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Our Path Forward: The Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan for Maryland's Coastal Bays (2015-2025) Permanent Link

Our Path Forward represents a revision to the 1999 Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan for the Coastal Bays of Maryland. The work is the culmination of three years (2012–2014) of technical investigation and community involvement to protect the future of the Coastal Bays.

Dancing with dugongs Permanent Link

Having fun and developing a practical philosophy for environmental teaching and research

Oliver PE and Dennison WC

This book is for environmental managers. Physically, our environment gives us everything we need, but then there are things that we just 'want', so as our wants grow, the demands we place on our environment increase even more rapidly. As awareness of these environmental pressures grow, so too do the numbers of people working in environmental fields. People can burn out trying to balance their desire to protect the environment with a wide variety of demands. This book tells the story of Prof. Bill Dennison and Dr. Peter Oliver, two men who have between them spent 60 years of their lives better understanding catchments, waterways, and people and how they interact. It is the result of them sharing stories about their work with each other and having fun doing it. They have recognized that looking after the environment should also be fun, and that there is a real need to reflect individually and with others on the 'how' and 'why' of our work. Articulating such a practical philosophy can help us to do our work better. Bill and Peter have also recognized key lessons in several areas including science communication, empowering communities and working in school and university settings. These lessons are well illustrated in the pages within.

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Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment Permanent Link

Kruczynski WL and Fletcher PJ

This book summarizes information on the south Florida marine ecosystem in a manner that is easy to read and understand. The book covers physical and biological oceanography, ecology, human impacts, and climate change. This book is unique in that it consists of fact pages that were prepared by 162 experts in their scientific disciplines. Filled with rich graphics and photos, it is appropriate for students, educators, scientists, and stakeholders.

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Taking Steps toward Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management - An Introductory Guide Permanent Link

Agardy T, Davis J, Sherwood K and Vestergaard O

United Nations Environment Programme

Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems provide valuable services - from food security, resources for economic growth and recreation alongside tourism and coastline protection. Published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this guide on Marine and Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM), seeks to assist countries and communities to take steps towards making marine and coastal ecosystem-based management operational - from strategic planning to on-site implementation. It outlines operational considerations in an accessible language, drawing upon practical experiences and lessons across the globe - from tropical coastlines to temperate estuaries and polar ocean ecosystems.

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Integrating and Applying Science: A handbook for effective coastal ecosystem assessment Permanent Link

B.J. Longstaff, T.J.B. Carruthers, W.C. Dennison, T.R. Lookingbill, J.M. Hawkey, J.E. Thomas, E.C. Wicks, J. Woerner

Vast areas of the globe's coastal zone have experienced significant declines in ecosystem health. Deteriorating water quality, loss and alteration of vital habitats, and reduced populations of fish and shellfish are some of the major changes recorded. Establishing and running an effective assessment program is a complex process that necessitates strategic collaboration and partnerships between many individuals and agencies. This book was written to make the process of running a coastal assessment program easier and the outcomes more effective. It provides a step-by-step approach from data collection and information management to synthesis and application and draws on the knowledge of a variety of coastal scientists and managers.

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Shifting Sands: Environmental and cultural change in Maryland's Coastal Bays Permanent Link

William C. Dennison, Jane E. Thomas, Carol J. Cain, Tim J.B. Carruthers, Matthew R. Hall, Roman V. Jesien, Catherine E. Wazniak, & David E. Wilson

Referring to both the dynamic nature of the barrier islands forming the coastal lagoons of Maryland’s Atlantic Ocean coastline and also the changing cultural landscape, Shifting Sands is a richly illustrated, multi-authored introduction to Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, St. Martin River, Sinepuxent Bay, Newport Bay, and Chincoteague Bay. This book leads the reader on a voyage of discovery, providing a user-friendly guide to the history, setting, context, and ecology of these waterways nestled behind Assateague, Fenwick, and Chincoteague Islands. Photographs, conceptual diagrams, maps, and graphs are used to showcase the key features of and major threats to these magnificent bays, watersheds, and islands, with recommendations for how to preserve them for future generations.

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Oceanography: An Observer's Guide Permanent Link

For sailors, fishermen, yachtsmen, merchant seamen, Navy and Coast Guard personnel, midshipmen and cadets, Sea Semester students...and everyone else going to sea.

