Beyond the Publication: Science Communication Strategies to Increase the Impact of Your Research

ROOM: Atlantis, Grand Ballroom 4
Publishing our research in peer-reviewed journals and agency reports is the primary way fisheries science is communicated. But how well are published findings received by the intended knowledge users? The conclusions of publications often have a targeted message for specific stakeholders, but does the publication find its way to the desk of the resource manager, city planner, or policy analyst that can use the knowledge? This symposium will explore how scientists have transformed their publications into media that ensure their message reaches target audiences using various methods in the science communication toolbox, such as interviews, social media, blogs, art, infographics, videos, and more.

8:20AM Plenary – Publication is Just the Beginning: Using Science Communication Strategies to Make Your Research Matter
  David Shiffman
9:00AM Snake River Cutthroat Trout and 7th Graders in the Hoback River Drainage of Wyoming
  Diana Miller, Leslie Bahn Steen
Fish movements and migrations are a subject of fascination due to the long distances documented for some species. Because of the appeal of this topic, it provides a unique opportunity to bring together numerous partners in a joint effort to educate the next generation of conservationists and anglers. The Adopt-A-Trout program in Wyoming is an educational experience for elementary school students to learn about aquatic systems through a multi-faceted teaching approach. Students partner with Trout Unlimited and state fisheries biologists to track fish in an actual research project. An Adopt-A-Trout program was implemented in the Upper Snake River drainage in Wyoming. Thirty Snake River Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarki ssp. from the Hoback River drainage were implanted with radio transmitters and tracked from September 2016 to July 2017. Snake River Cutthroat Trout in this study exhibited a variety of movements ranging from almost no movement to large migrations of more than 70 mi. This variation is likely what provides population resiliency in this dynamic river system. The data collected in this study was shared with 200 students in the Jackson Hole Middle School 7th grade class in order to teach about fisheries, watersheds, and aquatic systems.
9:20AM Using Video Media for Broader Impacts in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  Andy J. Danylchuk, PhD
Video media can be an effective tool for science communication, creating broader reach and making education and outreach more exciting. As the digital world expands, the general public has an ever-growing access to video media content through the Internet and smartphones, and scientists have greater access to video cameras, editing software, and distribution networks. Nevertheless, scientists are rarely trained to make video productions and the learning curve can be steep depending on personal expectations and those of the intended audiences. This presentation will share important considerations and tips when contemplating the use of video media for fisheries and aquatic sciences.
09:40AM Break
1:10PM Lights, Camera, Science! Using Video to Communicate Scientific Studies
  Erin Loury, Dee Thao, Tyler J. Pilger, Doug Demko
One goal of science communication is to use a variety of different tools to reach a diversity of audiences. Video can be an effective tool that reaches beyond the scientific community and helps put a face to both scientists and their science. For the last five years, FISHBIO has produced short videos to help communicate the findings of several scientific studies and projects. This talk will describe how FISHBIO scientists used the Message Box communication tool developed by COMPASS to distill and simplify messages for a video from a scientific publication. We will also discuss the process of creating a science-based video using a mix of interviews, narration, and B-roll (supplemental footage), and how other communication tools such as newsletters, blog posts, and social media can be used to amplify the impact of a video. Ultimately, communicating science with video requires translating complex and technical concepts into clear, compelling, and visually appealing stories.
1:30PM Are They Listening? Lessons Learned from Year One of the Fisheries Podcast
  Nick Kramer
I am Nick Kramer and this is a presentation about The Fisheries Podcast: a weekly podcast that shares the stories of the amazing people and projects that make up fisheries science. Every week I interview a different fisheries professional in an attempt to help spread the word about their research and in some cases, their backstory. The podcast has featured award winning professors and researchers at the highest level of their field, undergraduate and graduate students just beginning their careers, organizers of non-profit organizations, and even an eleven year-old who successfully championed his favorite fish to become his state fish. In this presentation we’ll go over the creation of this podcast, some of the numbers behind the podcast and its episodes, and provide some information on how you can create a podcast yourself if interested. There will be free stickers for those that attend.
1:50PM Beyond the Reel: Engaging Muskellunge Anglers, Researchers, and Fish Enthusiasts in My Juvenile Muskellunge Research
  Sarah Walton-Rabideau
Investigating the story of how, when, and why fish move at different life stages may satisfy an ecologist’s intrigue, but how can that story move beyond the pages of a journal? Here, I discuss how I used podcast and video media as powerful tools to cast out my research results. My graduate thesis focused on better understanding nursery habitat use by St. Lawrence River escoids their first fall period. In a complimentary study, I evaluated surgical processes and mini-acoustic tag implantation in age-0 Muskellunge. As I wrote my thesis I was contacted by Ugly Pike, a podcast series created by a dynamic angling duo who discuss everything Muskellunge. Four months later, I aired an hour-long podcast, since heard over 400 times, to share the story of what I suspected juvenile muskies and their congener Northern pike do as fall turns to winter. Post-graduation, I posted a one-minute, high-resolution video of a transmitter implant surgery on Facebook that has since been viewed over 6,500 times and shared nearly 30 times by professionals in academia, government, and angler groups across Canada and the United States. Moving the story from page to podcast and big picture clearly satisfies ecologists and fish enthusiasts alike.
2:10PM Emerging Threats to Freshwater Biodiversity – Bringing Attention to a Silent, Invisible Tragedy
  Andrea Reid, Steven Cooke
