Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 65
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together 3 Actions to Improve Cooperation and Influence Ocean Science Policymaking Several ocean science research topics that present first-order intellectual challenges also have important implications for social and economic development in both Mexico and the United States, as indicated by the examples provided in Chapter 2. Both nations need to obtain and share information and understanding about their adjacent ocean areas to improve environmental management and protection and to fuel economic growth in a sustainable manner. A number of actions are fundamental for improving communication, enhancing collaborations, and creating partnerships between ocean scientists in Mexico and the United States. These actions transcend the potential joint projects discussed in Chapter 2. The committee envisions that actions related to (1) human resource and capacity building, (2) scientific infrastructure, (3) large international ocean science programs, (4) regional and global ocean observing systems, (5) scientific events and publications, and (6) funding for binational activities will improve collaborations between U.S. and Mexican ocean scientists and enhance the effectiveness of joint projects such as those noted in Chapter 2 or others that may be developed in the future. The actions highlighted below are designed both to enhance a healthy ocean science community for Mexico's own needs and to make it possible for Mexican and U.S. scientists to participate together in solving shared marine environmental problems. HUMAN RESOURCES AND CAPACITY BUILDING The number and distribution of ocean scientists differ significantly between Mexico and the United States. Most fundamentally, although the exact number of ocean scientists in Mexico is not well known, the Mexican community is much smaller than the U.S. community. In 1995 there were a total of 204 full-time
OCR for page 66
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together professors working in the five major universities with ocean science curricula (Aldana, 1997). A total of 57 marine biologists of all disciplines (e.g., biological oceanographers, physiologists, ecologists, fisheries and aquaculture experts, icthyologists, botanists, malacologists, microbiologists), out of a total of 796 biologists, belonged to the National System of Researchers (Sistema Nacional de Investigadores [SNI]) in 1990 (Aldana, 1997). Marine biologists represent the largest group of marine scientists in the SNI. The remaining marine scientists (physical oceanographers, marine geologists and geophysicists, and chemical oceanographers), it is safe to say, total at the most a similar amount. In the AMC (Academia Mexicana de Ciencias), the number of ocean science academicians equals approximately 20 out of a total of 884 regular members reported in 1996 (Aldana, 1997). In Mexico, the academic ocean science community is distributed among approximately 20 university departments, schools, and research institutions (Ayala-Castañares and Escobar, 1996). The number of Mexican ocean scientists employed in academic institutions is much larger than the number employed by federal agencies. The U.S. ocean science community is divided among 15 major institutions and more than 100 smaller university departments, institutes, and colleges. There are approximately three times as many Ph.D.-level ocean scientists employed in academia as in federal agencies in the United States, with a total of approximately 2,200 in 1990 (NRC, 1992). Thus, the ratio of U.S. to Mexican ocean scientists is approximately 20:1, whereas the ratio of the two nations' populations is 3:1. One of the most important ways to increase collaboration between ocean scientists in the United States and Mexico would be to enhance the ability of individuals to work together through appropriate education and training. Various approaches should be used to build the human resource capacity for ocean sciences in Mexico that are focused on (1) strengthening the education of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and (2) providing for continuing education of university and government scientists in the marine sciences. Because of financial limitations in both countries, the JWG believes that the scientific and technical talent of each must be used most efficiently to improve the quality and capability of scientists, technicians, and students already in the field. In some areas of marine science, it will be necessary to increase the production of new Ph.D.s in Mexico, including students trained in Mexico and abroad, without sacrificing quality of education. Many Mexican ocean science graduates end up in government and full-time teaching positions. Although this has its own benefits for the nation, Mexico may not be able to afford the loss of such a high percentage of its scientists from active research. The United States is in a somewhat different situation. New ocean science Ph.D.s tend to seek employment in the research sector, like their elders, but the end of the Cold War and the tightening of federal research budgets have begun to place new and tighter constraints on the research openings for new Ph.D.s., leading many of them to seek work in less traditional (in the United States) non-research sectors.
