Implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to marine management points to several shared objectives between conservation and fishery management that require better knowledge of the life history of the exploited resources, elucidation of the information encoded in the calcified tissues (otoliths, scales, bones, shells, and corals) of marine and freshwater organisms, and support for knowledge-based, sustainable ocean management and use. Calcified tissues have been employed since the 19th century to gain knowledge of life traits, population structure, and environmental relationships of fish and molluscs. Breakthrough advances include the discovery by Pannella (1971) of the daily growth increments and the discovery by Radtke (1984) of otolith tracer approaches, resulting in an exponential growth of publications and four dedicated international symposia. IOS2014 will be the fifth in a series of independent symposia convened since 1993, to encourage the exchange of information and expertise, and promote the development of new techniques and applications for otolith-based analysis in ecology, management, and conservation. This international forum is the centre for the exchange of information on developments in the field. New techniques of analysis, statistical treatment, and indeed new areas of application are all presented in this forum. The IOS series started in Hilton Head (USA) in 1993, followed by IOS1998 in Bergen (Norway), IOS2004 Townsville (Australia), and the IOS2009 Symposium held in Monterey (USA). In general, attendance ranged between 250–350 participants. IOS2009 counted 268 registrants from 36 countries, despite the economic crisis.