ICMB XI Postponed

Dear ICMB community,

After much deliberation, the ICMB Local Organizing Committee (LOC) and Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) have decided to postpone ICMB XI until May 2022.

We decided to postpone the meeting first and foremost to ensure the safety and health of participants and our community. We simply do not know whether large gatherings or international travel will be safe and feasible in May 2021, and we have made this decision to postpone with the hope that future meetings can occur safely.

In addition, the general uncertainty around international travel, including airline itineraries, travel bans, and isolation guidelines have convinced us that COVID regulations would result in uneven opportunity and participation based on country of origin. Such restrictions would undermine our goal for a diverse and inclusive conference. Even if travel restrictions and safety issues are resolved before May 2021, inequities among prospective attendees, organizations, and countries in the level of financial disruption and uncertainty would prevent attendance for many.

While we considered transforming ICMB XI into a virtual conference, we feel strongly that the interpersonal connections and development of the marine invasions community are a fundamental aspect of ICMB meetings and that this is difficult to recreate online. Moreover, there would be significant logistical challenges associated with a full, multi-day virtual meeting attended by people from all over the world in different time zones. Thus, having a fully virtual meeting replace the next in-person meeting does not provide a good alternative.

We recognize that the postponement of the conference means that some students won't be able to present or participate in a meeting of our community, since the last conference was in 2018. We are now considering additional ways to engage these students and highlight the work of the 2018-2021 cohort, including smaller focused virtual talks, workshops, publications, or seminars. News on these efforts will come later this year.

We now have scheduled the ICMB XI to occur from 15-19 May 2022 and have reserved the same venue in Annapolis, Maryland. We are hopeful that this delay will allow us to hold the in-person conference and provide opportunity for our entire community to participate. We hope you all stay well and are able to join us!

We urge you to stay up to date with ICMB XI updates by subscribing to the email listserv or following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Best regards,

Greg Ruiz, Chela Zabin, and Jeff Crooks