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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska A CENTURY OF ECOSYSTEM SCIENCE Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska Committee to Review the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Monitoring Program Polar Research Board Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Division on Earth and Life Studies National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. CMRC/WASC/NOAA 50ABNF-0-00013 (BAA00360) between the National Academy of Sciences and Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number: 0-309-08473-3 Copies of this report are available from: Polar Research Board, TNA 751 500 5th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 202–334–3479 or National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 800–624–6242 202–334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Cover: The background is a SeaWiFS satellite image showing the brilliant phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Alaska. This photo was provided by the SeaWiFS Project, National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE. The second image, the inlay of the two Orcas, Orcinus orca, affectionately known as Maverick and his wingman Iceman, was taken in June 1992 by Retired Commander John Bortniak of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps. Photo courtesy of NOAA photo library. Cover design by Van Nguyen of the National Academy Press. Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V.Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm. A.Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska This page in the original is blank.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE GULF OF ALASKA ECOSYSTEM MONITORING PROGRAM Members MICHAEL ROMAN, Chair, University of Maryland, Cambridge DON BOWEN, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia ADRIA A.ELSKUS, University of Kentucky, Lexington JOHN J.GOERING, University of Alaska, Fairbanks GEORGE HUNT, University of California, Irvine SETH MACINKO, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett DONAL MANAHAN, University of Southern California, Los Angeles BRENDA NORCROSS, University of Alaska, Fairbanks J.STEVEN PICOU, University of South Alabama, Mobile THOMAS C.ROYER, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia JENNIFER RUESINK, University of Washington, Seattle KARL TUREKIAN, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director, Polar Research Board DAVID POLICANSKY, Associate Director, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology ANN CARLISLE, Administrative Associate
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska POLAR RESEARCH BOARD Members ROBIN BELL, Chair, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, New York RICHARD B.ALLEY, Pennsylvania State University, University Park AKHIL DATTA-GUPTA, Texas A&M University, College Station HENRY P.HUNTINGTON, Huntington Consulting, Eagle River, Alaska AMANDA LYNCH, University of Colorado, Boulder ROBIE MACDONALD, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia MILES MCPHEE, McPhee Research Company, Naches, Washington CAROLE L.SEYFRIT, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia Ex-Officio Members MAHLON C.KENNICUTT, Texas A&M University, College Station ROBERT RUTFORD, University of Texas, Dallas PATRICK WEBBER, Michigan State University, East Lansing Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director ANN CARLISLE, Administrative Associate ROB GREENWAY,1 Project Assistant 1 Until November 2000.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY Members GORDON ORIANS (Chair), University of Washington, Seattle JOHN DOULL (Vice Chair), University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City DAVID ALLEN, University of Texas, Austin INGRID C.BURKE, Colorado State University, Fort Collins THOMAS BURKE, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland WILLIAM L.CHAMEIDES, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta CHRISTOPHER B.FIELD, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford, California DANIEL S.GREENBAUM, Health Effects Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts BRUCE D.HAMMOCK, University of California, Davis ROGENE HENDERSON, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico CAROL HENRY, American Chemistry Council, Arlington, Virginia ROBERT HUGGETT, Michigan State University, East Lansing JAMES H.JOHNSON, Howard University, Washington, D.C. JAMES F.KITCHELL, University of Wisconsin, Madison DANIEL KREWSKI, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario JAMES A.MACMAHON, Utah State University, Logan WILLEM F.PASSCHIER, Health Council of the Netherlands, The Hague ANN POWERS, Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York LOUISE M.RYAN, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts KIRK SMITH, University of California, Berkeley LISA SPEER, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York Senior Staff JAMES J.REISA, Director DAVID J.POLICANSKY, Associate Director and Senior Program Director for Applied Ecology RAYMOND A.WASSEL, Senior Program Director for Environmental Sciences and Engineering KULBIR BAKSHI, Program Director for the Committee on Toxicology ROBERTA M.WEDGE, Program Director for Risk Analysis K.JOHN HOLMES, Senior Staff Officer SUSAN MARTEL, Senior Staff Officer SUZANNE VAN DRUNICK, Senior Staff Officer RUTH E.CROSSGROVE, Managing Editor
