Dear Deep-Sea Biology Colleagues,
This is my 8th President’s Letter. It is definitely the strangest I have written. Rather than my usual ramble about the weather, or politics, we will start with some announcements and work backwards from there. The first is that the deadline for abstracts to be submitted to our online ‘eDSBS’ meeting is fast approaching – 26 June 2020. The meeting itself is going to be on 20 and 21 August 2020. The second is that the Society has released a new plan to address diversity, inclusion and equity in our community. All of these updates, and further details on them are to be found on our website, and I will talk more about both now.
For those that follow world events – and with a few exceptions it is pretty hard to avoid them – it will be obvious how we have come to make these new announcements. Let’s start with eDSBS. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced almost the entire population of the planet to re-configure their lives at home and at work. Within the specific remit of scientific societies, the impacts are huge. Societies such as ours are primarily focussed around providing platforms for discussion – our conferences and meetings – and primarily meetings where we meet and network in person. For this year that possibility has been taken away from us, and whilst we will bring back our regular in-person meetings, it’s likely that the way we conduct future conferences will change considerably.
Conferences where we can meet and network are the lifeblood of our community. For many it is their only chance to meet scientists from around the world, discuss data, projects, policies, concerns and further their careers. I am sure I am not alone in that the majority of my own career progression, and project development has come from conference discussion, and mostly the DSBS. My first was in Galway in 2000, and I have not missed one since. But is this happy picture of our regular conferences being the driver of our success as a community missing something important? The horrors of Covid-19 are going to force us to address this.
There is an alternative view. That our conferences only serve a small fraction of those that should have a stake in deep-sea science. They are exclusive, not inclusive. They are expensive and generally hosted by the wealthiest nations. They do little to encourage diversity, inclusivity or equity. Which brings me to my second point. The #BlackLivesMatter movement and associated protests around the world have forced individuals, institutions, societies, corporations, governments and intergovernmental organisations to reflect on their own degrees of exclusivity. DSBS is no exception. We cannot claim to be anything other than reactionary. Prior to last week, we had no code of conduct in the Society that explicitly made statements on racism or discrimination. We had no member of the Trustees whose job it was to promote diversity in our community. We had no funding stream to support diversity and inclusivity in our community. We must hold up our hands and admit that as a board and as a community we have done very little.
So, we are listening. We have an email address where you, our members, can reach out to your trustees to raise issues and propose solutions: email@example.com. We have proposed our first plan of action. And this August, we will have our first ever online-only meeting – eDSBS. The online-conference was not born out of a plan to address diversity. It was a necessary response to the postponement of the CBE meeting and hence our society Annual General Meeting (AGM). We have focussed it on the needs of early-career researchers, who would otherwise have nowhere to present their results and meet other scientists in their fields. But it is also an opportunity for us to explore, as a community, new ways of networking and meeting each other at vastly lower cost. This brings with it potential new ways we can improve the diversity and inclusivity of our community.
Next year will be our triennial Deep-Sea Biology Symposium. We have no plans to replace these meetings with online ones. Like most of you, I desperately want to see my colleagues again, to shake hands, have a hug, a coffee, a beer. Maybe not all those things will be possible. But some will be and we will facilitate it. But this 2020 moment of reflection, and our eDSBS this August should give us the momentum to think afresh about what we want as a community, and what we can do to make us inclusive, not exclusive.
I am excited for the future of our science. It continues to grow. Young minds are fizzing with ideas for our science. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be part of this community, and I want everyone to have the same.
President, Deep-Sea Biology Society
eDSBS is open to everyone in the deep-sea biology community, and talks and posters are welcomed on any subject that fits within our sessions. As the global pandemic has prevented the normal conference cycle this year, the trustees of the Society have decided that priority will be given to early-career researchers who need to present their work as part of their career milestones. However, we are very keen to receive abstracts from everyone to ensure we have a good balance of presenters.
Note that eDSBS is not a replacement for the normal deep-sea biology in-person meetings (e.g the Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, the Deep-Sea Coral Symposium or the Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems meetings). The cycle of these physical meetings is planned to continue from 2021.
eDSBS will also host the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Society, where the Trustees will present our financial reports and overview of activities of the past year, award prizes, and go over our plans for the next year.
22 May 2020: Registration opens (free to DSBS members). Register and submit abstracts here: https://forms.gle/YyB21k83a6Bofaw99
26 June 2020: Abstract deadline for talks or posters.
10 July 2020: Estimated date for sending confirmation of talks/posters to participants.
10 Aug 2020: Final registration deadline for non-presenting participants.
All deadlines are 24:00 UTC.
More information on the meeting format, science sessions, abstracts and presentation guidelines are available on the link below:
Please spread the word across your networks and to anyone who might be interested.
We look forward to meeting you all online soon!
Deep-Sea Biology Society Communications
Paris Stefanoudis, Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been continuously updating the Society’s website and social media with content derived from Deep-Sea Life 14, as part of the integration of the communication aspects of the Deep-Sea Biology Society, INDEEP and DOSI, and will continue to do so over the next six months with content from the upcoming Deep-Sea Life 15. You can see some examples on our website using the tag “Deep-Sea Life”. You can also access all previous Deep-Sea Life issues on the Society’s website and the INDEEP website.
