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Case studies of Regional Ecosystem Research (Report) Permanent Link

Integration & Application Network in collaboration with the NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research

Eight case studies highlight lessons learned in conducting regional-scale research and incorporating this information into management. The case studies represent a wide variety of physical and ecological contexts; these include the Great Lakes (Lake Erie), a river-dominated coast (northern Gulf of Mexico), tropical lagoon systems (Micronesia and South Florida), and coastal ocean systems (California coast, Bering Sea, Gulf of Maine, and the Northwest Atlantic). Case studies were chosen to display the variety of issues, funding, and participation involved in regional ecosystem research. Each case study provides perspectives on planning and implementation of regional ecosystem research from the point-of-view of scientists and managers.

Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Hotspots (Poster) Permanent Link

Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone

LOICZ is working to support sustainability and adaptation to global change in the coastal zone. This poster outlines global hotspots at risk: a) urbanization in coastal zones - urbanization and climate change are intensely linked in the coastal zone; b) islands at risk - small island states are threatened by coastal development and climate change; c) river mouth systems, including deltas and estuaries - large estuarine systems are "hotspots" of fluxes of water and dissolved substances, as well as particulate matter and sediments; and d) the arctic - arctic coastal societies are facing a combination of rapid changes involving environmental processes, cultural developments, economic changes, industrial developments, and political changes.

Coral Health Index (CHI): measuring coral community health (Report) Permanent Link

Kaufman L, Sandin S, Sala E, Obura D, Rohwer F, and Tschirky J

Science and Knowledge Division, Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA

Effective local management of coral reefs has a direct effect on reducing threats and improving overall coral community health. Careful zoning and effective enforcement of resource use within a marine managed area reduces impact of overfishing, allowing populations of grazing fish to rejuvenate and maintain healthy ecosystem functioning. Coral reefs that are healthy have greater resilience and ability to recover from chronic and acute stress. Adaptive management of coral reef communities will be most effective if a reliable annual indicator of community health is available to resource managers and policy makers. The Coral Health Index (CHI) is such as tool.

Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase II: building societal, economic, and ecological resilience (Report) Permanent Link

A report to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change from the Adaptation and Response Working Group

Boicourt KE and Johnson ZP (eds)

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, Maryland and Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, Maryland

This report details the findings of the Scientific and Technical Working Group, comprised of experts representing six sectors—human health, agriculture, forests and terrestrial ecosystems, bay and aquatic ecosystems, water resources, and population growth and infrastructure. Each sector assessed climate change vulnerabilities, and recommended adaptation strategies for the State of Maryland.

A Conceptual Basis for Monitoring Vital Signs: Shenandoah National Park (Brochure) Permanent Link

As a 200,000-acre natural oasis in the densely populated mid-Atlantic region, Shenandoah National Park is a refuge for both wildlife and people. This booklet illustrates the unique natural resources in the park and demonstrates the need for natural resource monitoring. It also explores the natural processes and human-caused activities that pose a threat to park ecosystems, and investigates the selection of vital signs—indicators of natural resource conditions.

Groundwater resources at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (Brochure) Permanent Link

The fragile natural and cultural resources such as anchianline pools, fishponds, and the nearshore marine areas are reliant to varying degrees on the groundwater that filters into Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Excessive withdrawal of groundwater by development wells upslope and outside the park may threaten those resources with drying out and saltwater intrusion, thereby putting native plant and animals that live in those environments at risk. This brochure outlines these issues.

Communicating science effectively to engage decision-makers (Presentation) Permanent Link

Presented by Bill Dennison at the Latornell conference, Ontario, Canada

This keynote presentation by Bill Dennison at Latornell conference in Toronto, Canada provides overarching science communication principles, the history of science communication, and how to incorporate visual elements. It details the resources that IAN has been developing, including our symbol libraries, online conceptual diagram creator, coastal assessment handbook and environmental report cards. For further details, see the related series of blog posts.

Local and global declines of seagrass: is there a glimmer of hope? (Presentation) Permanent Link

Presented by Dr. Tim Carruthers at the Global Environment Speaker Series at the University of Richmond

Seagrasses are abundant in tropical and temperate regions, providing critical habitat and food sources as well as other ecosystem services. However, seagrass are threatened compared with other major marine habitats. More than 50% of global studies report declines in seagrass area and rates of change are accelerating over time. Area of loss is at least one order of magnitude greater than the area of gain. Human population, invasive species, and nutrient input (fertilizer and sewage) are the key contributors to seagrass loss. Species and community shifts with increasing nutrient loading may indicate a glimmer of hope.

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Living with the Sea: Local efforts buffer effects of global change (Report) Permanent Link

Produced by Conservation International in collaboration with the Integration & Application Network

Establishment of marine managed areas (MMAs) is a long-term investment in secure and sustainable ecosystems—secure for the people that depend on them for sustenance and livelihoods, sustainable in terms of the long-term persistence of habitats and species present. The goal of MMAs is to operate over timescales of multiple generations and deliver returns of increased diversity and abundance of native organisms and ecosystem resilience, as the expected return of ecosystem health and robustness can take decades. Living with the Sea examines the role of marine managed areas in restoring and sustaining healthy oceans, particularly the importance of local management efforts.

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People and Oceans: Managing marine areas for human well-being (Report) Permanent Link

Produced by Conservation International in collaboration with the Integration & Application Network

Samonte G, Bunce Karrer L, Orbach M

Although much research has been done on the ecological benefits and challenges of marine resource management, comparatively little insight has been gained into the benefits and challenges of the human well-being aspects. This document addresses this gap by building on existing knowledge and synthesizing over 20 social science studies conducted over the past five years in 19 countries, involving over 35 scientists, and drawing on experiences in 52 marine managed areas (MMAs) worldwide.

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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.