Not Fish, Not Meat: Some Guidance on How to Study Fisheries from an Interdisciplinary Perspective
Fisheries science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, as we better understand the complexity of social-ecological systems. However, it is challenging to implement projects that collate expertise among disciplines. In this essay we pose several key steps that if followed will improve the likelihood that interdisciplinary projects will be successful. No investigator can be proficient at all disciplines, and thus, developing a solid foundation in a specific field is critical before tackling interdisciplinary work. Seek out ‘brokers’ as project leaders, who are well read in multiple disciplines, can help translate disciplinary jargon, and think outside the narrow specialized boxes. Next, take the time to identify people who will work well with the group and are open to integrating their findings with other collaborators. Finally, identifying how the project components will be integrated at the end is critical to success. Too often, projects begin with many components but in the end the pieces aren’t adequately linked, making the project fall short of its potential. We predict that the need for interdisciplinary studies will increase in the future, and following these steps can help insure that projects are successful in reaping the benefits of interdisciplinary thinking and products.