Plenary Speaker

Meet the Plenary Speaker

The Program Committee is proud to introduce our esteemed and impactful plenary speaker for the 2024 chapter meeting!

Dr. Sonia Ibarra
University of Alaska Fairbanks


Increasing representation of Indigenous voices and knowledge systems in Western science

Plenary Date: March 26, 2024
9:00 AM

“Complex resource issues that incorporate scientific approaches often require thinking outside of disciplinary boxes, challenging our notions of what are useful data to consider, and should be considerate of what voices or data are left out. In Southeast Alaska, the reintroduction and expansion of sea otter populations have triggered cascading effects with profound impacts on local food security—particularly the harvest of customary and traditional subsistence foods in rural coastal communities.  This presentation will share work that bridges local and traditional ecological knowledge with ecological studies to investigate how sea otters and people impact local shellfish beds in rural communities and to explore Indigenous community management recommendations that may facilitate environmental and community sustainability. Prior to conducting our work, we consulted with tribal councils, tribal leaders, community members, and elders with the implicit purpose to elicit feedback on all aspects of research. By engaging communities throughout the entire research, we created a strategic road map that helped identify knowledge that is sensitive or inaccessible, fostered opportunities for constructive community engagement and community awareness of the project, with hopes of creating an equitable platform in which researchers and community members are drivers of genuine collaborative research.”


In lieu of three plenary speakers, the Planning Committee has opted to host a public event in collaboration with the Seward Chamber of Commerce as a “fisheries and marine science” sampler. More details can be found here!