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New directions in environmental science: Moving into Pasteur's Quadrant (Presentation) Permanent Link

September 2004 MEES Colloquium Horn Point Laboratory

This 46 slide presentation discusses the global coastal environmental challenge and the merits of conducting 'use-inspired basic research' - the so called 'Pasteur's Quadrant'. Global examples are given of research that has met this criteria and been effective at problem solving.

Conceptual diagrams: tools for science communication (Poster) Permanent Link

Riversymposium, 31 August - 3 September, 2004 Brisbane AUSTRALIA

This poster details the use of conceptual diagrams in effective science communication. Symbols are useful for depicting unequivocal messages that transcend cultures, languages and times. The use of symbols to construct conceptual diagrams ('thought drawings') can be an effective tool for science communication and problem solving. Conceptual diagrams help to clarify thinking and provide a communication interface between scientists and non-scientists. Conceptual diagrams can be used in a variety of publications including presentations, posters, science communication publications and peer reviewed scientific papers (color or b&w). The IAN symbol libraries contain hundreds of symbols for use in scientific conceptual diagrams. These symbols are available for free from the IAN website.

Proposal Writing: A Key to Success (Presentation) Permanent Link

May 2004, HPL, Cambridge, MD

This 19 slide presentation details the key elements of successful proposals. It provides simple techniques to improve your proposal writing, including thought development, the iterative process, reviewing the appropriate literature, explicitly stating the hypotheses and the zen of proposal writing.

Nutrient Management of Delmarva Soils & Waters (Newsletter) Permanent Link

March 2004

This newsletter is based on the 'Status of nutrients in Delmarva soils, groundwaters, creeks and tributaries forum', October 21, 2003. Extensive poultry operations and associated feed grain production on the Delmarva Peninsula have resulted in elevated nutrient levels in soils, groundwater, creeks and tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. Laws passed by state legislatures in 1998 and 1999 required nutrient management for nearly all farms and large-scale urban nutrient applications in Maryland and Delaware, and for poultry operations in Virginia. These laws were passed in an attempt to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus losses from agricultural production systems to state waters, particularly Chesapeake Bay. A science forum of regional soils, hydrology and marine experts was convened on October 21st, 2003 to explore recent information and reach consensus on the status of nutrients in soils, groundwater, creeks, and tributaries on the Delmarva Peninsula. Scientific information derived from the forum is summarized here to inform future management decisions regarding nutrients on Delmarva and elsewhere. The 15 assembled experts concluded that on the nutrient-enriched Delmarva Peninsula, nutrient application rates should be defined to provide reasonable environmental protection while maintaining crop yield optimization. Future management policy must be formulated to value water quality improvement along with crop yields, without imposing unreasonable economic hardships on the farmer. This could be facilitated with the help of subsidized activities already in place, such as cost share incentives.

Phragmites: Native or Introduced (Newsletter) Permanent Link

November 2003

This newsletter describes the historical distributions of both native and introduced Phragmites. It details the invasion of the introduced type in North America (determined through genetic analysis), and morphological differences between the native and introduced types, as well as some commonly used control methods and their associated problems. Phragmites is thought to be one of the most widespread plants on earth. Phragmites is found on every continent except Antartica and is common throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Over the last 150 years, the distribution of this plant has increased across North America and this invasion has been attributed to factors such as disturbance, shoreline development, pollution, and eutrophication of waterways.

Zen and the art of science communication (Presentation) Permanent Link

October 2003 HPL, MD

This 49 slide presentation describes the importance of good communication of scientific results. It shows techniques for effective science communication, including the use of conceptual diagrams, maps, photos, tables & figures, and video. Specific details are presented for preparing good proposals, presentations, posters, papers, websites, newsletters, books, mass media, and video.

The art of science communication: using PowerPoint effectively (Presentation) Permanent Link

June 2003 HPL, MD

This 67 slide presentation describes some of the key issues for producing Powerpoint Presentations for effective science communication. It highlights the need for effective science communication (including the 10 commandments!). Several examples of bad presentations are included to identify common mistakes. Examples of effective usage of key elements (conceptual diagrams, maps, photos, video clips, tables & figures and text) are detailed, along with more technical issues such as file format and layout are discussed. The presentation finished with a 'Rules of Thumb' list for producing good science communication PowerPoint presentations.

Conceptual Diagrams: A tool for science communication (Presentation) Permanent Link

Various dates and locations

This 67 slide presentation describes the use of conceptual diagrams as science communications tools in presentations, science newsletters, books and peer reviewed journal articles. It provides historical and recent examples of good conceptual diagrams, as well as the ten commandments for conceptual diagrams. A mini tutorial is included to guide you through the process of making a conceptual diagram in Illustrator and PowerPoint, as well as how to make new symbols.

Environmental problem solving in coastal regions (Presentation) Permanent Link

November 2002 International Water Association Sustainability Workshop, Venice, Italy March 2003 Wetland Ecosystems of Asia, Hong Kong, China

This 46 slide presentation presents a overview of global coastal issues as well as case studies to drive home the timeliness and appropriateness of focusing efforts on environmental problem solving in coastal regions. Summaries developed in Land Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone workshops are presented as well as detailed case studies of environmental problem solving in Moreton Bay, Australia and Chesapeake Bay, USA. Aspects of several other case studies are also invoked and the recommendations for both Chesapeake Bay efforts as well as global efforts are made.

Balancing limitation and excess: ecophysiological implications for seagrass survival (Presentation) Permanent Link

October 2002 5th International Seagrass Biology Workshop, Ensenada, Mexico

This 28 slide presentation presents an overview of seagrass ecophysiology, focusing on light, nutrients, water motion, sediment accretion and grazing as major features influencing seagrasses globally. The balance between limitation and excess is given for each of the environmental factors, with real world examples identified. Differences between tropical vs. temperate seagrass communities are highlighted. This presentation serves to demonstrate that, generalizations about seagrass ecophysiology must be scrutinized and rigorously tested in a variety of locations.

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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.