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Chesapeake Bay: Storm Impacts, Conowingo Dam and Choptank River Permanent Link

Presented at the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance 17 April 2013 Cambridge, MD

The Conowingo Dam reservoir has been losing capacity for sediment trapping since it was constructed in 1928; sediments and phosphorus now largely bypass the dam during high flow events. Scouring will occur more frequently during high flow events. Nitrogen reductions in Chesapeake tributaries have led to SAV resurgences. Susquehanna flats SAV are resilient to storm flows. Conditions of Chesapeake Bay tributaries, like the Choptank River, are affected by their subwatersheds.



Communicating science and assessment to increase the visibility and utility of NOAA research Permanent Link

This talk discusses work done by the Integration and Application Network, including science and information synthesis, visualization, and context. The presentation reviews the Chesapeake Bay Report Card and other Chesapeake Bay assessments, various science communication products, and training activities. The local and global influence that IAN has developed through products and partnerships is also discussed. This presentation was given at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.



Partnering with watershed organizations to produce tributary-specific report cards Permanent Link

Presented at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation's Biennial Conference

This presentation discusses the Mid-Atlantic Tributary Assessment Coalition and the indicator protocol that the group produced. The tidal indicator protocol helps watershed organizations (volunteer monitoring groups) produce report cards specific to their areas.



Assessing the ecological and human health status of Baltimore's Inner Harbor Permanent Link

Presented at the 2011 Maryland Stream Symposium

This presentation discusses the ecological and human health status of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Ecological indicators in the Inner Harbor scored poorly or very poorly. Human health indicators (bacteria and trash) scored poorly. This project is part of a larger project to make Baltimore's Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020.



Brisbane 2011: Living with floods and dancing with dugongs Permanent Link

Presented at Customs House, University of Queensland, Brisbane

In this seminar, Bill talks about how Queensland floods offer an important and unique societal learning moment. With the 2011 floods, there was an opportunity to get the community to focus on where they're living and how they're coping. He identifies various case studies that provide global lessons about flood responses. Bill details conservation icons and charismatic ecosystems, and how we have to move towards creating charismatic ecosystems. He finishes by touching upon developing sustainable models for the future, and a grand vision.



Innovations in environmental synthesis, reporting and governance Permanent Link

Presented at the 2011 Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network conference, Melbourne, Australia

This presentation describes a range of innovations in environmental synthesis, reporting and governance. Synthesis examples are the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the Annapolis Synthesis Center, and Ensync. Innovations in reporting detail IAN's approach to science communication (compared with science writing) and the use of conceptual diagrams, a global symbol language and video seminars, as well as environmental report cards and the media coverage they garner. Governance examples include "CompStat", "CitiStat" and "StateStat".



Communicating science effectively to engage decision-makers 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? 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.



Proposal writing: A key to success Permanent Link

Presented to the 2010 REU students

This presentation details the key elements of successful proposals. It provides simple techniques to improve your proposal writing, including thought development, the iterative process, reviewing the appropriate literature, explicitly stating the hypotheses and the zen of proposal writing. There is also a video version of Bill presenting this available on our blog.



Getting out of the Lake and into the Watershed: a study of volunteer monitoring efforts, water quality, and community outreach Permanent Link

Sara Powell, IAN Seminar Series, February, 2010

This presentation is also available on the IAN Seminar Series page, where you can access the video and audio only versions, as well as transcript and discussion notes. In 2008, an innovative partnership between the University of South Carolina and Lake Wateree, SC homeowners began in order to restart previously existing water quality monitoring efforts, provide data analysis, and make resulting information easily accessible to stakeholders. This project explored effective ways to foster links between 'science' and people - i.e. how to most effectively communicate scientific concepts and monitoring results to stakeholders addressing real world concerns.



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About

"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.