or peak anything),
  • Juliet Eilperin - Washington Post environmental reporter, author of the book Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives, currently writing a book on sharks,
  • Jeremy Jackson - marine ecologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Smithsonian Tropical Marine Station, co-founder of Shifting Baselines Ocean Media Project, and
  • Randy Olson independent filmmaker (his full-length film Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus has been on Showtime and is at Blockbuster and Netflix) and creator of Shifting Baselines short films.

Also within the theme of communication and outreach, two aquaria will have booths in the exhibition hall for one-on-one discussions of improved interaction between the research community and outreach professionals and several talks in the Committees Choice session address communication by scientists. In this same line, lunchtime workshops are scheduled for Thursday on Effective Communication with Lawmakers (Adrienne Sponberg, ASLO Director of Public Affairs) and From Ship to Shore to Media: A Workshop of Science Journalism (Cheryl Dybas, NSF, and freelance science writer). Another special feature is the Thursday evening discussion with filmmaker, Randy Olson, titled True Confessions: I am an Impaired Mass Communicator; his description:
I'm a former scientist and an impaired mass communicator (IMC). I made a movie called "Flock of Dodos", I've won about 50 awards as a filmmaker, and played my movies at festivals from Tribeca to Telluride, but still I realize I'm stuck with certain problems when it comes to mass communication. The problems are the result of things I did to my brain (non-drug related) many years ago in earning my Ph.D. which can't be reversed. I sometimes think I'm a great mass communicator, but my friends in Hollywood from film school are quick to point out the ways in which I'm not. So I've finally come to accept this and work around it. In this talk I'll tell about my journey of self-realization as an IMC, how two decades of abuse in Hollywood has brought me to this, and hopefully share some wisdom to help other academics realize the multitude of ways in which they, too, are ALL IMC's (sorry, no exceptions) despite their prodigious brain power.

So, if you are a regular attendee who appreciates the interdisciplinary collegial atmosphere of the traditional Ocean Sciences meeting, or if you are new to this biennial meeting series, this should be one of the largest and most successful ever. With the special theme of: From the Watershed to the Global Ocean, the meeting is being held in a area that truly spans the watershed to open ocean. As has been the trend in recent meetings, posters are being highlighted to make them a preferred and effective presentation mode. A special emphasis is being made to open and expand discussion on how we can convey the important and exciting results of our research more effectively and more broadly to the public. You might want to extend your stay before or after the meeting to take your family to the theme parks in the Orlando area; enjoy the many fine golf courses in this convention haven; or enjoy the abundant interesting natural attractions of the north central Florida area.

We encourage you to attend the meeting. Please check on the website periodically for updates about the meeting.

Jon Sharp, Chris Sherwood and Paul Bissett

Single First Author Rule Clarified

We (the co-chairs for the 2008 Ocean Science meeting) have received inquiries from session organizers about multiple presentations at the meeting. This is a perennial problem with our annual meetings, so the three co-chairs, consulting with the ASLO, AGU, and TOS staff, have discussed and decided that we will stick to the one first author abstract rule.

A rule of both ASLO and AGU is that no individual may give more than one first author paper at a meeting (oral or poster). The two societies allow for different exceptions. For Ocean Sciences 2008, we will make an exception for the plenary speakers; these were invited by the committee and there are a total of 5 for the week. We will also make an exception with the Munk Award and Sverdrup Award winners. These are annual awards made by TOS and AGU, respectively, and the two recipients will be asked to make presentations as mini-plenary sessions. If any of these 7 plenary speakers wishes to also submit an additional paper for oral or poster presentation, that will be welcomed.

Conveners of OSM2008 sessions may designate up to two presenters in their sessions as “invited.” It can be viewed as an honor to be invited; however, this should not be reason for an exception that would allow for a second presentation of a submitted paper. With close to 200 sessions, this could lead to many extra papers. Session conveners may also invite one speaker in their sessions to present a “tutorial” lecture, using two time slots. The tutorial is intended as an overview of the subject matter of the session, and not all sessions will have tutorials. Requests have been made to allow the tutorial presenter to submit a second presentation with the argument that the tutorial presenter also might want to present from her/his own research. However, it must be recognized that many of us have more than one research area and must chose what to present anyway, so deciding to give an overview paper from one’s research area is not significant reason for an exception to the rule. In reality, many tutorial presenters heavily weight their talks toward their own research results.

With more emphasis on education and a number of education sessions planned, there may also be requests for presenters in the education sessions to be permitted to make a second presentation in a science session. This is a case again of a presenter selecting from his/her areas of scholarly activity. In addition, we should consider education sessions to be equal to science sessions and not second class sessions. Therefore, the rule is that only the 7 plenary speakers invited by the organizing committee and selected by TOS and AGU will be granted the exception to make a second presentation. Otherwise, the rule of one presentation per person will be enforced; a second first-author abstract cannot be submitted.

The reason for enforcing a one-abstract rule is that we want to encourage anyone who wishes to make a presentation at what will be a very large meeting. It is necessary to limit the number of concurrent oral sessions because of a finite number of presentation rooms and to limit scheduling conflicts. An attraction of the Ocean Sciences meeting is that the diverse multi-disciplinary nature encourages exposure to areas outside one’s immediate specialty. Too many concurrent sessions tends to push attendees into specialty sessions only. Efforts will be made to have a large portion of presentations as poster rather than oral. Every effort is being made to have the poster presentations as a desirable format and to make them a first choice for effective presentation. However, with both poster and oral sessions, there is finite space and time at this large meeting.

We encourage session conveners to consider carefully, possibly consulting with the meeting organizers, before inviting a tutorial speaker. The tutorial is intended to give an overview for those not deeply involved in the subject of the session and this approach is intended for sessions that are trying to attract “outsiders.” Remember that using a tutorial slot in an oral session takes away one slot that would be available otherwise for another presenter.

We also encourage session conveners to consider making your session a poster only session. The poster presentations will be exclusive (no other planned activities conflicting) and organized to make them effective interactive avenues for presenting and discussing papers. It is possible to have invited and tutorial slots in a poster session.

Jon Sharp, Chris Sherwood and Paul Bissett

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