The second edition of Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat, edited by Peter Harris and Elaine Baker has been published at the end of last year and I was pleased to get my copy of the paperback version just a few weeks ago! The book is a “GeoHab Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats,” (GeoHab International Habitat Mapping community).
Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat: GeoHab Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats, Second Edition, provides an updated synthesis of seabed geomorphology and benthic habitats. This new edition includes new case studies from all geographic areas and habitats that were not included in the previous edition, including the Arctic, Asia, Africa and South America. Using multibeam sonar, the benthic ecology of submarine features, such as fjords, sand banks, coral reefs, seamounts, canyons, mud volcanoes and spreading ridges is revealed in unprecedented detail. This timely release offers new understanding for researchers in Marine Biodiversity, environmental managers, ecologists, and more. (Elsevier.com)
This book, as well as the first edition, contain a balance between different approaches to marine conservation, scientific theory of marine geology and geophysical mapping techniques. It is a joy to flick through the images, learn about different geomorphic features around the world and understand the state of the art approaches to surveying benthic habitats. The major part of the book contains detailed practical case studies as examples of different approaches to seafloor mapping and examination of the seafloor for marine conservation management and scientific purposes. The first edition of the book had been very useful during my PhD, with the opening Part 1 being vital guidance for me as a research student. My coauthor and I were please to be able to contribute a review chapter on the “Physical oceanographic drivers of geomorphology of rhodolith/maerl beds in Galway Bay, Ireland” (Chapter 12 case study by Joshi and Farrell) to this edition! This chapter is one of two case studies from Ireland, which form a part of the major “Case Study” portion of the book (Part 2). A synthesis chapter serves to be a useful benchmark, together with a summary of outputs of a questionnaire for authors (Part 3). A vital edition to all academic marine science libraries and for government scientists and marine biology and geological oceanography students.
One highlight of Dr Siddhi Joshi’s life was holding a Manx shearwater chick at Skomer Island, Wales, after climbing steep cliffs to clear marine debris before seal pupping season! Initially inspired by her scientific roots in marine ecology, Siddhi did her undergraduate in Marine Biology with Oceanography and then studied hydrography. Following her MSc, she came to Galway to study maerl coralline algae during her PhD in Earth and Ocean Science and Post-Doc in Geography. She presented at conferences, went on fieldtrips sampling maerl and is committee member of Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering. #InternationalWomensDay2020
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Follow Siddhi on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @seabedhabitats
Roundtable Seminar on Steps to Improve Gender Diversity in Marine and Coastal Geoscience and Engineering, NOCS by Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering and The Challenger Society for Marine Science at National Oceanography Centre Southampton.
A group of international female geoscientists including NUI Galway, have taken a close look at their profession and discovered the barriers to success, while also pinpointing the sometimes simple changes that can be made to attract more women into innovative industries. The revealing results are published today (4 September) in Nature Publishing Group’s social sciences journal, Palgrave Communications.
The researchers are part of the committee for the international network working for Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering (WICGE), spanning Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Spain. They found that although women make up almost a third of the coastal geoscience and engineering community, they represent only about one in five of its prestige roles.
Coastal geoscience and engineering (CGE) encompasses professionals working on coastal processes, integrating expertise across physics, geomorphology, engineering, planning and management. This study presents novel results of gender inequality and experiences of gender bias in CGE, and proposes practical steps to address it.
The study entitled ‘Steps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering’ saw the international team of researchers analyse the gender representation in the boards and committees of nine societies, 25 journals, and 10 conferences. Additionally, the scientists launched a global survey and obtained responses from 314 people.
Co-author of the study, Dr Siddhi Joshi from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, said: “Robust data on gender diversity is often scarce and studies like this are key building blocks for change. As a new female post-doctoral researcher in the coastal geosciences and engineering, it’s very important to get the support you need to deal with challenges such as microagressions (derogative comments or actions that are indirect). Networks such as WICGE and the Irish Association for Women in Geoscience, provides this support.”
Key findings from the study:
• Women represent 30% of the international coastal geoscience engineering community, yet there is underrepresentation in prestige roles such as journal editorial board members (15% women) and conference organisers (18% women).
• Female underrepresentation is less prominent when the path to prestige roles is clearly outlined and candidates can self-nominate or volunteer instead of the traditional invitation-only pathway
• By analysing the views of 314 survey respondents (34% male, 65% female, and 1% ‘other’), the study found that 81% perceive the lack of female role models as a key hurdle for gender equity, and a significantly larger proportion of females (47%) felt held back in their career due to gender in comparison with males (9%)
Lead and corresponding author of the study, Professor Ana Vila-Concejo, Associate Professor and co-leader of the University of Sydney’s Geocoastal Research Group and deputy director of the One Tree Island Research Station on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, said the solutions and suggestions were relevant for women in science and more generally.
Professor Ana Vila-Concejo, commented: “Our findings are important not only for our field of research but also for other fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and beyond. Reading the survey responses was harder than we had anticipated. We found flagrant examples of inequality that included dramatic decisions such as an early career researcher deciding to undergo an abortion out of fear of jeopardising her chances of securing an academic position.”
Examples of What is Holding Women Back
Gender stereotyping was amongst the most common manifestation of inequality in coastal geoscience and engineering roles. Stereotyping of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as not being as competent (or being incompetent), and not being taken seriously, is a key theme.
The existence of the “boys club” – in the experience of one survey respondent: “During a job interview, the lead engineer (male) was explaining how they have the ‘boys club’ here at the office. They did offer me the job, but I didn’t want to work in that type of environment.”
The “maternal wall” results from expectations that a woman’s job performance is affected by her having children.
Microaggressions and harassment – being overlooked and ignored in favour of male colleagues was a key issue, for example, one respondent noted: “Getting my first big grant and employing a male post-doctoral – our project partners treated him as the boss.” While another recalled comments about looks, such as “comments on my ‘pretty face’ being an asset for attracting clients”.
• Advocate for more women in prestige roles.
• Promote high-achieving females.
• Create awareness of gender bias.
• Speak up.
• Get better support for return-to-work.
• Redefine success.
• Encourage more women to enter the discipline at a young age.
Shari Gallop from Macquarie University, said: “The first four steps we recommend can be successfully implemented immediately, while others need institutional engagement and represent major societal overhauls.”
We are a network of women working in coastal geoscience, engineering across academia, industry and government. While gender equality is an issue across many disciplines, it is a particular problem in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In marine-related sciences, anecdotal evidence suggests that gender inequality may be most prevalent in coastal geoscience and engineering. This is often apparent at conferences with no female keynotes, a general lack of representation on committees and panels, and few women in senior positions in academia and industry.
The contributing organisations for this study include the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, NUI Galway, University of Wollongong, Bournemouth University, University of Waikato, Edge Hill University, University of Seville, Flinders University, University of Baja California, University of Newcastle, University of Bordeaux, UNSW Sydney. This blog post is based on the NUI Galway/University of Sydney joint press release.