“Research is great but it’s not enough.”

That was one of the main points of Dr. John Nightingale’s presentation titled Research, Policy, Conservation – Aquariums Play Key Roles, which he recently presented at the 5th International Symposium for Marine Biology and Biotechnology in Kenting, Taiwan. Dr. Nightingale is the Vancouver Aquarium’s president and CEO.

He says that communication is key in the process that sees information flow from researchers to both policymakers and the public. Dr. Nightingale makes the point that because some researchers are so used to communicating in a certain way – exclusively through papers and conferences – sometimes their findings never makes it to a wider audience, which could include policymakers and educators.

John Nightingale is the Vancouver Aquarium's president and CEO.

John Nightingale is the Vancouver Aquarium’s president and CEO.

His advice for researchers is to take part in formal communications training that would teach them how to assess their audience and organize their thoughts effectively. These skills would ultimately give them better access to audiences beyond scientific circles. Incorporating this thought into his presentation, Dr. Nightingale suggested that better communication would result in better ocean management policies, which in turn, would positively affect conservation.

While in Taiwan, Dr. Nightingale also strengthened the Vancouver Aquarium’s relationship with the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium, agreeing to continue discussions around more formal cooperation in the fields of science communications, student training and coral ecology.

Dr. John Nightingale just returned from presenting the lead address at the 5th International Symposium for Marine Biology and Biotechnology in Kenting, Taiwan. This symposium, organized by Taiwan’s premier ocean research institution, the National Museum for Marine Biology and Aquarium, brought together over 300 delegates from around the world. 

Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.

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