Education & Policy Sessions List

Participants may submit an abstract to one of these sessions in addition to one abstract submitted to either a scientific or contributed session. (Two abstracts total).

EP001 Face to Face With Diversity and Inclusion Experiences in Aquatic Sciences

Elizabeth Leon-Palmero, University of Southern Denmark & Princeton University (
Núria Catalán, USGS/LSCE-CNRS (
Anna Lupon, Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes(CEAB-CSIC) (
Pablo Rodríguez-Lozano, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma, Spain (

Diversity in science refers to cultivating talent and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum. This social spectrum has many dimensions that include, but are not limited to: gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability status, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. Still, the scientific community lacks social diversity, especially regarding the participation of women, people with disabilities, racial minorities, and other underrepresented groups. The underrepresentation of these groups leads to social inequity and to a great loss of talent. In this regard, many initiatives are trying to increase the visibility of underrepresented groups in science, raise awareness of inequities, and develop new strategies to promote their inclusion. In this session, we aim to raise awareness on the importance of diversity and inclusion in Aquatic Sciences. We welcome contributions aiming at: 1) promoting the visibility of underrepresented groups, 2) identifying the challenges faced by these groups, or 3) sharing experiences that improve their inclusion in scientific environments. This Special Session will be organized by the Diversity and Inclusion Commission of SIBECOL and the Gender and Science Group of AIL (Iberian Association of Limnology). These commissions aim to act as an observatory of diversity within their societies, foster the visibility of those groups that have been historically excluded from the scientific community, and propose recommendations for improving equality in academia.

Key words: diversity, inclusion, minorities, LGTBIQ+, gender

EP002 Changing the Culture of Coastal and Ocean Sciences: An Invitation to Community Dialogue

Sharon Cooper, International Ocean Discovery Program (
Sarah Kolesar, Oregon State University (
Aixa Aleman-Diaz, American Geophysical Union (
Brandon Jones, National Science Foundation (

Ocean sciences, like other geoscience subdisciplines, are among the least diverse fields and have the least represented workforce when compared to other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. Achieving belonging, access, justice, diversity, equity and inclusion goals within our work environments and in our research communities will require learning from evidence-based programs, and experimenting with new approaches and perspectives. “COSEA” is a new community of practice: the “Coastal and Ocean STEM Equity Alliance.” It has a three-fold vision: 1) professional networking, 2) ideation and organizational change across sectors, and 3) fostering an accessible and inclusive space for dialogue and co-creation to shape the future of coastal and ocean sciences. Members of COSEA are chairing this session to invite participation from all members of the ocean sciences community in joining and contributing to our vision of a more equitable future. This session invites abstracts to showcase bottom-up examples of how science identity (who you are, where you come from, academic and professional trajectories, workspaces, workforce development, committee work) can intentionally drive cultural changes in our ocean sciences work environments. We invite abstracts that highlight successes and challenges in terms of how we as science-trained individuals can impact society through our skills, expert knowledge, lived experiences, and our positions as regenerative gatekeepers. We hope our ongoing collective activities (monthly meetings, publications) will cross and showcase various sectors (public, nonprofit, academia, museums) and support targeted populations in the geosciences (general public, conservation practitioners, interested partners, K-12 students and teachers, underrepresented race and ethnic groups, people with disabilities, minority serving institutions, R2 or other types of higher education institutions, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, administrators, and researchers). The session will focus on examples of how cultural change can be achieved through ongoing programs in these areas, as well as dialogue and flexible approaches to bring about institutional and systemic change. In organizing this session in Spain, COSEA aims to bring together participants from the United States and around the world to invite participation in our collective, our goals, and to integrate international perspectives in our next steps.

Key words: international dialogue, institutional change, diversity, equity, inclusion

EP003 Pandemic Adjustments in Ocean Training Programs: Implications for Early Career Scholars

Lisa Rom, National Science Foundation (
Andrea Johnson, National Science Foundation (
Brandon Jones, National Science Foundation (

The geosciences, and particularly marine, coastal, and ocean sciences, have historically relied on hands-on, in-person training for early career students and faculty. Many of these programs have long-standing protocols for effective management and organization. Most of these in-person programs were forced to adapt to remote learning methods or were canceled during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Within the marine and aquatic sciences, many students, especially those underrepresented in STEM, may have been disproportionately affected because of the pandemic. This session encourages discussion of the successes and challenges experienced by early career students and faculty as they engaged in in-person and online activities. Presentations are also encouraged by organizers of early career programs, with priority given to discussion of techniques, strategies, and methods that were successful at recruiting and engaging early career scientists from historically underrepresented groups.

EP004 Exploring the Emotional Connection Between Society and the Ocean

Luisa Galgani, GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany) and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Florida Atlantic University (USA) (
Chiara Certomà, Department ESOMAS, University of Turin (Italy) (
Ngozi Oguguah, Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research Lagos (Nigeria) (
Ana Fernandez Carrera, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende (Germany) (
Allison Fong, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar und-Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven (Germany) (

Various types of marine pollution are amongst the most relevant problems that we are facing today, whose irreversible consequences are already affecting global ecosystems’ balance and services. Ongoing initiatives advanced by both public and private institutions, as well as environmental NGOs, mainly consist of monitoring and awareness-raising campaigns and citizens' science processes to prevent or reduce littering and polluting activities, or -more limitedly- end-of-pipe waste collection infrastructures (e.g. the Blue Growth initiative of the European Commission). This special session welcomes cross-cutting thematic studies, case studies and fertile ideas for potential actions across the natural and the social disciplines, featuring engagement, education and social innovation examples that address the ocean as the core of all human health and thriving. We also welcome proposals of new tools and processes to promote a new narrative of emotional connection and literacy to face the pressing challenges for the resiliency of the ocean and all life that depends upon it. Most of the related research frames within a utilitarian conception of the economic importance of seas and oceans, including resource extraction for food or energy), logistic or leisure activities, and contemporary geopolitics and marine bordering. This managerial approach often characterises sea governance research and social-technical innovation against marine pollution, whose function is mainly interpreted as devoted to efficient planning and management. This is quite at odds with the evidence that the blueprint for future environmental governance requires a more inclusive and integrated way of thinking, drawing increasingly on not just economic values but also taking account of social and cultural values, whilst participatory modes of governance support effective management that are being increasingly adopted. Notably transformative and co-creative potential of the civic agency has been mobilised for both exploring and seeking potential solutions for tackling marine sustainability challenges. Nevertheless, the emotional, affective and care-based connection between society and the oceans has been scarcely investigated, despite the ocean’s role in sustaining life and cultural heritage lays at the core of the strategies and visions of the UN Decade for Ocean Sciences. The sea remains a largely unexplored space for turning knowledge into action via effective and wide social mobilisation. The ocean is the focus of this session: however, we encourage contributions related to freshwater environments of particular societal and economical relevance to explore potential ideas and share experiences (and challenges) in reconciling our society with the aquatic world.

Key words: ocean literacy, society&ocean, marine pollution, civic engagement, marine education

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