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Transporting ideas between marine and social sciences: experiences from interdisciplinary research programs

Journal article
Authors Lucy M. Turner
Ramachandra Bhatta
Louise Eriander
Lena Gipperth
Kerstin Johannesson
Alin Kadfak
Iddya Karanusagar
Indrani Karanusagar
Per Knutsson
Kristjan Laas
Per-Olav Moksnes
Anna Godhe
Published in Elementa
Volume 5:14
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of marine sciences
Department of Law
School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords interdisciplinary, social science-natural science interface, human-environment systems, marine, climate, global change, blue economy
Subject categories Biological Sciences, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


The oceans comprise 70% of the surface area of our planet, contain some of the world’s richest natural resources and are one of the most significant drivers of global climate patterns. As the marine environment continues to increase in importance as both an essential resource reservoir and facilitator of global change, it is apparent that to find long-term sustainable solutions for our use of the sea and its resources and thus to engage in a sustainable blue economy, an integrated interdisciplinary approach is needed. As a result, interdisciplinary working is proliferating. We report here our experiences of forming interdisciplinary teams (marine ecologists, ecophysiologists, social scientists, environmental economists and environmental law specialists) to answer questions pertaining to the effects of anthropogenic-driven global change on the sustainability of resource use from the marine environment, and thus to transport ideas outwards from disciplinary confines. We use a framework derived from the literature on interdisciplinarity to enable us to explore processes of knowledge integration in two ongoing research projects, based on analyses of the purpose, form and degree of knowledge integration within each project. These teams were initially focused around a graduate program, explicitly designed for interdisciplinary training across the natural and social sciences, at the Gothenburg Centre for Marine Research at the University of Gothenburg, thus allowing us to reflect on our own experiences within the context of other multi-national, interdisciplinary graduate training and associated research programs.

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