In October 2015, the Georgia Coastal Research Council (GCRC), which is funded in part by the Georgia Sea Grant College Program, held its sixth biennial Coastal Georgia Colloquium, bringing together coastal scientists and decision makers in Georgia.

The two-day event provided a forum for scientists and resource managers from around the state to collaborate, communicate and build meaningful partnerships. While the Colloquium focused on scientific work, participants’ presentations were organized to be relevant to managers, who in turn discussed what information is needed for their own programs.

Merryl Alber, a marine sciences professor who leads the GCRC and also serves as director of the Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, later spoke at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) Biennial Conference about the mission of organizations like the GCRC. Alber’s presentation, “Bringing coastal scientists and managers together in Georgia: the Georgia Coastal Research Council,” was part of a session on “Successful Science Story-Telling for Coastal Resilience.”

Her talk highlighted the efforts of the GCRC to synthesize scientific information for coastal agencies by providing a “teachable moment.” In the session, GCRC affiliates performed a skit demonstrating how interactions between scientists and managers can evolve to create long-term professional relationships. This forms the “centerpiece” of the GCRC Colloquium, which gives scientists and managers a chance to hone their own communication skills by quickly introducing themselves and their research in a way that is relevant to their audience.

Established in 2002, the GCRC now has over 150 affiliated scientists and managers from universities and federal and state agencies. Baseline support for the program is provided by Georgia Sea Grant College Program (GASG) and the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), with project-specific support from the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Program (NSF-LTER) and other agencies.