iam Sound such as College Fjord might be identified as locations where no such measurements have been done. Thus, lack of temperature and salinity data in this area would be identified as a knowledge gap and given high priority. If the location was populated with people and marine mammals, this area might become the highest priority for gap analysis. These measurements might be prioritized because they would be less expensive to collect relative to similar measurements taken in a remote region offshore on the continental shelf. However, such sampling within the fjord would not necessarily lead to a better general understanding of marine processes.
Community involvement. Communities can play a significant role in generating scientific ideas that are relevant to the goals of the GEM program. The culture and livelihood of local stakeholders often depends on the health of the ecosystem. Their intimate knowledge of the dynamics of the system, based on daily, and often generational, experience (e.g., changes in predator and/or prey abundance in response to climate change or to the introduction of hatchery-reared fish) can significantly broaden the range of research questions and approaches. Incorporation of meaningful community involvement in the generation of scientific questions for a research plan of GEM’s scope and duration would significantly enhance both the quality of the science and its relevance to the community. Further, involved citizens whose efforts and contributions are meaningfully incorporated into the plan are more likely to provide strong support for the program for the future. Finally, the concerns of stakeholders often reflect the concerns of managers. While many of these concerns can best be addressed by the long-term research program, some may reflect specific issues or hypotheses that require more immediate answers. These could be addressed by incorporating short-term studies (3–5 years) into the monitoring program, thereby allowing GEM to respond to current concerns without sacrificing long-term data sets that will prove increasingly useful as they accumulate. A research plan that incorporates meaningful community involvement would serve as a model for other programs grappling with how to address the concerns of resource managers and local communities into their science plans. (The value of community involvement is further discussed in Chapter 5.)
Implementation. Finally, how the program will be implemented must be made clear. The roles and responsibilities of each participant and committee must be clearly defined, and the paths of information flow outlined, to demonstrate how the program will operate in practice. The design of long-term programs can take several years (Box 3–2), however, a carefully designed plan is well worth such an investment. Collection of the wrong data, poor program management, or other flaws in the plan could seriously jeopardize GEM’s credibility and erode long-term support for the program.