A Century of Ecosystem Science:: Planning Long-Term Research by National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life

By National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Polar Research Board, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, Committee to Review the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Monitoring Program

This file presents tips to the Gulf surroundings tracking (GEM) software to aid make sure that it truly is in accordance with a a technology plan that's powerful, far-reaching, and scientifically sound. The file commends the Trustee Council for its foresight in atmosphere apart money to create a belief fund to supply long term examine help; it notes that the GEM software bargains an exceptional chance to extend figuring out of the way huge marine ecosystems functionality and alter over the years. The file outlines parts of a legitimate long term technology plan, together with conceptual beginning, scope and geographic concentration, organizational constitution, neighborhood involvement, facts and data administration, and synthesis, modeling, and assessment

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Flows of energy, impact, or materials. The plan could focus on one or a few important flows through the geographic area, for instance, acrossshelf transport or movement of pollutants through food webs. 2. Habitats or regions. The plan could foster research in smaller areas that are believed to be representative of a broader region or habitat type. 3. Species. The plan could focus on one or a few species throughout the geographic area. 4. Hypotheses. The plan could target research toward a restricted hypothesis, for instance, taking measurements that would support or disprove the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as a cyclic climatic shift.

For instance, Pajak (2000) proposed 13 fundamental ways to measure ecosystem sustainability, incorporating ecological and social considerations, and provided six variables that would be suitable for each. It follows that cost could be used as a criterion for choosing among monitoring sites or variables with similar ecological importance. The GEM plan has taken the northern Gulf of Alaska as its geographic scope. In its interim report the committee recommended that GEM initiate long-term research in Prince William Sound, then extend geographic coverage over time.

GEM, however, requires an organizational structure to be defined that will disburse funds and involve communities effectively. One other major difference is the size of the plans: Most science plans (with the exception of EOS) tend to be 10-30 pages long. Such conciseness is intentional so that the purpose, scope, and methods can be synthesized down to a clear foundation, and knowing that the scientists involved will work out as the program evolves. The committee also notes that no plans are designed to involve local communities or traditional ecological knowledge in the formation of research questions and activities.

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