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Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site Permanent Link

Preserving Kamehameha's Legacy in Today's World

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 Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, a culturally significant park on the island of Hawai'i, that is squeezed between a busy commercial port and residential development, and a bay plagued with sedimentation and poor flushing.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park Permanent Link

A Place of Refuge for Cultural and Natural Resources

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 Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park on the island of Hawai'i, the location of historical sites, anchialine pools, and rare plants and animals. Invasive species as well as natural and human-caused disturbances remain threats to this park's unique resources.

Synthesising research, management, and monitoring Permanent Link

Using a science communication product to drive the synthesis process

This paper presents the process and results of a three-year collaboration between the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. The focus of this collaboration was the conception, design, and production of a full-color, design-layout book synthesizing the current knowledge of the science and monitoring in the Coastal Bays, and highlighting management issues and recommendations. The book is aimed at a broad audience, from the interested layperson to technical scientists and resource managers. Through this project, a partnership was developed and a process established that forms the basis for future projects. A key team of editors was established, representing different research and management agencies, to conceive of the general structure of the book. Relevant experts from a wide range of agency and stakeholder groups were invited to author workshops to determine and layout the content for each of 14 chapters. Each layout workshop brought together experts who shared their perspectives of the Maryland Coastal Bays. Their explanations to each other and to the science communicators sparked a dynamic dialog on the basic underlying processes and the best way to illustrate the message (photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, tables, graphs). Short, active titles were developed-statements summarizing the essence of the contributed point. Six of the chapters focus on the subwatersheds that make up the Coastal Bays. These chapter workshops were held in the watershed and were made up of participants from homeowner and citizen groups and local, state, and federal government agencies. The dynamic nature of the chapter workshop series resulted in the addition of a new chapter (Management of the Coastal Bays), and the combining of two previously separate chapters (Nutrient Budgets and Water Quality). The Science Communicator role included pursuing, compiling and communicating appropriate text and visual elements, including editing the contributed text to space requirements and for consistency, and creating new visual elements (e.g., conceptual diagrams, photographs, maps). Different techniques were used to determine the most effective communication. Development of a common base map for presenting GIS-based data and maintaining consistency of presentation and spelling of place names, color swatches, and fonts facilitated communication and interpretation of the data.

Supporting management through an annual cycle of ecological forecasting and assessment Permanent Link

Ben Longstaff, M Williams, WC Dennison, EC Wicks, D Jasinski, P Tango, C Conner J Keisman, R Batiuk

This poster describes a novel approach to supporting management through an annual cycle of ecological forecasting and integrated assessment. The cycle consists of: (1) forecasting Chesapeake Bay summer ecological conditions in spring; (2) tracking summer ecological conditions and assessing the accuracy of the forecast until fall; and, (3) completing the cycle in early spring by assessing overall Bay health and producing a geographically detailed ecosystem health report card.

Effects of nutrient enrichment in the Nation's estuaries: A decade of change Permanent Link

Produced by Suzanne Bricker, Ben Longstaff, William Dennison, Adrian Jones, Kate Boicourt, Caroline Wicks, and Joanna Woerner

In order to evaluate the change in the extent, severity, types, and probable causes of eutrophic symptoms in the nation's estuaries since the early 1990s, an update to the original assessment was carried out with the intent to examine changes during the decade from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. This update is an attempt to look at the changes in estuaries given the documented increase in population of U.S. coastal and upstream areas, observed changes in some waterbodies, and implemented management measures.

Morro Bay: working together for a healthy ecosystem Permanent Link

May 2007

Morro Bay, on the central California coast, was the site of a workshop to develop a conceptual framework for an ecosystem-based management initiative. IAN staff worked with Morro Bay scientists, resource managers, and stakeholders to develop conceptual diagrams for Morro Bay, offshore Estero Bay and the Morro Bay watershed. These diagrams examined key features, threats, and management objectives of the Morro Bay ecosystem. This science poster is among a suite of science communication products that were generated: conceptual diagrams, a newsletter, and visual materials for the web. The Morro Bay regional initiative is the first of three Packard Foundation sites (Palau and Sea of Cortez) that IAN staff will partner with to produce conceptual frameworks.

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

Prepared by Kate Boicourt, Ben Longstaff, Howard Townsend, and Caroline Wicks

This poster addresses the history, theory, and practical approach of ecosystem-based fisheries management.

National Capital Region Network Regional Overview Permanent Link

December 2006

This poster series outlines the work of the National Capital Region Network's (NCRN) Inventory and Monitoring Program. The program's role is to monitor the status and trends of the parks, their vital signs and development pressures. Park vital signs monitoring is designed to inform managers of the condition of water, air, plants and animals, and the various ecological, biological, and physical processes that act on those resources. These site-specific data will provide parks the information needed for ecologically sound management of the natural resources.

Antietam National Battlefield Permanent Link

December 2006

Antietam National Battlefield is managed within the historical context of General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North during the Civil War. The 1,926 acre park is located in the heart of Maryland and is surrounded by rolling hills dotted with farm fields and pastures reminiscent of the day of battle. Patches of forest, open meadow, streams, and cropland are found within the park. It is the park managers' challenge to understand how all these natural elements work together to achieve the desired landscape along with managing for the highest quality of environmental protection.

Catoctin Mountain Park Permanent Link

December 2006

Catoctin Mountain Park originated as a Recreation Demonstration Area in 1936 and is managed today for its recreational use and the conservation of its cultural and natural resources. The park encompasses 5,810 acres of mixed hardwood forest located in the mountains of the Catoctin Ridge in north-central Maryland. Two high-quality streams bisect the park and the unique three million year old geology forms a number of cliffs and scenic vistas. Management issues include the effects of white-tailed deer overpopulation, exotic invasive plants, gypsy moth, hemlock woolly adelgid, and dogwood anthracnose. Water quality degradation is also a concern as residential and agricultural activity increase along the park's boundary.

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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.