At ICES, we use the ecosystem approach to develop integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs) – these are quantitative evaluations and syntheses of information on the physical, chemical, and ecological processes and human activities taking place within an ecosystem.
To develop IEAs, and provide the scientific understanding needed to deliver advice that considers the different trade-offs between various policy options, we need to understand the relationships between human activities and marine ecosystems, to evaluate the services these systems provide us with, and to estimate the overall pressures exerted, from fishing to pollution to habitat damage, and their varying impacts.
The Integrated Ecosystem Assessments Steering Group (IEASG) guides and supports our groups that develop ecosystem modelling and assessment methods, contribute to state of the environment reporting and underpin guidance on meeting ecological, social and economic objectives.
A key task for IEASG is the delivery of IEAs for regional seas. Under its guidance, ICES has developed integrated ecosystem assessments for the Arctic, Baltic, Barents, Celtic, North, Oceanic Northeast Atlantic, Northwest Atlantic, and Norwegian seas, with more on the way for the Greenland and Chukchi seas.
The steering group also carries out comparative analyses of marine ecosystems, ecosystem modelling, develops methods and application of ecosystem-based management and risk assessment, links ecological, economic, and social models to understand interactions and trade-offs between management objectives, defines data needs to support IEAs, and assists in the development of integrated advice to support ecosystem-based management.
The term of the current Chair ends in 2020 and nominations are currently being accepted for the position - a four-year term beginning in 2021. As Chair, you will have the opportunity to influence the direction and impact of ICES science in this area, develop an international science network, and contribute to the work of ICES Science Committee.
Advice from the current ChairMette Skern-Mauritzen, Institute of Marine Research, is the current chair of IEASG. Her first involvement with ICES was as a member of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME) around 2002. Since then, Skern-Mauritzen notes that although she has been a working group member, co-chaired workshops, and led ICES Annual Science Conference (ASC) sessions, before becoming IEASG Chair in 2017, her involvement with ICES was intermittent. “On and off", she explains, “mostly off!"
After taking on the role of IEASG, this has changed. “I have been heavily involved in ICES work since 2017 - and this has been very stimulating, motivating, challenging, and fun. It has allowed me to interact with a large network of excellent scientists and progress on a key scientific challenge – improving integrated marine science - across disciplines - to support ecosystem-based management."
At IMR, Skern-Mauritsen led the research group responsible for developing IEAs to support management. “I was keen to strengthen the position of IEAs, both scientifically but also their relevance for management and other stakeholders. And ICES provides a unique platform for doing this. It has a strong community of IEA expert groups covering ecoregions from the Mediterranean to the Arctic, expert groups on diverse approaches required for further development of IEAs, and they carry out their work in close dialogue with diverse stakeholder groups and decision makers."
“My role as IEASG Chair has allowed me to better understand the challenges. I now have additional tools to handle these challenges and a better understanding of what is missing from the toolbox, what needs to be developed. . It has also been interesting and challenging to be in a position to influence the work of ICES as an organization."
Skern-Mauritzen praises the colleagues she has intereacted with as chair, “The IEASG and expert group members compose a wonderful community of very skilled and motivated scientists. The everyday running of the SG is very smooth, with great support from the ICES secretariat and good collaboration with the Expert Group chairs" but points out what she see as the three main challenges for the next chair:
“Further strengthening the integration of disciplines in IEAs – both within natural science disciplines (e.g., empirical and modelling approaches), and between social and natural sciences. Improving our understanding of societal needs and challenges, to better prioritize when developing IEAs and associated output products and make these more relevant.And finally improving capacity. There is so much to be done, and so much we could do, if we had greater capacity."
Interested?If you are thinking about taking on this “challenging and highly rewarding" position, Skern-Mauritzen stresses that, “It is an important position in the ICES system where you can make a difference, in both ICES as an organization and in ICES science," and that you can look forward to, “nice and challenging colleagues from a range of disciplines and countries, excellent support from ICES Secretariat, diverse scientific and organizational challenges, stimulating and rewarding work and a lot of fun!"
The term for the IEASG Chair is four years which begins on
January 1 2021. If you have any questions regarding the role,
please contact Mette Skern-Mauritzen.
deadline for nominations is Friday 21 August
Mette Skern-Mauritzen is the current IEASG Chair.
ICES currently has six steering groups. Each addresses a broad area of science and advice and 'parents' a number of expert groups. Collectively, the steering groups oversee a significant proportion of the activity of ICES expert groups, as described in our Science Plan and Advisory Plan.