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5 Findings and Recommendations T he North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) Science Plan is the under- pinning of the entire science program and will determine the legacy of the NPRB. A successful science plan operates under the aegis of an overall conceptual framework. It contains clearly defined scientific goals and program management policies, has an effective data manage- ment and dissemination strategy, is actively coordinating with other fund- ing programs, develops applications that are useful to decision makers and stakeholders, and recognizes the importance of public interaction and the use of traditional knowledge. The NPRB plans to support research in a region of the world noted for a harsh climate that is especially vulnerable to climate warming and is dependent on resource-based economies. The NPRB will administer funds from a relatively stable and long-term funding base that is amenable to the establishment of long time-series data collection. Such data collec- tion can form the basis for studies of environmental variability and climate change. Shorter-term projects should develop models, examine processes, and develop technologies that will lead to scientific advances. The com- mittee supports a broadly interdisciplinary approach rather than a series of disconnected studies. This report provides guidance to the NPRB in the development of a long-range comprehensive science plan. The findings and recommenda- tions of this report are grouped into the following three categories: 79

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80 ELEMENTS OF A SCIENCE PLAN FOR THE NPRB 1. Criteria for a successful NPRB Science Plan 2. Research themes 3. Management issues For each of these categories, a summary of the findings are provided, fol- lowed by one or more findings and recommendations. Additional sup- porting information can be found in the preceding chapters of this report. CRITERIA FOR A SUCCESSFUL NPRB SCIENCE PLAN Finding 1: The overriding conceptual foundation is critical to the success of a long-term science program since it will provide a framework for more specific recommendations and will guide the program in the long term as well as the short. Recommendation 1-1: In developing a science plan, the NPRB must include policies and procedures that provide for the development and articulation of the overriding goal or conceptual foundation. Recommendation 1-2: Since emerging issues cannot be predicted, the NPRB needs to include mechanisms that will allow the concep- tual foundation to evolve over time through periodic review. Finding 2: The geographic area as stated in the mandate is vaguely defined and might be larger than the NPRB budget could support. Recommendation 2-1: The NPRB Science Plan should limit studies in the North Pacific and Arctic Ocean to geographically prescribed areas where comprehensive studies can be undertaken. For example, the Arctic could be limited to the East Siberian, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas, and the North Pacific to its subarctic gyre, except for studies that naturally extend outside these boundaries. These regions, together with the Bering Sea, comprise an interacting series of ecosystems that may be studied comprehensively through research funded by the NPRB. Finding 3: Although the NPRB funds are a large new contribution to the total research budget of the area, they are not limitless and they do fluctuate over time due to fluctuating interest rates. Recommendation 3-1: During periods of funding constraints, all long- term monitoring should be protected and short-term process studies should focus on core scientific questions. If financially necessary, it would be better to support research in a limited geographic area than to scatter research over a larger area.

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FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 81 RESEARCH THEMES Ecosystem States and Variability Finding 4: Ecosystems vary on multiple time and space scales. Some processes are predictable and others are aperiodic. To meet its legislative mandate, the NPRB will need to focus on integrated, interdisciplinary studies of entire ecosystems. Such studies will lead to applications neces- sary for the management of aquatic resources. Recommendation 4-1: The NPRB should support fundamental science to study the structure and function of ecosystems, in order to under- stand the populations they support. Recommendation 4-2: The NPRB should encourage formation of interdisciplinary research teams by priority funding of well-integrated research groups. Recommendation 4-3: NPRB funding should support a well-integrated mix of long-term, process, and modeling studies, accompanied by the development of appropriate technology if that technology is neces- sary to answer an important scientific question. Recommendation 4-4: The NPRB should fund a balanced mixture of regional and large-scale investigations. Those regional and large-scale studies should be well integrated. Recommendation 4-5: The NPRB should encourage proposals that include data on the roles and trends of important noncommercial species, such as potential prey species, indicator species, keystone species, and others. Although there are data for commercial species, information regarding noncommercial species is particularly lacking. Finding 5: Knowledge of past and current states of physics and biology is necessary in order to predict ecosystem change. The unique funding structure of the NPRB provides a rare opportunity for the establishment of long-term monitoring sites at well-thought-out locations. The value of long-term data is in their continuity, and once interrupted they lose their value. Recommendation 5-1: Long-term monitoring sites should be estab- lished and observations should be continued uninterrupted. Once a long-term monitoring plan has been established, it should be changed only for compelling reasons and only in such a way that continuity of the long-term record is preserved.

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82 ELEMENTS OF A SCIENCE PLAN FOR THE NPRB Finding 6: The collection and incorporation of traditional knowledge is challenging and generally has not been done well. Recommendation 6-1: The NPRB should facilitate communication between scientists and stakeholders in its study area. Several groups, such as the Alaska Native Science Commission, have expertise in this process, and the NPRB should work with appropriate stakeholder representatives to develop strategies for accomplishing scientist- stakeholder interaction. Recommendation 6-2: The NPRB should consider funding the collec- tion of traditional knowledge relevant to its goals and should encour- age the incorporation of traditional knowledge into research planning and hypothesis development. Human-Induced Effects Finding 7: Human activities have direct and indirect effects on ecosystems. Recommendation 7-1: The NPRB should fund studies that have a high potential to determine whether specific human activities have an effect on marine ecosystems, what the scales of such impacts are likely to be, and what kinds of mitigation are possible. Such studies could include impacts of proposed or actual industrial or municipal develop- ment, fishing and hunting, shipping, and contamination. Economic, Social, and Management Research Finding 8: New management methods such as individual fish quotas and fishing cooperatives have led to structural changes in the industry. Recommendation 8-1: Economic and social data should be gathered on an ongoing basis to evaluate the changes that new management regimes have brought or are likely to bring. Finding 9: The subsistence economy appears to be under increasing pres- sure from a dwindling resource base and increased demand. Recommendation 9-1: Economic and social research is needed to ascertain the long-term viability of the subsistence economy and the social changes spurred by decreasing resources and increasing popu- lations. Researchers should be encouraged to work with rural com- munities and tribes and with tribal or native organizations on these types of research projects.