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska This page in the original is blank.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska Preface This report is in response to a request from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council to review the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Monitoring and Research Program (GEM). To ensure that the GEM program is based on a science plan that is robust, far-reaching, and scientifically sound, the Trustee Council asked the National Academies to serve as an independent advisor. The Academies appointed a special committee and charged it to review the scope and content of the program as it evolved. To meet this charge our committee reviewed Trustee Council planning documents and met with their representatives and with individuals representing various communities and user groups of the Gulf of Alaska region. Trustee Council funds for long-term research in the Gulf of Alaska provide a rare opportunity for citizens, resource managers, and scientists to understand an ecosystem and obtain data essential to its long-term management. Virtually all ecosystems on Earth are influenced by natural changes and human activities. Sustained observations are necessary to separate the influences of these factors and to document natural fluctuations of ecosystem processes. We face this challenge in managing the living resources of all ecosystems. Thus the financial commitment to GEM, if coupled with careful planning and sound science, can serve as a model for ecosystem science and management. This is an exciting prospect. This report is not an endorsement of a specific science plan for the long-term study of the Gulf of Alaska. While planning is well under way, the details of such a plan will arise after careful analysis, synthesis, and scientific deliberation. We focus this review on the planning process and scientific infrastructure necessary for a successful long-term environmen-
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska tal research program in the Gulf. We make recommendations on how the GEM planning process can be improved, based on the experience of the committee and lessons learned from other environmental research programs. Our report is divided into sections relating to planning long-term ecosystem science; the importance of a conceptual foundation; determining scope and geographic focus; organization structure; community involvement and traditional knowledge; data management; and synthesis, modeling, and evaluation. We recommend a course of action that has proven successful in planning and implementing other large interdisciplinary science programs. Many people provided information to this committee as we prepared our report. In particular we would like to thank Molly McCammon, Phil Mundy, and Robert Spies of the Trustee Council; Gary Kompkoff from the village of Tatitlek; and Patty Brown-Schwalenberg of the Chugach Regional Resources Commission. On behalf of the entire committee I want to thank Chris Elfring of the Polar Research Board and David Policansky of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. Their sage council, broad experience with the NRC process, diligence, and professionalism greatly contributed to this report. We thank Ann Carlisle of the Polar Research Board for her excellent logistic and administrative support. Finally, I especially want to thank my fellow committee members. They worked hard, gave unselfishly of their time, and patiently learned the language and biases of different scientific disciplines while they worked to meet our charge. Michael Roman, Chair Committee to Review the Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Monitoring Program
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Kenneth H.Brink, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts Ingrid C.Burke, College of Natural Resources, Fort Collins, Colorado Robert B.Gramling, University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette Mahlon C.Kennicutt, Texas A&M University, College Station John J.Magnuson, University of Wisconsin, Madison Sharon L.Smith, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Miami, Florida Judith Vergun, Oregon State University, Corvallis Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Garry Brewer
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska of Yale University. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 Elements of a Sound Long-Term Science Plan, 3 Conceptual Foundation, 4 Scope and Geographic Focus, 5 Organizational Structure, 6 Community Involvement, 7 Data and Information Management, 8 Synthesis, Modeling, and Evaluation, 9 Conclusions and Recommendations, 10 1 PLANNING LONG-TERM ECOSYSTEM SCIENCE 17 The Committee’s Charge, 19 Elements of a Sound Long-Term Science Plan, 20 2 THE IMPORTANCE OF A CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION 31 The Science Plan as a Bridge Between the Conceptual Foundation and a Working Science Program, 34 3 DETERMINING SCOPE AND GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS 37 Scope, 37 Geographic Focus, 37 Habitats as a Divisional Unit, 40 Choice of Variables and Research Projects, 43
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A Century of Ecosystem Science: Planning Long-Term Research in the Gulf of Alaska 4 ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE 52 5 COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE 59 6 DATA AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT 66 7 SYNTHESIS, MODELING, AND EVALUATION 69 Synthesis, 69 Modeling, 71 Review of GEM Science Background Section, 72 8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 75 REFERENCES 84 APPENDIXES A Biosketches of the Committee’s Members 89 B Acronyms 93