Nelson Marshall

While engaged in professional oceanographic research and teaching, Marshall, like the postman who goes for a hike on Sundays, spent much of his free time cruising in his 30-foot auxiliary sloop. Underway he realized that, with the equipment readily available on vessels, whether large or small, interested observers could learn a great deal about their surroundings. This prompted him, in his retirement, to write Oceanography: An Observer's Guide. It was Professor Marshall's hope that this book would enrich the experience of all who travel on the high seas.

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Enclosed Experimental Ecosystems and Scale: Tools for Understanding and Managing Coastal Ecosystems Permanent Link

Petersen JE, Kennedy VS, Dennison WC and Kemp WM (Eds.)

The environmental challenges now facing humanity are particularly acute in the coastal zone. Research in this region and in other aquatic ecosystems is complicated by interactions that occur over broad scales of time, space, and ecological complexity. Enclosed experimental ecosystems have become critical research tools because they provide a degree of control not achievable through field experiments. Yet to date, techniques for systematically extrapolating results to larger, more open, more biodiverse, and more heterogeneous ecosystems in nature have not been well developed. This book is designed to provide a comprehensive and practical guide and reference for improving the design and interpretation of research conducted in experimental ecosystems.

River Journeys Permanent Link

Published by the International Riverfoundation, with contributions by Jane Thomas and Bill Dennison from the Integration and Application Network.

This richly illustrated book provides personal accounts derived from interviews with Riverprize recipients over the past 10 years.

Defending our National Treasure: A Department of Defense Chesapeake Bay Restoration Partnership 1998-2004 Permanent Link

Lane H, Woerner JL, Dennison WC, Neill C, Wilson C, Elliott M, Shively M, Graine J and Jeavons R

Defending Our National Treasure: A Department of Defense Chesapeake Bay Restoration Partnership 1998–2004 provides an overview of major issues impacting the Chesapeake Bay, history of the Department of Defense’s involvement in Bay restoration efforts, current Department of Defense Chesapeake Bay restoration initiatives, specific case studies, and viewpoints of various key individuals dedicated to restoration. These topics are presented in a richly illustrated style including maps, photographs, conceptual diagrams, and figures to uniquely communicate information and make it accessible to a broad audience. Each section provides the essence of each topic rather than the complete and comprehensive treatment. For example, there are numerous documents describing Chesapeake Bay and Department of Defense initiatives (www.denix.osd.mil). Defending Our National Treasure provides the context and background for the issues impacting the Chesapeake Bay and describes the restoration activities conducted on the Department of Defense installations within the Bay watershed.

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"Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action." Paul J. Meyer


A goal of IAN Press is to empower scientists to directly communicate their ideas and concepts. Publications from IAN Press are designed to transform the uninterested to interested; the interested to involved and the involved to engaged.

IAN Press products are designed to be examples of good science communication principles, and the hope is that others will employ these principles so that scientific understanding can be disseminated widely as possible. The production of IAN Press communication publications involves experimentation with communication techniques and, as such, provides various ideas for science communication that can be emulated.

The comparisons and contrasts that IAN Press provides on environmental subjects intend to stimulate scientists, managers, practitioners, policy makers, students and other readers to think more broadly and expansively about the region and issues that they face. The extensive use of visual elements accesses a broader cultural diversity as well, which allow for more global perspectives.

The conclusions and recommendations presented in IAN Press publications are crafted to empower actions, plant seeds of ideas and provide justification for people to take appropriate action to find solutions to environmental problems. The conclusions are made as explicit as possible by employing active titles and featuring them prominently (e.g., front section of books or back cover of newsletters).

On costs

IAN Press does not provide author royalties and the design and layout of the publications conducted by a talented team of Science Communicators is underwritten by various grants and contracts. Marketing is limited to the internet and word-of-mouth, also reducing costs. Thus, the price of IAN Press publications is solely to reimburse the actual printing costs entailed. The intent is to provide the broadest possible readership, thus keeping costs as low as possible is paramount. Typically, full color is used, virtually on every page, which does increase print costs, however, the use of color is a key element in providing accessible information to a wide audience and the lack of author royalties or design/layout charges.

Peer review

IAN Press undertakes a rigorous review process by both peer scientists and resource managers. In addition, Integration and Application Network Science Integrators and Science Communicators read, edit and review all aspects of IAN Press publications, including text, conceptual diagrams, photographs, maps, figures and tables. Many IAN Press publications are multi-authored, and each author contributes to the review and editing of the entire publication. This is not the classical peer review system of a limited number of anonymous reviewers working with an editor to recommend changes, rather a larger number of non-anonymous reviewers that develop consensus on each word, visual element and recommendation. The review process is often accelerated by IAN Press to accommodate timely publication.


