(GEM) program are normally scientifically well-rounded investigators who are respected nationally and internationally by their peers. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council should seriously consider the adoption of a similar organizational scheme. The recruitment of suitable candidates might be made easier if there were a relationship of the individual with a university.
The GEM program implementation plan envisions that interactions between the Public Advisory Committee, Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, and the general public, along with an external GEM program review every five to seven years, will provide the needed scientific oversight. The committee agrees that the chief scientist working with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (which is, in essence, the “steering committee” referred to above) and the Public Advisory Committee should play a key role in program oversight. If GEM is to succeed, its oversight activities must address issues such as the preparation of science and program implementation plans, proposal solicitation and peer review, investigator information exchange, program data management and outreach to Alaska natives and other communities of interest. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, working with the chief scientist, should play the dominant role in assuring GEM scientific program credibility and direction.
Science planning must continue during the life of the GEM program to assure program success. Initially the core variables to be monitored must be carefully selected and should not be modified without careful consideration during the life of GEM. This will assure that consistent long-term data are obtained with a principal objective of distinguishing between human-induced and natural changes in the Gulf of Alaska ecosystem. A monitoring subcommittee reporting to the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee may be of value in both developing monitoring protocols and requests for proposals, but such a committee should not be the sole mechanism by which the variables to be monitored are selected. The GEM program as a whole should be involved with the selection of variables to be monitored. This might be achieved through a series of targeted workshops to assist the chief scientist and/or Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee in determining location and frequency of measurements needed to monitor key biological, chemical, and physical variables. The importance of the early synthesis to the long-term success of GEM cannot be overstated.
The GEM program must develop a clear implementation plan that includes some well-defined milestones and coordination among the agencies and programs conducting short- and long-term ecosystem research in the Gulf of Alaska. The plan should provide for an iterative assessment