GMC’s Cathryn Pearce is New Chair of the British Commission for Maritime History

At the July 2017 meeting, Cathryn Pearce was honoured to accept the position of Chair for the British Commission for Maritime History. She is stepping into a role previously held by the University of Hull’s Dr David J. Starkey and the University of Greenwich’s Professor Sarah Palmer.


The BCMH was formed in 1991 as a charitable trust to encourage enthusiasts, historians, and students to research and study maritime history. Originally established as the British branch of the International Commission for Maritime History, (dissolved in 2016 upon its merger with the International Maritime Economic History Association), it maintains links with the newly formed International Maritime History Association. Trustees are drawn from museums, universities, maritime organisations, independent researchers, and publishers; they are all distinguished researchers and practitioners of maritime history. The BCMH is sponsored by such important maritime organisations as The Society for Nautical Research, The Maritime Information Association, and Lloyd’s Register. To support its mission for education, the BCMH  awards prizes to undergraduates, MA and PhD students, organises the public lecture series at King’s College London and Lloyd’s Register, as well as convening the annual New Researchers in Maritime History conference, held at various locales around the country. For 2018, the New Researcher’s Conference will be hosted in Bristol by the S.S. Great Britain Trust.


Cathryn will take the helm to guide the BCMH forward in this time of organisational adjustment, to increase support for its educational mandate, and to meet the exciting challenges offered by recent disciplinary transformations.

An optimist’s guide to managing ecosystem services

Keynote Lecture Series: “An optimist’s guide to managing ecosystem services”

Wednesday, 6th September 2017 – 17:30 to 20:30
The Edinburgh Room (QA075)
Queen Anne Court
University of Greenwich
30 Park Row
SE10 9LS

This Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture will be given by Tom Oliver, Associate Professor in Landscape Ecology at the University of Reading. This 45 minute lecture will be followed by a panel discussion, Q&A and light refreshments. Members of the panel are Georgina Mace, Michael Winter, Charles Godfray and Rob Fish.

Please find more information here: 

Lecture Abstract

“Traditional conservation based on moral imperatives hasn’t worked. The new paradigm in conservation is to engage, rather than shun, the neoliberal market system by quantitatively integrating the value of nature into economic decision making.  Ecosystem services provided by nature are measured and this information is brought to bear on land use decisions, increasingly through monetary valuation”. We might think that this is a rational, pragmatic approach to conservation, compared to the naive optimism of ‘traditional’ approaches. Yet, is it equally idealistic? For example, how do we pick and prioritise which ecosystem services we want in a given location? How do we measure all the services that are important for society, not just a select few that are more amenable to measurement? How can we value and plan for the resilience of ecosystem services under environmental perturbations (e.g. extreme weather events, disease outbreaks etc.) that are likely to occur in the future? In this lively presentation, I will use selected scientific examples to make the case that seeking solely a quantitative economic approach to ecosystem service management is naïve and unrealistic. A reality check is needed, because whilst the advancement of quantitative accounting and valuation methodologies is still necessary, there is an urgent need to look towards more systemic and transdisciplinary approaches if we are to safeguard essential biodiversity and ecosystem services under accelerating global change in the Anthropocene.