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2nd World Seabird Conference UPDATE

Grant RW Humphries, April 1, 2014

Seabirds: Global Ocean Sentinels

Hosted by: World Seabird Union (WSU) and The African Seabird Group
Local Organizing Committee Chair: Ross Wanless
Scientific Programme Committee Chair: Peter Ryan

For more information, please visit or


  • Time Table of Important Dates
  • Symposia and Workshop Proposal Guidelines (Appendix 1)
  • Legacy Initiatives (Appendix 2)
  • Early Career Scientist Initiatives (Appendix 3)
  • Communication Initiatives (Appendix 4)
  • Travel Awards (Appendix 5)

The 2nd World Seabird Conference (2ndWSC) will build on the progress and success of the 1st World Seabird Conference and will once again place seabirds on the global stage.

Our goal is to provide a venue for seabird scientists from across the globe to gather with their colleagues and discuss research, conservation, and innovative technology as they relate to the study of seabirds and their marine environment.

The Conference will focus on the biology, ecology, and conservation of these globally relevant species at a time when marine ecosystems and the species that inhabit them are increasingly used as indicators of ecosystem health. 2nd WSC will be structured around a series of symposia, contributed sessions, and database workshops and will provide participants with abundant opportunities to network with colleagues from across the globe.


  • Deadline for proposals for Symposia/Workshops: 15 May 2014
  • Notification of acceptance for Symposia/Workshops: 15 July 2014
  • Registration opens: 1 January 2015
  • Deadline for Travel Award Applications: 30 January 2015
  • Deadline for Abstracts for Contributed Papers/Posters: 30 January 2015
  • Notification of acceptance of Contributed Papers/Posters: 27 March 2015
  • Notification of Travel Awards: 24 April 2015
  • Deadline for early registration: 31 May 2015
  • We recommend you make plane and hotel reservations at your earliest convenience, e.g., following notification of abstract acceptance

VENUE: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) opened in 2003 and offers state-of-the-art conference facilities thanks to its size and sophistication. Ideally located in Cape Town, adjacent to the Waterfront, the central business district and leading hotels, the CTICC is an exceptional facility that has put Cape Town on the map as a major international congress destination.

There are more than 3,500 rooms within walking distance of the CTICC offering budget to luxury accommodation.

Appendix 1: Symposia and Workshop Proposal Guidelines

The 2nd World Seabird Conference is being organized to facilitate international communication on scientific topics of interest to the global seabird community. The organizers are soliciting symposia and workshops for the Conference. While the organizers welcome all proposed topics, the following would support the overall theme of the Conference (Seabirds: Global Ocean Sentinels) and we encourage scientists and conservationists to consider developing symposia based on these ideas:

  • Seabirds as indicators of ocean health
  • Scale-dependent foraging strategies
  • Importance of physical ocean structures
  • Functional responses of seabirds to their prey
  • Climate change responses and adaptations
  • Seabird-parasite dynamics
  • Seabird-fishery interactions
  • Polar seabirds
  • Marine spatial ecology and planning
  • Outcome-based seabird conservation
  • Protection of breeding sites
  • Marine protected areas

To propose a symposium or workshop for the 2ndWSC on one of the above topics or any other topic of interest, please provide a 1-page summary of the following information in an email to Peter Ryan, Scientific Programme Committee Chair, or Kees Camphuysen, Scientific Programme Secretariat at

a. Type of Session: Symposium (series of oral presentations on a single theme) or Workshop (interactive discussion or working group)

b. Title: Working title (which can be revised prior to finalization of programme)

c. Leaders (workshop) or Conveners (symposium): Please include at least two names, email addresses, and affiliations to act as leaders/co-leaders

d. Justification and description: 3-5 sentences that highlight the importance of the topic and its relevance to those attending

e. Time requested: Quarter-day, half-day or full day

f. Potential contributors: Please list at least five lead authors/scientists who will be, or have been, invited to participate

g. Anticipated outcomes of the workshop or symposium: Please provide a short description of anticipated outcomes such as special section in peer-reviewed journal, creation or enhancement of global database, or funding proposal. Some sessions may not have explicit products but instead may simply provide opportunities to clearly focus a session on an important topic.