Fresh waters are among the most imperiled ecosystems on the planet, yet they are the focus of only a small fraction of the published conservation literature, they are entirely overlooked by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and they rarely capture the attention or imagination of the public at large. To help bring freshwater conservation issues to the fore, we assembled a team of freshwater ecologists who prepared a critical update on emerging threats to freshwater biodiversity and we went “beyond the publication” by sharing our primary findings publicly across a multitude of online and print platforms. We helped control the messaging by creating a press release article that we published in the creative commons and which was subsequently republished widely and internationally. By tracking our immediate impact through non-traditional bibliometrics, we could monitor in real time the traction of active social media conservations and article reactions (e.g. comments, likes, shares). This multi-pronged approach to promoting our publication had substantial and surprising co-benefits which to date have included invitations to deliver seminars at a range of forums, as well as a seat at the table of federal-level freshwater policy-makers.
2:30PM Reflections and Observations on Sharing Recreational Fisheries Science with the Angling Community
  Steven J. Cooke, Andy J. Danylchuk, Robert Arlinghaus
Over the past decade we have published a number of papers in the sphere of recreational fisheries science. We have also attempted to engage with the angling community and share our findings in an attempt to inform and modify angler behaviour. Here we reflect on our experiences with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, print media, and other venues for sharing our work. We also provide commentary on the potential perils of short-cutting the publication process and using these sources as the primary means of sharing “science”. This is an exciting period in that it is possible to obtain feedback from the angling community to ensure relevance of study design but is also a potentially worrisome period in that science is often misrepresented or misinterpreted in various public fora. We firmly believe that publishing peer reviewed papers is insufficient to change angler behaviour but also recognize that peer reviewed science should be the basis for science communication.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Annual Reports: The Cure for Insomnia or Something That Will be Read?
  Allen Martin
Most state fish and wildlife agencies produce annual reports at the project, division, and/or agency level. Historically, these documents have been voluminous, very technical, and often not read by very many people other than those who produced them. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management and Freshwater Fisheries Research Section have been changing annual reports to make them more readable in order to reach a wider audience. While this is still a work in progress, the efforts made to utilize various methods of communicating research and management activities and results will be highlighted.
3:40PM Communicating Your Publications to Stakeholders as an International Organization
  Ed Henry
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) Secretariat’s history and vision are a world leader among international organizations. As part of this strategic plan, increasing transparency to stakeholders is a top priority. Therefore, the IPHC has been developing the ability to efficiently and effectively communicate organizational information, promoting an external and internal understanding of IPHC activities. It is theorized that allowing stakeholders early access to published documents for major meetings, fishery openings, academic research results, and Secretariat staff activities will expand transparency and understanding of processes. The IPHC Secretariat utilizes a website as the authoritative location for official documents, meeting schedules, subsidiary body descriptions and much more. Also, expanded communication efforts include social media and newsletters with email notifications. This developing strategy will be discussed including structure of webpages, timeliness of document publications, and organizational branding. Also, internal communications’ protocols within publishing, web design, and social media teams will be outlined and include details on how management approval, efficiency and accuracy fit into the communication plan.
4:00PM Tell Me Something I DON’T Know: The Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Science Transfer Program
  Julia Hinderer, Andrew M. Muir
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Commission) funds a portfolio of research valued at several million dollars annually, ranging from fundamental to applied questions. The Commission also facilitates cooperative fishery management via the Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries. However, the research and management communities often operate in siloes; many research products are published in formats not easily accessed or used by resource managers. The Science Transfer Program (STP) was developed to identify science and science products that can inform fishery management needs and make it more accessible to managers for their decision-making. This presentation will tell the story of how the STP went from vision to reality, featuring both processes and products. We will cover the unique working arrangements – processes – that bring scientists and managers to the same table. We will then highlight some early products of the program, such as infographics on environmental DNA, a conceptual model relating lower trophic level changes to fishery management objectives, and a slide deck of “baseball cards” describing various sea lamprey barrier designs. Finally, we will discuss some initial lessons learned from program evaluation that may be informative for similar efforts.
4:20PM Meet the Press? Using Media Outreach to Build Public Interest in Fisheries Science
  Michael Milstein
While the ultimate achievement of many fisheries research projects may be a published paper in a science journal, few such papers reach the general public, not to mention the fisheries managers who could often make immediate use of the work. The good news is that there is a very effective communication tool widely available to researchers: the media. Local newspapers and radio stations are increasingly looking for opportunities to highlight local fisheries and wildlife issues, and often welcome the chance to observe science at work in the field. Inviting local media reporters into the field to observe research in action improves public understanding of and confidence in science, and draws the public into the process of science in a way that boosts scientific literacy and improves public understanding of fisheries issues. Researchers can often draw on their own agency’s public affairs staff for guidance, but even without that should feel empowered to contact the media directly, explain why the research matters, and suggest coverage of the effort. Approaching a media interview with a few key takeaway points to make will help ensure that coverage is effective and accurate.
4:40PM Discussion

Organizers: Ed Henry
Supported by: AFS Science Communication Section

Location: Atlantis Hotel Date: October 1, 2019 Time: 8:20 am - 5:00 pm