Welcome to the International School of Marine Conservation Science - isMSC!


Thank you for your interest in the International School of Marine Conservation Science (isMCS)! Planned for June, 2018 and to be offered at the University of Primorska in Slovenia. If you have an interest in the biological, ecological, environmental, cultural, social, political and economic aspects of Marine Conservation, then this class is for you!

Offered as a 10-day intensive course, with opportunities to gain either ECTS or U.S. University credit, our goal is to provide not only concept and content in the field of marine conservation science, but to also facilitate interactions between, and learning among students coming from different countries and geo-political systems of Europe, Americas, Asia and the Indo-Pacific, and Africa. Given that students like you are developing professionals who aim to make their careers in the field, these international contacts may form the basis for long-term international collaborative opportunities.

Please explore this website to learn more about this exciting opportunity, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us for more information!

 Introduction to Marine Conservation

The world’s oceans are vast, productive, and dynamic, and humans have for eons relied upon these waters to provide food, transportation, ecosystem services, and to meet many other needs. Unfortunately, modern industrialization and a growing human population has created a changing environment, with subsequent losses of biological diversity and ecosystem resources1. The biggest threats to the world’s oceans include overfishing2,3, loss of biodiversity and extinction events4,5, pollution (physical6, chemical7, and environmental8), climate change9, ocean acidification10,11, and overuse and coastal development12. Invasive species13 and a host of other environmental insults can be added to the list. Dispersed and distributed impact sources, lack of strong governance, poor community buy-in for the implementation of new rules, and resource conflicts often compound these problems. We’ve come a long way from Huxley’s proclamations* that the oceans are an inexhaustible resource. So where do we go from here?

Fortunately, there is also some good news, and scientists, conservationists, policymakers, and stakeholders are creating visions for a way forward14,15,16. In some places, management action has led to the recovery of once decimated stocks17. Reforms of EU Common Fisheries Policy18 may correct that situation in Europe (although some are skeptical19). There are new bans on plastic inputs to our oceans20, and an increasing focus on how managing for ocean resilience can combat stress and change21,22. Marine reserves processes are becoming better understood, and reserves are being established at an increasing rate23, including the three largest reserves on the planet being created in 201524 and 201625,26. Working within and across political boundaries provide a means for oceans to continue to provide for the marine organisms as well as humans that rely on them27,28. Finally, real progress is being made to change the course of climate change29. In order to continue this progress, a new generation of conservation scientists, resource managers, and policy makers need to take the helm and steer this ship forward.

The International School of Marine Conservation Science is designed to do just that. Over an intensive 10 day period, the isMCS will cover concepts of evidence-based conservation science from population to ecosystem levels, including human dimensions, as well as topical issues in marine conservation. From this students will develop some of the knowledge, tools, and skills necessary to become effective players in the field of Marine Conservation.


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  2. Proelss A, and Houghton K. 2012. The EU Common Fisheries Policy in light of the precautionary principle. Ocean & coastal management 31:22-30.
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  4. Webb, TJ, and Mindel BL. 2015. Global Patterns of Extinction Risk in Marine and Non-marine Systems. Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.023
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  16. Arkema KK, Verutes GM, Wood SA, Clarke-Samuels C, Rosado S, Canto M, Rosenthal A, Ruckelshaus M, Guannel G, Toft J, Faries J. 2015. Embedding ecosystem services in coastal planning leads to better outcomes for people and nature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112:7390-5.
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  20. U.S. House of Representatives1321 - Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015
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