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Future directions of fisheries management: An ecosystem-based approach Permanent Link

Author(s): Boicourt K, Longstaff BJ and Townsend H

This newsletter describes current and future directions of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management (EBFM). While the standard approach to fisheries management has been to focus on one species at a time, EBFM characterizes a greater number of ecosystem components, including the physical and chemical properties of systems. The newsletter explores the current and potential applications of the ecosystem-based approach. This newsletter is a collaboration between EcoCheck and NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office.



Weather extremes lead to typical conditions Permanent Link

Newsletter prepared by Caroline Wicks and Ben Longstaff on behalf of the Tidal and Monitoring Analysis Workgroup members

This newsletter addresses the extreme weather conditions that the Bay area experienced during the spring and summer of 2006 and how these weather conditions affected the summer ecological forecast that was released in May 2006 and other aspects of Bay health. The forecast focuses on dissolved oxygen in the mainstem, harmful algal blooms in the Potomac River and aquatic grasses in three locations in the Bay. Scientists have been tracking these conditions through the summer to provide an assessment of summer conditions and to evaluate the forecast.



Investigating menhaden recruitment variability: Modeling the relationship between striped bass recovery and menhaden recruitment Permanent Link

Author(s): Zhang X, Wood RJ, Wicks EC and Longstaff BJ

This newsletter summarizes ongoing development of a model that describes fluctuations in the number of young menhaden within Chesapeake Bay. Using both menhaden spawning stock and striped bass predation potential, the model successfully accounts for most of the variability (~70%) seen in Chesapeake Bay menhaden recruitment. With our ongoing work suggesting that weather patterns can improve the model, this approach appears to have the potential to support ecosystem based management for the Bay's menhaden and striped bass fisheries.



Early summer rain event Permanent Link

Newsletter prepared by Caroline Wicks and Ben Longstaff on behalf of Tidal Monitoring and Analysis Workgroup members

This newsletter describes some of the monitoring data and the response from the Chesapeake Bay community to the high rainfall event that moved through the Bay watershed from June 24 to June 28, 2006. In some areas of the watershed, up to 15 inches of rain fell and much of the area received 5 inches or more. The Chesapeake Bay Program quickly organized an effort to monitor and analyze dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll a and aquatic grass in the Bay.



Enhancing Landscape Integrity in Coastal Louisiana: Water, Sediment & Ecosystems Permanent Link

July 2006

This newsletter is based on the findings of the Conceptual Ecological Model Focus Group—March 2006 and provides a number of key conclusions and recommendations. The natural & human landscapes of coastal Louisiana are characterized by complex relationships among water, sediment & ecosystems. The sustainability of these landscapes is dependent upon critical processes that support the integrity of ecosystem features.



MASC Newsletter 5 - Ecological Forecast, Summer 2006 Permanent Link

Newsletter prepared by Ben Longstaff and Caroline Wicks on behalf of Tidal monitoring and analysis workgroup members

This newsletter describes the methods used and the predictions for the 2006 summer ecological conditions in Chesapeake Bay. The forecast focuses on three important elements of the Bay's health-dissolved oxygen (DO), harmful algal blooms (HABs) and changes in bay grass distribution. This summer it is predicted that the amount of mainstem anoxia (low dissolved oxygen) will be moderate compared to previous years, that there is a moderate to high likelihood of harmful algal blooms in the Potomac River and that a small expansion in aquatic grasses is expected in the northern Bay and lower Potomac River.



EcoCheck Permanent Link

Newsletter prepared by the EcoCheck group

EcoCheck is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. This newsletter conveys their goals and approach towards improving Chesapeake Bay health. The types of projects on which EcoCheck works are also described in the newsletter.



Reducing flood damage in coastal Louisiana: Communities, culture & commerce Permanent Link

January 2006

This newsletter is the product of the Conceptual Ecological Model workshop, held in Louisiana in November, 2005. Coastal Louisiana is home to the nation’s largest port complex in both tonnage and infrastructure, and produces or transports nearly one-third of the nation’s oil and gas supply. In addition, the coastal Louisiana ecosystem provides nationally-important fish and wildlife habitat that supports the nation’s second-largest commercial fishery and over $1 billion per year in recreational fishing and hunting revenues. All of these activities are supported in Louisiana because of the close proximity of its skilled workforce to the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal land loss has placed these economic and natural resources at increased risk of loss due to the intense effects of waves and storm surges from hurricanes. Restoration of the coastal ecosystem can work synergistically with levees and floodgates to provide an integrated flood protection system that allows continued resource production and sustains the ecosystem services on which the nation relies.



MASC Newsletter 4 - Water Quality and Aquatic Grass Wrap Up Permanent Link

Newsletter prepared by Ben Longstaff on behalf of Tidal monitoring and analysis workgroup members

This edition of Chesapeake Update provides an overview of water quality and aquatic grass conditions over the summer of 2005. An explanation as to why these conditions occurred is provided–largely a combination of a wet spring followed by a dry, calm and relatively warm summer. The observed conditions are compared to those forecast to occur before the summer, and explanations for any differences is provided. The main events this summer can be summarized as severe dissolved oxygen conditions, localized harmful algal blooms and aquatic grasses flourish in Northern Bay.



Bay Grass Restoration in Chesapeake Bay Permanent Link

August 2005

Chesapeake Bay has historically supported extensive bay grass (underwater grasses) meadows (>75,000 ha). However, water quality degradation from increased sediment and nutrient inputs has reduced the areal coverage and depth penetration of bay grasses, with one third of historical distributions remaining (21,648 ha; 1985-2004 mean). Chesapeake Bay underwater grasses are comprised of a variety of freshwater, brackish, and marine species. These various species form different communities, largely related to salinity, which have different environmental factors limiting their effective restoration.



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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.