IAN Press attempts to be as authorship inclusive as possible and to provide attribution to each visual element. Authorship is not ranked or ordered, and the credibility of the IAN Press product should be based on the scientific data presented and the collective effort of a multiple of contributors, both with and without formal academic training.

Science Communicators are the key element in the production of IAN Press documents. They design the layout of the document, obtain and edit the visual elements, designate the amount and style of text, and orchestrate the review and editing process. IAN Press documents are produced using a 'storyboard' approach, in which the central message(s) are identified and various visual elements selected to support the central message(s). This is in contrast to the more traditional method of writing text and adding in visuals subsequently. In video and film production, storyboards are used and the producer is key to assembling the visual elements. Science Communicators serve in an equivalent role in terms of assembling all the pieces that go into the publication.


IAN Press relies extensively on color for photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, figures and even text and tables to a limited degree. The use of color allows for an increased data density and provides a bigger visual impact considering the amount of the human brain devoted to visual discrimination of colors. Color allows for greater discrimination of visual elements and in data presentation, a closer juxtaposition of different elements and greater comparative utility. The preponderance of color printers and the ability of electronic versions to be displayed in color promote the inexpensive dissemination of full color documents. In order to help color-blind people compensate, an effort is made to provide other visual clues in graphics, such as symbols with different shapes or map delineations with different shading or texture, but some of the visual impact will be compromised.


IAN Press does not target a narrow, specific audience, rather attempts to be as inclusive as possible. As the world becomes more specialized, with marketing forces that promote highly targeted advertising campaigns, IAN Press products attempt to reach the broadest audience possible. IAN Press attempts to raise the bar rather than dumb down the message by using non-technical language, defining all terms and reducing acronym use. By providing synthesis, visualizations and context, we feel that relatively sophisticated concepts can be grasped by a non-technical audience. In fact, science has become highly specialized and often the language, tools and approaches used in various scientific disciplines are relatively incomprehensible to specialists in other disciplines. Thus, one audience of IAN Press is scientists from other specialties to encourage inter-disciplinary thinking and approaches.

Why use print media?

With the growing popularity of electronic media, the carbon footprint involved in producing and distributing paper products, and the ability to provide infinite resources via the web, it could be argued that IAN Press should disseminate entirely via electronic means. While IAN Press provides downloadable, web accessible materials, IAN Press continues to produces written products for the following reasons:

  1. There is rigor and discipline required in producing science communication products that have limited 'real estate', that, is limited amounts of space to convey a message. A paper product maintains focus, while web links can lead to tangential issues. The priority setting required to establish the final layout and include various communication elements is important in conveying information. Fixed 'real estate' forces condensation, synthesis and integration. Every visual element is uniquely created for the purpose of conveying the specific information intended, rather than repurposed from other sources.
  2. The written product invites non-linear reading, and a quick scan allows readers to delve into the visual elements most interesting to them. If a reader is most attracted to photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, or figures, they can migrate to these elements and the figure legends should be self explanatory. Alternatively, if reading text is the preferred way of obtaining information, the text is designed to be self sufficient. The juxtaposition of text and various visual elements also conveys important information, something that can be lost via hyperlinks on the web. In addition, electronic books with the current technology do not support color graphics.
  3. Since various IAN Press products are intended to inform a broad community from policy makers to the general public, the weight of scientific support that can be marshaled can be a factor in empowering people to action. In order to make an impact, the difference between hundreds of web pages and hundreds of printed pages is one reason to provide print versions of IAN products. In addition, internet access is not equally applied globally or socially, and in some societies and sectors of society, a written product provides a more accessible source, particularly through libraries and schools.
  4. Printed materials provide a 'time stamp', a fixed point of time when the data are assembled and the conclusions are reached. Rather than constantly updating the data and conclusions, drawing the line in the sand as to what is known at a particular time point is what printed products do. The shelf life of science communication products should be somewhat limited due to the increased scientific understanding based on ongoing research, yet the record of what is known, and when it is known, provides an important archival body of information.
  5. "The product drives the collaborative process"; in that the science communication product forces an intensely collaborative process of obtaining and refining visual elements, drafting and editing text, and experimenting with layout and design. While this collaborative process can be conducted with the production of web materials, print deadlines are a good way to insure timely delivery. In addition, to obtain buy-in from many scientists whose training and experience are in producing printed papers and books, printed copies are often necessary.