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The IMBER ClimEco5 Summer School

Towards more resilient oceans: Predicting and projecting future changes in the ocean and their impacts on human societies

The IMBER ClimEco5 summer school was held in Natal Brazil from 10-17 August 2016: It was attended by 65 participants from 27 countries, and 10 lecturers, chosen for their expertise in relevant interdisciplinary topics.

Lectures each morning examined a range of modelling approaches, monitoring, data analysis, indicators, and management advice and communication from a theoretical perspective, as well as using case studies from around the world. The afternoons were devoted to “hands-on” sessions where participants were given the opportunity to try out the various modelling and statistical packages and techniques.

At the poster session on the first evening, participants presented a poster of their current research or PhD thesis plans if they had only recently started. Besides interacting with the participants and having in depth discussions about their research during the poster session, the lecturers also evaluated the posters and provided written feedback.

Group projects are considered an important learning tool for IMBER summer schools. Groups of about eight participants were tasked with developing a model and/or analysing existing model output with the intention of providing insights into a social, economic, and/or ecological system in at least two of the following areas: Social sciences, Economics, Environmental or climatological drivers, Ecology and Policy. On the final day, the groups presented their initial ideas, the approach used and their results. The lecturers were impressed and considered that several of them could be publishable with a bit more work.

The groups also took part in a lively debate, where two groups argued either for or against somewhat provocative topics, like “social science is not real science” and whether or not interdisciplinary science is necessary. Despite initially being rather reticent about debating topics that they often did not agree with, and also in many cases not in their mother tongue, it was very well done and proved to really bring out strong opinions in some of the participants.

From all accounts the IMBER ClimEco5 summer school was a great success. The evaluations submitted by the participants are all extremely positive and besides having learnt a lot, important networks and collaborations were established, both with other participants and with the lecturers, and a lot of fun was also had by all.

IMBER is extremely grateful for the travel grants provided by Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento (CNPq), Brazil, Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Norway, North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST), the State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, China, Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), Ocean Carbon & Biogeochemistry (OCB), and two Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research projects - Variability of Ocean Ecosystems Around South America (VOCES) Cooperative Research Network and Assessment of Marine Ecosystem Services at the Latin-American (ANTARES) Time Series Network.