• Articulate a clear vision statement concerning ocean acidification in relation to the importance of ocean resources to society.

• Describe a process that would ensure better integration across the seven Themes and illustrate the interrelationships among the themes. More specifically, the various Themes describe important goals, but monitoring (Theme 1) and technology development (Theme 4) are required to advance research to understand responses to ocean acidification (Theme 2), modeling to predict changes and impacts on carbon cycle and ecosystems (Theme 3), and assessment of socioeconomic impacts (Theme 5). To better communicate the rationale and importance of the National Ocean Acidification Program, the goals and rationale for the various activities in each Theme need to be better integrated across the Themes and stated upfront. For example, research on socioeconomic impacts and societal adaptation is presented in isolation and the description implies that such research could be postponed until impacts on organisms and ecosystems are better known. However, the priority research questions in the socioeconomic Theme ought to be used to define and drive, where appropriate, priorities and research questions in the natural sciences, and therefore the socioeconomic priorities need to be better integrated into the other themes.

• Specify a mechanism for coordination among federal agencies and with other ocean acidification efforts in the U.S. and abroad. Currently, the Strategic Plan does not specify the roles of the individual agencies nor does it describe a process for coordination among the agencies to ensure that resources are used in a cost-effective manner, without unnecessary duplication, to strategically address priority research goals.

• Describe a process and criteria by which the IWGOA will set priorities within and among themes. The current draft of the Strategic Plan provides a comprehensive list of research goals to be accomplished by the National Ocean Acidification Program, but neither sets priorities nor explains how priorities will be established as part of the implementation plan. The process for setting priorities needs a mechanism to ensure broad stakeholder participation.

• Develop a process for periodic reevaluation of priorities, including metrics to evaluate progress toward the Program’s goals. Such metrics will be needed for the IWGOA to report on the Program’s progress every two years as required by the FOARAM Act. These progress reports could be used by the IWGOA to refine its strategy for the renewal of the Strategic Plan in 5 years, as called for in the FOARAM Act. Much remains to be learned about ocean acidification and critical new and unconventional research needs may appear as studies move forward. Thus, it is critical to build flexibility into the Program to allow for innovation, ongoing evaluation, and iterative adjustments in Program priorities and direction.

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