Overall, the committee concludes that the Strategic Plan is a well-researched, logically developed, and well-written document.1 With appropriate modification, the committee believes that it will serve to make a compelling case for the implementation of a program on ocean acidification research and monitoring that satisfies the mandates given in the FOARAM Act.
The FOARAM Act (page 9) mandates “[m]onitoring of ocean chemistry and biological impacts associated with ocean acidification at selected coastal and open-ocean monitoring stations, including satellite-based monitoring to characterize (A) marine ecosystems; (B) changes in marine productivity; and (C) changes in surface ocean chemistry.” To this end, the IWGOA Strategic Plan’s Theme 1 addresses how the U.S. scientific community will go about monitoring changes in ocean chemistry and its biological impacts. The committee finds that the focus of Theme 1 overlaps considerably with that of Theme 2 (“Research to understand the species-specific physiological responses … impacts on marine food webs … and … ecosystem responses to ocean acidification.”), such that close attention to developing integrated and complementary efforts across these two Themes is warranted. Likewise, the critical role of advances in technology for monitoring efforts, as pointed out in Theme 4, makes improved integration of Themes 1 and 4 appropriate.
The treatment of the relevant FOARAM Act Program Element specific to Theme 1 is well-presented and comprehensive, especially in the arena of chemistry and efforts to monitor pH and carbon-related variables (see below). These monitoring efforts are very important and it is critical that they be expanded rapidly, because for many coastal waters no baseline information exists. The monitoring activities outlined in Theme 1 will provide the first descriptions of the carbonate chemistry and its variability of these coastal waters. These measurements are important because they will form the baseline against which future changes will be measured and provide information about the coastal environment that supports many U.S. fishery resources.
Because the rationale for these monitoring efforts is not presented in detail until Theme 2, a nonexpert reader would not fully grasp the importance and reasons for monitoring from the description presented in
1 Note: The report does not offer recommendations that involve syntax and grammar. The Strategic Plan is generally well-written and we feel that the revision process will enable the Strategic Plan’s authors to remedy any shortfalls in expositional writing that may currently exist.