First year MARINA Lab student Marisa Nixon presented at the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, B.C. on April 13. Her talk was part of a session entitled “Building coastal ocean social-ecological resilience in the Salish Sea: what does it mean and how can it be done?" sponsored by the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel and chaired by Ian Perry of Fisheries and Oceans Canada .

Nixon was elected by her peers to present at the conference on behalf Dr. Allison's winter quarter class, "Integrated Marine Affairs Practice." This class is second in the core sequence required of SMEA first year students, and focuses on frameworks for analysis of marine and environmental issues. This year, as part of a quarter-long project, students in the class used resilience assessment as a framework to examine the Salish Sea. Nixon, with the help of Dr. Allison, compiled the work of eight different student projects and reviewed additional literature and resources to create the presentation for the conference.

Her talk, "A Resilient Future for the Salish Sea? A Perspective from the Millennial Generation" focused on the role of inequity in catalyzing social 'tipping points' that can reconfigure social-ecological systems. Using examples to illustrate past social tipping points as they relate to equity in the Salish Sea, such as conflict over fishing rights prior to the 1974 Boldt Decision, Nixon argued that equity is a property of resilience for social-ecological systems like the Salish Sea, and that this has bearing on the way such systems are managed. Of course, these observations bring up many additional questions: How does one define thresholds in equity for resilience thinking, and what does it look like to proactively encourage transformation to a more equitable state? While these questions will require careful collaboration and deliberation to answer, Nixon offered that the Millennial Generation can serve as a shock to the system through shifting social and ecological values, and that merging diverse perspectives, knowledges and needs at all scales can lead to a more equitable and resilient future for the Salish Sea.

The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is held biennially and alternates between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle. First year MARINA Lab student Teressa Pucylowski volunteered at the conference, and many other SMEA students, alumni and faculty presented or were in attendance.