ments in technology and standardization of measurement protocols, this section lists a variety of goals—separated into short-term and long-term categories—that aim to address these concerns. Whereas these goals are in accord with the requirements for this particular Program Element of the Act, as with much of the Strategic Plan, there is not a clear statement of priorities (see Chapter 2 of this report for further discussion).
Ocean acidification research encompasses a wide variety of approaches including environmental observations and laboratory manipulations, and it requires technology for the measurement of a wide variety of parameters, both chemical and biological. Theme 4 discusses such technology and methods development, and also emphasizes the need for effective standardization of measurements. The IWGOA is to be commended for stressing so effectively the critically important need to develop standardized methods for the broad research community studying ocean acidification. The presentation in Theme 4 draws on a variety of previously published reports to emphasize two primary concerns: comparability of measurement approaches and availability of improved technology for such measurements.
Overall, the text of Theme 4 makes many good points about the need for a focused, high quality plan for ocean acidification measurements, including the need for documentation, reference materials, training, and regional centers of expertise. However, the diverse topics treated in this Theme are not pulled together in an effective way to fashion a clear strategy. We offer several explicit suggestions for improving this component of the Strategic Plan. Many of our concerns reflect similar problems found in other Themes, and are due, in part, to the limited integration across Themes in the Plan. For example, the objectives of Themes 1, 2, and 3 cannot be fulfilled due to deficiencies that need to be addressed in Theme 4. The opening paragraphs of this section would be improved by referring to priorities from other Themes that require either technological development or methods of standardization, or both. A short preface and some reorganization of content would make this a stronger section with clear links to the national ocean acidification strategy. Considering the fundamental importance of the inorganic carbon system for both the monitoring of ocean acidification and for studies of biological and ecological consequences, the Strategic Plan could benefit from a short primer for readers to review the basic concepts. More importantly, in this section the IWGOA has the opportunity to stress the fundamental dependence of high quality research on the advances in technology development.
Of great importance to this Theme are two fundamental questions: “What should be measured?” and “What is the needed accuracy/precision of these measurements?” These questions are of core relevance in any effort to address comparability of ocean acidification measurements