Issue Study Group courses

Issue Study Group courses are a unique component of the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES) Program. Issue Study Group courses are focused efforts resulting in a public communication piece on a specific topic. They involve active discussions of socially relevant topics and students work as teams to co-produce a diversity of products. IAN staff have co-taught a series of Issue Study Groups:

Developing a report card for the Upper Potomac River

This report card was produced in December 2015 as a joint effort of graduate students and faculty at the Appalachian Laboratory and IAN. It provides an assessment of stream health in the Upper Potomac Headwaters region upstream of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. A blog described the process, and the final report card is in the Publications section of the IAN website.

Ecological forecasting and the science of hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay

Reflecting on a decade of annual ecological forecasts of the amount of low oxygen bottom waters (hypoxia and anoxia) in Chesapeake Bay was conducted. Various models were reviewed and coincident with the annual forecasts of hypoxia was an increase in media attention. This review resulted in the publication of a 2017 peer review paper in the scientific journal Bioscience (Testa et al., Ecological forecasting and the science of hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay; Bioscience 67: pp. 614-626).

Transdisciplinary science for environmental problem solving

Several IAN faculty and students partnered with an Australian colleague to flesh out the literature on transdisciplinary science. This deep dive into the literature revealed that transdisciplinary science goes by many different names (e.g., actionable science, engaged scholarship, post-normal science), but there are some common features of this approach, like co-production with stakeholders. A blog and a couple of manuscripts were developed from this course.

Developing an environmental justice index for the Chesapeake watershed report card

The issue of environmental justice, providing the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the environment is addressed by developing a suite of environmental justice indicators. The methods and rationale for an environmental justice index was developed by students who read relevant research papers, talked with key environmental justice practitioners, explored a diversity of data sources, analyzed and mapped data, and engaged with key stakeholders. A blog series provides the methods and rationale for the environmental justice index.

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