Proposed topics that are similar may be combined at the discretion of the Science Committee after consultation with the proposers. We will do our best to accommodate all requests, but space and time are limited. We encourage (but do not require) the publication of proceedings or reports under the direction of the session organizers. The World Seabird Conference web site provides examples of previous symposia and workshops:

Please provide the requested information even if you have previously discussed an idea with a committee member about a suggested topic prior to this announcement.


It is expected that conveners will do the following:

a. Coordinate all aspects of the symposium or workshop that they propose
b. Plan the basic scheduling of presentations and discussion periods
c. Review abstracts (and supervise any revisions, as needed)
d. Solicit and communicate with invited speakers
e. Maintain regular communication with the Scientific Programme Committee

For sessions that might result in publication(s), conveners are encouraged to discuss ideas with the WSC organizers, and participate in conference calls or similar with WSC organizing committees, as needed.

If the symposium or workshop results in a published product, conveners may serve as coordinators or guest editors, depending on the journal.

Appendix 2: Legacy Initiatives

The 2nd World Seabird Conference will include Legacy Projects, which are intended to promote collaborations and provide long-term products. Legacy Projects provide a roadmap to guide and promote activities among members between conferences. Here we describe potential workshop topics for which we are seeking organizers. We invite proposals, via the Scientific Programme Committee, by those interested in organising or contributing to the Legacy Initiative Programme on any of the above topics. Ideally there would also be a companion thematic session in the main 2nd WSC scientific programme to accompany any proposed workshop. Guidelines and due dates for such proposals are the same as those for symposia and workshops (15 May 2014).

Legacy Topics of Interest Originating from 1stWSC WSU-supported databases: One or more workshops are suggested to discuss the further development and use of the existing WSU-supported databases, specifically those relating to the Global Seabird Colony Register, Seabird Population Status and Trends, Seabird Monitoring, and Seabird Mortality Events.

Global Procellariform Tracking Database (GPTD): Initiated after 1stWSC, the GPTD is already tracking procellariforms around the globe. A workshop focused on the GPTD would consider the expansion of this database to all seabirds, with a key outcome being the evaluation of the priority uses of these data in global and regional conservation and management contexts.

Potential New Legacy Initiatives

Three main topics have been suggested as new legacy initiatives to develop global products that should further seabird science and conservation:

1) Promoting inter-regional and inter-hemisphere collaborations in seabird research and conservation. This initiative seeks to identify and implement new (or enhanced) collaborations to address global and regional seabird conservation and research priorities, especially in developing and under-resourced countries. A particular objective should be to facilitate transfer of technology and expertise between countries and regions. A workshop and/or special session might be appropriate.

2) Improving communication with and capacity of communities and other stakeholders relevant to local seabird conservation. We envisage a workshop to exchange experiences of developing communication and education initiatives that use and maintain local traditions and cultural values and enhance the knowledge and capacity of local communities to address issues relevant to the plight of seabirds.

3) Improving opportunities for Early Career Scientists (ECS). The need to enhance involvement of and opportunities for ECS (who are represented on all 2 nd WSC committees) is a key aim for 2nd WSC. The ECS Committee has been invited to organise one or more sessions to address topics of their priority interest, including communication and mentoring initiatives and career development. However a specific workshop/session to bring together these aspects and recommend how they might best be addressed could be highly relevant to the overall Legacy Initiative.

We invite proposals, via the Scientific Programme Committee, by those interested in organising or contributing to the Legacy Initiative Programme on any of the above topics. We also welcome proposals for additional topics of primary relevance to the overall objectives of the World Seabird Union, especially in relation to capacity building.

