News from the President and Board
Meet SMM President, Charles Littnan
I received my BSc. in Marine Biology from TAMUG in 1998 and my PhD. in Environmental Sciences from Macquarie University in 2004. For the last 15 years, I have worked for NMFS undertaking research and conservation actions to support the recovery of endangered Hawaiian monk seals. As a 20-year SMM member I have been an active scientific contributor and tried to help our research and conservation community continue to mature. I had the privilege to sit on the SMM Board for 6 years as the inaugural chair of the Ethics Committee – collaborating with members to develop our code of professional ethics and marine mammal handling guidelines and facilitating discussions on challenging topics. As President I would help the SMM continue our growth and influence on global marine mammal conservation issues. We need to accelerate and expand our ongoing efforts to apply rigorous science to address the numerous ongoing and looming conservation challenges marine mammals face. I believe we can do this in several ways including:
1. Using our conferences, journal, and other forums to host more open and productive dialogs on the types of bold interventions, and their inherent risks, that may need to be undertaken to inform our future decisions.
2. Increasing long-term research and management capacity in priority regions through professional development by instituting training programs/degrees in collaboration with outside NGOs, Agencies, and academic institutions.
3. Engaging with terrestrial and aquatic research conservation programs by facilitating greater inclusion and information exchange between several IUCN Species Survival Commission Groups and international conservation societies.
We have faced many conservation challenges for our species. We have had some successes but have lost, and continue to lose, far too much. Our community needs to learn from our past experiences and be well-prepared to wisely and steadfastly face the many challenges ahead.
December 19, 2013
by Helene Marsh
The Society held its much awaited biennial conference on the theme of ‘Conservation of Marine Mammals: Science Making a Difference’ on the Otago University campus in Dunedin last week. The conference was a great success despite the unprecedented impact of multiple key threatening processes: the Global Financial Crisis, the Christchurch earthquakes, the US government shutdown […]
November 12, 2013
by Helene Marsh
In a few weeks we will be gathered in Dunedin for our 20th Biennial Conference. This year’s theme is “Marine Mammal Conservation: Science Making a Difference“. Despite the triple challenges of the Global Financial Crisis, the devastating Christchurch Earthquake and the recent shut-down of the US public sector, the conference organizers have done an amazing […]
July 6, 2013
by Helene Marsh
Preparations are well underway for the SMM biennial in New Zealand with a near record number of abstract submissions . All the abstracts have been reviewed and the results posted on the web. If you need letters of support to obtain an New Zealand visa or travel funds from your institution, I am in the […]