an effective way to communicate the program’s activities to a wide audience. It will also help NPRB management identify and articulate its focus.
Second, the concept of the IERPs is critical. The committee believes this integrated approach is the heart of the Science Plan, providing the glue that holds it together. Therefore, the commitment to develop IERPs should be brought forward to a more prominent position in the Science Plan. The introduction to the IERPs, provided in section 3.9 is good as are the examples of existing programs that could be considered IERPs and examples of opportunities for new ones. The use of the term is sometimes confusing, however, and the committee provides some specific guidance to clarify the role and scope of the IERPs in our comments on Chapter 3. A related issue is that, given its limited resources, the NPRB should focus its research activities within one or at most two particular geographic regions for a period of time (perhaps 5–10 years). Without these thematic (IERPs) and geographic foci, the NPRB will at best be a collection of loosely related projects, not a well-integrated program. These issues are discussed in more detail in the chapter comments.
As a point of clarification, the committee noticed that in the draft Science Plan, the terms “IERPs” and “geographical regions” appear to have the same meaning. The committee views them to be separate, albeit related, concepts, as explained in our comments on Chapter 3. Indeed, it is possible that more than one IERP could take place within a given geographic region.
When moving from the draft to the final plan, the committee suggests that the NPRB consider including references to recently published material such as reports from the Pew Oceans Commission (2003), the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (2004), the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment program (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, 2004), the Global Earth Observation efforts, the Ecosystem Studies of Sub-Arctic Seas (ESSAS) program (a regional chapter for GLOBEC), the Gulf Ecosystem Monitoring Program (GEM) and Ocean Research Interactive Observatory Networks (ORION). These reports provide supportive background information and justification for some of the NPRB program elements. Representatives of these programs could be invited to participate in the NPRB workshops to provide information on program objectives, recent findings and future outlooks and to ensure that collaborative relationships are established.
The committee found the frequent citations of our 2004 report, Elements of a Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board (NRC, 2004b) report helpful as we worked through the draft plan and could see where the authors were being responsive to our input. However, ultimately the NPRB Science Plan should be a stand-alone document. Therefore, the Committee suggests that a single citation to the NRC report in Chapter 1 would suffice.
The NPRB will be a significant source of funding for marine research. Thus, the Committee suggests that to attract the best ideas to advance understanding of marine ecosystems and resource managment, NPRB should consider adding a brief section to the Science Plan on how broad dissemination of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will be achieved. NPRB might consider using existing scientific society membership lists (e.g., American Society of Limnology and Oceanography and American Geophysical Union, Ecological Society of America, etc.), and programs such as National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges to attract the best proposals. Scientific societies usually maintain electronic mail lists of their members, or have ongoing electronic