We are witnessing a continuous growth on our Twitter account, which now stands ~5,400 followers, up ~7% from this point six months ago. We are committed to strengthen our social media presence in the coming months even more, so as to ensure that we stay connected with the growing community of deep-sea biologists around the world. You can follow us here.
We are really keen on promoting the next generation of deep-sea researchers on our social media and website, particularly Black, Indigenous and/or People of Colour, in order to inspire younger audiences, and promote diversity, inclusivity and equity in our field. This can be a simple tweet with a few lines on the work that you do, a picture, some URLs, or a more comprehensive scientist profile that can be featured on our website. The latter is an initiative that has already been in place for students (check https://dsbsoc.org/students/meet-the-next-generation-of-deep-sea-researchers/), but now will be expanded to include early career researchers as well. Therefore, if you are a student or early-career researcher interested in this, please get in touch with the Student Officer (email@example.com) and Early-Career Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org), respectively.
Finally, if you want us to help spread the word about upcoming events, courses, new papers etc. that are of interest to the wider deep-sea biology community please direct message us on our Twitter Account or contact our Communications Officer at email@example.com
Deep-Sea Biology Society Development
Julia Sigwart, Development Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Society is a registered charity in the UK and we recently gained important recognition that we have equivalent status under US regulations with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. We are always seeking new ways to diversify the income for the Society beyond the contributions from membership fees, so that we can support awards and meetings, but most importantly so that we can support efforts that diversify participation in deep sea biology at all career stages.
Donations to the Society can be received here: https://dsbsoc.wildapricot.org/Donate
Deep-Sea Biology Society Awards and Prizes
Rachel Jeffreys, Awards Officer, email@example.com
Paper of the Year
Deadline: Nominations to be received by 1 July 2020
This year the Society is awarding the ‘Paper of the Year’ award, which will be awarded to an outstanding paper published in the period leading up to the eDSBS meeting. The prize will be one-year free membership of the Society and a £100 cash prize. Please email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deep-Sea Biology Society cruise bursaries are designed to support student and early-career deep-sea biologists to participate in research cruises, encourage new collaborations and develop new research directions. Bursaries are awarded for travel, subsistence and associated shipping costs required to join a research cruise. These bursaries are open to graduate (Masters and PhD) students and postdoctoral scientists.
Up to £2000 will be awarded to facilitate cruise participation. Successful applicants should provide a twitter feed highlighting the cruise and with links and credit to the DSBSoc and produce a short video blog and report on their return for the Deep-Sea Biology Society website.
Prize for best Student and Early-Career Talks and Posters: eDSBS
A three-year free membership to the Society will be awarded to the best student as well as early-career oral and poster presentations at eDSBS.
All terms and conditions for our awards can be found on our website here: http://dsbsoc.org/grants-awards/society-awards/
Deep-Sea Biology Society Finances
Chris Yesson, Treasurer, email@example.com
Draft accounts covering 2019 have been submitted to the auditors and will be circulated to the membership for approval prior to the AGM.
The first half of 2020 has been relatively quiet for finances. Membership income is ~6% down on the same time last year. Membership remains our main income stream. Expected expenditure on the AGM scheduled for the postponed CBE meeting has been redirected to the virtual eDSBS meeting.
Deep-Sea Biology Society Early-Career Support
Andrea Quattrini, Early Career Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
To continue the early career webinar series, we will be hosting a webinar with the National Science Foundation Bio-Oce program managers on June 22 at 130pm EDT. We are also hosting several early career events during eDBS, including a virtual happy hour/tea hour, webinars and a panel discussion on international funding opportunities. We also wish to highlight early career researchers through the creation of scientist profiles on the Society website.
Deep-Sea Biology Society Students
Ily Iglesias, Student Officer, email@example.com
In addition to continued communication to our student members, we have been working collaboratively to highlight the research and journey of individual students through the creation of student profiles for the Society website. As mentioned above, the Society has decided to offer a eDSBS virtual conference this coming summer, which will provide a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their work and network virtually with other scientists in their field. We are currently working on a student-specific event for this conference that will focus on career progression and opportunities (details to follow soon), and will continue to be working to support future student-mentoring opportunities.
Deep-Sea Biology Society Mentoring
Rachel Jeffreys, Awards Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Quattrini, Early Career Officer, email@example.com
The mentoring network was set up as a space to provide advice and support for both graduate and early career researchers. It consists of groups of scientists at various stages in their careers, from graduate scientists to professors. The groups meet every 4-8 weeks via an online platform and discuss a variety of topics including but not limited to: paper writing, work-life balance, job applications and career progression.
Currently there are 11 mentoring groups with ~80 scientists. These groups have been in place since the summer 2019 and we hope that you are all finding the network useful. If you are interested in joining the network please do get in touch. Similarly if you already participate in the network and have any suggestions or ideas please let us know.
Deep-Sea Biology Society Membership
Santiago Herrera, firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership is stable, currently standing at 267, which is about on par with the beginning of 2020 (290). We expect an increase in membership over the next couple of months linked to the upcoming eDSBS meeting. As membership grows, the services that the Society offers to the community also increase in number and scope.