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FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 83 Forecasting and Responding to Change Finding 10: A lack of data and understanding of underlying processes inhibits the development of models, both statistical and numerical, for forecasting purposes. Recommendation 10-1: The NPRB should fund research that leads to the improvement of predictive models. This research includes the acquisition of long-term data records and the undertaking of short- term process studies that reveal underlying processes. MANAGEMENT ISSUES NPRB Members, Staff, and Panels Finding 11: The NPRB mandate is large and complex, and currently the only staff is its executive director. Recommendation 11-1: The NPRB should provide adequate adminis- trative staff to support the executive director, although care must be taken to minimize the level of funding going to administration. Finding 12: Although input from the user community is often sought, science plans are generally written by scientists familiar with the regional scientific issues. Recommendation 12-1: The NPRB Science Panel or other scientists with appropriate expertise in regional scientific issues, who can place the regional science within the larger framework, should write the NPRB Science Plan. The Proposal Process Finding 13: The current management structure can lead to real or per- ceived conflict of interest in reviewing and awarding research grants. Recommendation 13-1: Final approval of funding decisions should be made directly by the U.S. secretary of commerce or by a represen- tative who is remote from the consequences of funding decisions. The secretary of commerce's representative on the NPRB should not be the same individual who approves funding recommendations on behalf of the secretary. Finding 14: The NPRB has not yet developed clear criteria for proposal review and distribution of funds that avoid real and perceived conflicts of interest. The board's long-term legacy will depend on its funding decisions.

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84 ELEMENTS OF A SCIENCE PLAN FOR THE NPRB Recommendation 14-1: NPRB members should recuse themselves, in accordance with standard practice, when proposals from their agency or university are considered for funding. Recommendation 14-2: The NPRB should establish and publish fair procedures for awarding grants and then follow those procedures without exception. The criteria established by the National Science Foundation are especially respected within the scientific community and might serve as a model. Recommendation 14-3: The Science Panel should appoint a Proposal Selection Committee to rank research proposals and advise the execu- tive director of its decisions. Recommendation 14-4: The Advisory Panel and the Science Panel should not be involved in proposal funding decisions because of potential conflicts of interest. Recommendation 14-5: Since the Proposal Selection Committee will be a panel of experts, the NPRB and the secretary of commerce (or a representative) should respect their proposal rankings. NPRB fund- ing decisions should be documented in writing, including an expla- nation of any deviations from the rankings of the Proposal Selection Committee. External Review Finding 15: All long-lived science programs benefit from periodic external reviews. Recommendation 15-1: The NPRB should conduct periodic internal and external reviews of the science plan, policies, and long-term pro- grams at five-year intervals. The caution, however, is that the long- term monitoring components of NPRB programs should be protected to the extent financially possible. Outreach and Education Finding 16: Incorporating public input and informing the public of pro- gram findings are important NPRB duties. Recommendation 16-1: The NPRB should encourage outreach and education activity components either by principal investigators as part of their proposals or as independently funded activities. These components should address all levels of education, making sure to include remote communities.

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FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 85 Recommendation 16-2: The NPRB should facilitate communication between scientists and stakeholders in its study area. The board should consider continuing site visits throughout the Northwest United States and Alaska to foster understanding of its efforts and to receive public input on future research directions. Data Policy and Management Finding 17: An effective data management and dissemination strategy is vital to ensuring the success of NPRB-funded projects. Recommendation 17-1: The NPRB Science Plan should instruct prin- cipal investigators to place all data in the public domain after no more than two years. Within interdisciplinary programs, data should be shared as soon as possible. This will serve to maximize dissemination of knowledge even prior to archival publication. Recommendation 17-2: The NPRB should establish an administrative staff position responsible for data management and dissemination. This person should create and maintain a web-based archive of data that is easily navigated. Recent successful examples for the NPRB to follow include the Long Term Ecological Research Network, the Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Global Experiment, and the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study. Finding 18: Archiving tissue samples and organisms provides a basis for documenting and understanding biodiversity. Recommendation 18-1: The NPRB should join a sample archiving program that provides safe storage and allows for easy retrieval. Coordination with Other Projects and Programs Finding 19: NPRB has finite resources and its mission overlaps with those of other agencies and programs. Recommendation 19-1: The NPRB should appoint one or more indi- viduals to act as liaisons with other state and federal agencies, univer- sities, environmental groups, industry, and tribes and tribal or native organizations whose missions relate to those of the NPRB. Wherever possible, partnerships should be formed with these groups to lever- age maximum benefit from available funds. Recommendation 19-2: The NPRB should conduct an annual principal investigator workshop in conjunction with the annual Joint Science Symposium to foster project collaborations and share data.