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Great science, wide-ranging perspectives – from very local case studies to global marine policy, and a lot of fun at IMBIZO5!

IMBeR held its fifth IMBIZO at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution together with the Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry (OCB) program in early October.

To kick things off, there was a one-day workshop on how to create and use infographics. Indi Hodgson-Johnston from University of Tasmania stirred everyone´s creative juices and gave great tips on development techniques and where to find images to enhance the infographics. She says it was the most engaged group that she has ever worked with and continues to interact with several people to perfect their creations.

The 110 participants attended one of three parallel workshops, dealing with Critical constraints on projections, Metabolic diversity and evolution, and Management Strategy Evaluation. Keynote speakers Eddie Allison, Mary Ann Moran and Andre Punt provided an excellent focus for the three workshops, while David VanderZwaag had the unenviable task of linking the topics together under the central theme of Marine biosphere research for a sustainable ocean: Linking ecosystems, future states and resource management.

Other integrative activities included a session where everyone presented a poster, to inform those in different workshops who did not hear the oral presentations. There was also a group brainstorming exercise on prioritization and decision-making of marine issues, and a debate on a couple of contentious issues, that had people crossing the floor (literally!), as they voted with their bodies!

IMBIZOs really are great meetings and if you have not had the opportunity to attend one yet, you need to look out for the next one (they are held every two years) and make sure that you are there! There are a few faithful followers who have attended several IMBIZOs and when asked why they keep coming back, they said it is because the relatively small size (max 120 people) and format of the meeting provides great opportunities for networking and collaboration. Each workshop has plans for a synthesis paper or another product, so watch this space!

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