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Coastal and marine ecosystems: Potential Effects on U.S. Resources & Global climate change (Report) Permanent Link

Author(s): Kennedy VS, Twilley RR, Kleypas JA, Cowan JH Jr. and Hare SR

This is the eighth in a series of Pew Center reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. environment. It details the likely impacts of climate change over the next century on U.S. coastal and marine ecosystems, including estuaries, coral reefs, and the open ocean. Coordinator: Dr Victor Kennedy

  • Temperature changes in coastal and marine ecosystems will influence organism metabolism and alter ecological processes such as productivity and species interactions.
  • Changes in precipitation and sea-level rise will have important consequences for the water balance of coastal ecosystems.
  • Climate change is likely to alter patterns of wind and water circulation in the ocean environment.
  • Critical coastal ecosystems such as wetlands, estuaries, and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to climate change.



Common Ground Summit for Controlling Agricultural Nonpoint Sources of Nutrients (Report) Permanent Link

http://ian.umces.edu/commonground/

In October 2001, approximately 20 of the nation's leading experts on agricultural nutrient dynamics and nonpoint source controls and on the environmental fate and effects of nutrient pollution will convene in a summit at Wye, Maryland. These experts from agricultural and environmental sciences will seek common ground in terminology, understanding, and effective strategies for controlling nutrient losses from agriculture, a major cause of eutrophication of inland and coastal waters. This IAN project is supported by the Coastal Ocean Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is being undertaken in cooperation with the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology. Coordinators: Dr. Donald Boesch and Russell Brinsfield of the Center for Agro-Ecology.



Marine Pollution in the United States: Significant Accomplishments, Future Challenges (Report) Permanent Link

Author(s): Boesch DF, Burroughs RH, Baker JE, Mason RP, Rowe CL and Siefert RL

Marine Pollution in the United States: Significant Accomplishments, Future Challenges has been prepared by UMCES' faculty experts for use by the Pew Oceans Commission in evaluating national oceans policy regarding environmental quality and marine resources. The Pew Oceans Commission is an independent group of distinguished Americans conducting a national dialogue on the policies needed to restore and protect living marine resources in U.S. waters. The report on marine pollution is the first in a series being developed to inform the Commission's deliberations. The Center will also assist the Commission by bringing together experts on coastal development and habitat change to provide similar technical assessments. Coordinator: Dr. Donald F. Boesch. Direct discharges of pollutants into the ocean and coastal waters has been greatly reduced over the past 30 years. Ambient levels of some persistent toxic pollutants, such as DDT and PCBs, have been decreasing in most U.S. marine environments. However, pollution from land runoff is largely unabated, and in some cases it has increased. As a result, diffuse sources now contribute a larger portion of many kinds of pollutants than the more thoroughly regulated direct discharges. Overenrichment of coastal ecosystems by nutrients, particularly nitrogen, has emerged as the most widespread and measurable effect of pollution on marine ecosystems. Excessive nutrient levels may result in serious depletion of the dissolved oxygen supplies needed by marine animals, loss of habitat and algal blooms. Two-thirds of the surface area of estuaries and bays in the contiguous U.S. suffers one or more symptoms of overenrichment. Because a majority of the nutrients in most regions now come from diffuse sources rather than direct discharges, reversing coastal eutrophication will require management strategies for watersheds reaching far inland from the coastal environment. Feasible measures include advanced treatment of municipal wastewaters, reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants and vehicles, control of ammonia missions from animal feedlots, more efficient use of fertilizers and manure, and restoration of wetlands and floodplains that act as nutrient traps.



Census of Marine Life (Report) Permanent Link

http://www.coml.org/

UMCES scientists and their collaborators are undertaking a first-ever census of the many forms of life in the Chesapeake Bay. This will be based primarily on the rich database generated by the recently completed Trophic Interactions in Estuarine Systems (TIES) project, which coupled conventional sampling of fish and plankton with innovative and synoptic optical, acoustic, and remote sensing. Data from other sources, such as the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Program, will also be integrated to provide seasonal summaries of the abundance of life at various size-classes and trophic levels, from phytoplankton to fish, on a Bay-wide basis. This is being undertaken as part of the international Census of Marine Life program as a test of the concept that such new technologies now allow the quantification of life in large marine ecosystems. Coordinator: Dr. Michael Roman.



Ecosystems and Global Climate Change:
A review of potential impacts on U.S. terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity (Report) Permanent Link

Author(s): Malcolm JR and Pitelka LF

This report was prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to provide an overview of the potential effects of climate change on natural terrestrial ecosystems and their component species. Published in December 2000, it is the fifth in a series of reports examining the potential impacts of climate change on the U.S. environment. Coordinator: Dr. Louis F. Pitelka.Consequences of Climate Change

Long-term observations now confirm that our planet has warmed over the 20th century and the scientific consensus is that Earth's climate will undergo dramatic changes in the 21st century. Climate change, something we are likely to experience in our lifetimes, is arguably the greatest challenge facing humankind in the new century.



The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change on Coastal Areas and Marine Resources (Report) Permanent Link

Author(s): Boesch DF, Field JC and Scavia D

This report, released by the Coastal Ocean Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of the U.S. National Assessment on global climate change, details the potential impacts of climate change on coastal and marine resources of the United States. Coordinator: Dr. Donald F. Boesch.

Coastal and marine ecosystems support diverse and important fisheries throughout the nation’s waters, hold vast storehouses of biological diversity, and provide unparalleled recreational opportunities. Some 53% of the total U.S. population live on the 17% of land in the coastal zone. Sea-level rise is projected to accelerate during the 21st century, with dramatic impacts in low-lying regions where subsidence and erosion problems already exist. Research is demonstrating that global changes may already be significantly impacting marine ecosystems, such as the impact of increasing nitrogen on coastal waters and the direct effect of increasing carbon dioxide on coral reefs. Scientific uncertainties and the long time scales relative to more immediate problems continue to act as barriers to the development and adoption of management responses. Thus, coping strategies should fully consider and integrate climate variability and change into coastal planning, and implement mitigation and adaptation mechanisms that offer the best chance for the long-term sustainability of coastal resources.



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

Goals

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.

Authorship

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.

Color

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.

Audience

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.