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USS Arizona: once a site of human devastation, now a haven for marine life Permanent Link

Produced by the NPS Pacific Island Network Inventory & Monitoring Program and the Integration & Application Network.

The National Park Services' World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument features the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. This poster, intended for visitor and school audiences alike, presents a side of the historic Memorial often overlooked: the artificial reef that the submerged wreck has become. Five aspects of this natural ecosystem are described.

The legacy of Kalaupapa National Historical Park Permanent Link

A living historical community and fragile natural paradise

The intertwined cultural and natural history of the National Park Service (NPS) Kalaupapa National Historical Park (KALA) on the Hawaiian island of Molokai is represented in this poster intended for local and visitor audiences. For more than one hundred years, Hansen's disease (leprosy) patients were forced into exile on this remote peninsula. The unique native plants and animals found here are challenged by invasive species, overfishing, pollution, and climate change.

Unlimited Access: Using collaborative products to make current scientific knowledge more accessible Permanent Link

Poster presented at the 2009 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) conference in Portland, Oregon

Woerner JL, Bishop T, Carruthers TJB, Dennison WC, Gurbisz C and Murray L

An ever growing number of scientists recognize the need to increase awareness about ocean science research, especially in regard to policy initiatives on climate change. However, scientists may find it difficult to reach an audience outside of their community. At the same time, educators are searching for accurate and engaging science education resources to inspire students to become interested in scientific discovery. Collaborations between scientists and educators can meet both of these needs and provide unlimited access for students to learn about science. The scientist–educator fellowship teams, sponsored by COSEE Coastal Trends, have an ocean science researcher, a 7th–12th grade educator, a graduate student, and an undergraduate student.

Assessing the Coastal Bays of Maryland and Virginia: A comparison of approaches Permanent Link

Poster presented at the 2009 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) conference in Portland, Oregon

Thomas JE, Beckert K, Cain C, Carruthers TJB, Dennison WC1, Fisher T, Jesien R, Kumer J, Longstaff BJ, Radcliffe G, Schupp C, Sturgis B, Wazniak C, Wicks EC, Williams MR and Zimmerman C

Two ecosystem health assessment frameworks are being applied to the Coastal Bays region of Maryland and Virginia. Ecosystem health in these bays and their watersheds is at a 'tipping point,' so effective ecosystem health analysis and communication are essential to empower the community; inform monitoring, research, and management; and galvanize environmental change. The report card gives an annually reproducible communication tool with a fast turnaround time, while the habitat-based assessment gives a thorough analysis of habitats, repeatable every several years. These different assessments communicate ecosystem condition to different stakeholders and assist in developing stronger links between monitoring, research, and management.

Oyster δ15N as a bioindicator of waste nitrogen and degraded water quality in a sub-estuary of Chesapeake Bay Permanent Link

Presented at the National Estuarine Research Reserves System (NERRS) in Pacific Grove, CA in  November 2008.

Once nitrogen from wastewater treatment plants and septic systems enters aquatic ecosystems, it is difficult to distinguish it from other sources contributing to degradation. The Monie Bay sub-estuary of Chesapeake Bay, just south of Wicomico River, is situated within the Chesapeake Bay (Maryland) National Estuarine Research Reserve. Monie Bay receives freshwater inputs from three creeks varying in watershed size and land use: residential septic systems (Monie Creek), crop fertilizer (Little Monie Creek), and wetlands/forest (Little Creek). Differences in oyster δ15N were used to identify different waste nitrogen sources.

Integration and Application Network Permanent Link

Presented at the Asia Water Management and Technology Forum in Baltimore on 23rd October, 2008

This poster outlines the Integration and Application Network; who we are, our mission, where we work, and what we provide. We are a collection of highly trained, highly motivated scientists and communicators interested in solving, not just studying environmental problems. The Integration and Application Network (IAN) is an initiative of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, but links with other academic institutions, resource management agencies, and non-governmental organizations. We are based in Maryland, but work globally and provide a range of science communication tools, products, training, and environmental syntheses.

Global Warming Is Here Permanent Link

In 2007, Governor O'Malley asked a scientific team, chaired by UMCES President Dr. Donald F. Boesch, to assess the impacts of climate change in Maryland. The key points from this assessment are summarized in this poster created by IAN staff.

Environmental report cards: A tool for better management,  monitoring, and research Permanent Link

Environmental report cards are an important tool for integrating assessments of ecosystem health and for communicating scientific understanding to decision makers and the general public. Environmental report cards rely on a suite of environmental indicators (= performance measures, vital signs, reference values) and thresholds (= goals, criteria, standards). The process of combining indicators is an important aspect of ecosystem health assessments and can be accomplished by a variety of mechanisms and influence the results. The specificity of reporting regions can influence the impact of the report cards. Geographically explicit report cards can create a powerful human motivator-peer pressure. Report cards can engender a healthy competition between communities and community leaders to achieve better report card grades. The credibility of the environmental report cards needs to be established by a transparent process in which the data, indices, maps and conceptual foundation are explicit. Report cards can provide timely, synthesized information to a broad audience.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail Permanent Link

Walking in the Ancestors' Footsteps

The Pacific Island Network (PACN) of the National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring program is currently in the process of implementing vital signs monitoring within 11 PACN parks. As a basis to monitoring, effective communication is essential. This poster features the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, a 175-mile coastal corridor full of cultural and natural heritage on the island of Hawai'i, but a trail mostly under private ownership that is threatened by rapid surrounding development.

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park Permanent Link

Keeping the Spirit of Kaloko-Honokohau Alive

The Pacific Island Network (PACN) of the National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring program is currently in the process of implementing vital signs monitoring within 11 PACN parks. As a basis to monitoring, effective communication is essential. This poster features Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the island of Hawai'i, which contains historic sites, endangered species, anchialine pools, and a vibrant coral reef. The park is challenged by changes in local population, resource use, and development to preserve these unique cultural and natural resources.

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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.