Appendix 3: Early Career Scientist Initiatives

The Early Career Scientist Committee has proposed several activities for the scientists and conservationists attending the conference who are in the early stages of their careers. If you are an experienced seabird biologist and have other ideas concerning ECS or would like to participate in these activities email the ECS Committee Chair, Fiona Mcduie by 15 May, 2014.

  • The ‘Engaging ECS Workshop’ will be hosted in association with the Legacy Committee and will discuss topics of primary importance and interest to ECS’s including strategies to increase retention of ECS and enhance opportunities for career development.
  • The ECSC will host a second workshop session in panel format with senior scientists where we will discuss and focus more specifically on topics of priority interest to ECSs including job search strategies for young seabird scientists and conservationists at various career stages (e.g. Post-Doctoral, Past-Masters, faculty or full-time research positions), and grant-writing and publishing strategies.
  • The ECSC will host a ‘Speedy-seabird social’ – an evening function with drinks, food, and tables at which non-ECS scientists spend 5 or 10 minutes answering questions from ECSs.

Appendix 4: Communication Initiatives

The Communications Committee will provide an interactive way of including individuals who are unable to attend 2nd WSC via Twitter and Facebook updates. They will also summarize daily conference events on the world wide web through “”, which will be shared to the greater community.

The Communications team will also build contacts with local and global media sources prior to and during 2 ndWSC to promote the event to the wider public.

This team will also help to coordinate a global “Twitter” conference prior to 2ndWSC as a teaser, with prizes for most creative use of social media for presenting work, and best Twitter presentation as voted by a team of judges. This will be done in conjunction with the ECS committee.

The Communications Committee will also work on plans to improve “” including translations to other languages, which will aid in reaching many other countries. These improvements will be proposed as part of the legacy initiatives for 2ndWSC.

Appendix 5: Travel Awards

In seeking to make the 2nd World Seabird Conference truly a global meeting, the Travel Awards Committee will search for representation from as many countries as possible.
Students, Early Career Scientists, established seabird scientists, and conservation practitioners who wish to present their research and are in need of travel support to attend the conference are encouraged to apply.

Travel Awards are intended to help defray the cost of attending the meeting, not to cover all expenses. Travel Awards generally will not exceed $1,500 USD; the amount awarded will depend on the applicant’s travel expenses, availability of alternative travel support, and quality of the abstract submitted. To be eligible for a Travel Award, applicants must either be a student or early career scientist (students and ECS from all countries will compete based on need), or an established seabird scientist or conservation practitioner from a developing country.

Evaluation Principles

Travel Awards will be evaluated based upon the following principles:

  1. Anticipated level of participation in the meeting (e.g., is the applicant organizing a session, presenting a paper or a poster?)

  2. Quality of the abstract submitted for an oral or poster presentation

  3. Applicant’s current involvement in seabird research or conservation (work, study, volunteering) and future plans to conduct and promote seabird research and conservation

  4. Applicant’s plans for sharing the knowledge and experience gained through attending the conference

  5. Amount of financial support requested, supported by a detailed cost estimate

Application Requirements

Applicants will be required to submit a range of information, including a written motivation, abstract, details of funds requested and expenses that the funds will be used to cover. The specific requirements will be included in the online application process, which will be made available in due course (see section below on How to Apply).

Please note: all applicants must demonstrate that they have a visa to enter South Africa (if required). If a visa is not in place at time of application, the applicant must indicate what their plans are to obtain a visa no later than 1 August 2015. Fees for obtaining visas are the responsibility of the travel award winner.

How to Apply

Persons who wish to apply for a Travel Award will be able to do so through an online form that is currently being developed. The link will be provided once this form is complete. The submission deadline for Travel Awards will be 30 January 2015 at 2400 GMT. Applications that are received after the deadline, or incomplete applications that arrive prior to the deadline, will not be considered.

Applicants will receive email confirmation of receipt of application. Applicants are fully responsible for their application. Incomplete applications may not be considered. Notification of award decisions will be made by 24 April 2015, to allow successful applicants to register for the conference by the 31 May 2015 early bird deadline.