Marissa Pontillas (PSU) showcases the SESAMME app at the SIMSEA Regional Forum (photo: K Follosco)

CCRES at the SIMSEA Regional Symposium

by Kubi Follosco

How do we design a research program for large marine ecosystems?

The Sustainability Initiative for the Marginal Seas of South and East Asia (SIMSEA), a regional program designed after Future Earth’s principles of transformative research and global sustainability, proposes an inclusive, transboundary approach.

On 26-28 September 2016, SIMSEA brought together more than 100 scientists and practitioners from about 30 institutions in the region, for a Regional Symposium. A key objective was to explore opportunities for greater collaborative and integrative research for the sustainability of marginal seas.

CCRES team members from the Palawan State University (PSU) and the University of the Philippines – Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) participated in the event, which was held in Diliman, Quezon City.

CCRES moderated a session on “Building tools and knowledge to capture the value of ecosystem services,” where Kubi Follosco, the Philippines Country Coordinator provided an overview of the research being done in the project. In the same session, Vera Horigue, postdoc at the UPMSI, gave a presentation on how the spatially-explicit fisheries tool FISH-BE, and a sound governance context can help inform marine reserve network planning.

The systems dynamics fisheries decline team from PSU facilitated a workshop on using the Socio-ecological Systems App for Mental Model Elicitation (SESAMME) in a participatory approach to build systems models. Marissa Pontillas, Eva Marie Ponce de Leon, Gianina Decano and Precious Latras engaged workshop participants in a mock focus-group discussion, taking them through a condensed version of the process used in the CCRES pilot sites. The participants remarked that SESAMME has many potential applications, and showed interest in the group’s next steps.

The Regional Symposium was organised by SIMSEA, in partnership with the UPMSI, the International Council for Science Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ICSU-ROAP), Future Earth, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).