OCR for page 67
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together Ocean sciences require the formation of viable research groups that include individuals possessing a range of expertise: ocean scientists, laboratory and oceangoing technicians, specialists in computer programming, data analysts, electronic technicians, instrumentation specialists, engineers, and others. It is unreasonable to expect individual scientists to possess all the skills needed to conduct sophisticated ocean science activities. This is a particular problem in Mexico, where scientists often do not have access to individuals with complementary skills to form research groups capable of carrying out state-of-the-art research programs. Any educational and training initiatives should acknowledge the need for balanced research groups by devoting an appropriate balance of resources to each category of skilled professionals. Cooperation between ocean scientists in the United States and Mexico would be enhanced by intensive language training for scientists, students, and technicians who desire to work in the neighboring country. The language barrier significantly hinders binational cooperation. The need for Spanish language skills among U.S. scientists is especially acute, an outgrowth of widespread neglect of foreign language education in U.S. primary and secondary schools. Overcoming this barrier will require an extraordinary commitment on the part of ocean scientists and the provision of new mechanisms for intensive language training. Graduate and Postdoctoral Education The 10 largest U.S. institutions awarded approximately 126 Ph.D. degrees in ocean sciences in 1990 (NRC, 1992). This number was substantially greater than the number of job openings in U.S. universities and the federal government expected annually in ocean sciences. The National Research Council (NRC) survey did not include job possibilities in related disciplines such as environmental science, geology, or biology, or employment in state agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations. A conclusion that can be drawn from these results is that Ph.D. career counseling should include preparation to interact with a broad range of university departments and to be employed in "nontraditional" careers. It was believed at the time of the 1992 NRC assessment that the supply of Ph.D.-level ocean scientists was sufficient in the United States, with large variation among disciplines. Only 16 Mexican universities have graduate curricula in ocean sciences, and 14 of these are in marine biology, ecology, fisheries, and biological oceanography (Aldana, 1997). Only two institutions, UABC and CICESE, awarded Ph.D. degrees in 1994, four each, for a total of 8 (Aldana, 1997). In comparison, 124 Ms.Sc. degrees were awarded by five universities in 1994 (Aldana, 1997). Thus, U.S. universities awarded at least 16 times more Ph.D. degrees per year in ocean sciences than Mexican universities. As in the United States, the number of job openings in oceanography is less than adequate for the number of graduated students. Both countries require a larger marine science establishment to address adequately all the important basic and applied research
OCR for page 68
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together challenges and opportunities posed by their marine environments and to provide all the scientific inputs necessary to solve educational, economic, and social questions related to the ocean. Until additional research funding and associated facilities can be provided to respond more fully to marine environmental problems, capacity-building activities should focus on improving the quality and efficiency of educational institutions. The need to build up the size of the research establishment is especially acute in Mexico. Fewer U.S. students work in Mexico than the reverse, for a variety of reasons. New research collaborations should make it easier and more appealing for U.S. students to conduct research with Mexican scientists, thus creating research partnerships in the early stages of a scientist's career. Mechanisms to simplify the transferability of student grades and credentials among the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries, lowering bureaucratic hurdles, not standards, should expedite research collaborations such as those mentioned above. Another mechanism that has been effective in the past for building collaboration among students is to conduct binational field study programs for graduate and undergraduate students. An interesting model is the Russian-American Environmental Science and Training Partnership, in which students and faculty from U.S. and Russian institutions worked together from a floating laboratory in 1995 and 1996 to conduct studies on the biology, chemistry, and physics of rivers in the Angara River watershed of Russia. Field observations and laboratory work were supplemented with instruction in the pertinent sciences and language lessons (ASLO Bulletin, 1996). The most important impetus to such student exchanges is, and will remain, the network of professional connections and collaborations between active individual researchers and research groups on both sides of the border. Enhance these connections, and the pressure for student exchanges will rise as a natural consequence. Binational field programs should be planned for conduct in the United States and Mexico. Continuing Education of University and Government Scientists and Binational Exchanges New mechanisms should be developed for promoting two-way exchanges of U.S. and Mexican marine scientists. In many cases, incremental funding to meet the cost-of-living differential between the United States and Mexico and to support travel would suffice. One potential avenue could be the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science. It has focused primarily on sponsoring short-term exchanges and joint research projects of the type required by a binational ocean sciences program. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Mexican National Council on Science and Technology (CONACyT) are additional (limited) sources of joint funding, particularly for travel and workshops. Other opportunities for scientific exchanges exist, such as programs of the Agency for International Development, the Fulbright Fellowship program, and
OCR for page 69
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together programs set up by individual universities and institutions such as National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico [UNAM]), the National Polytechnic Institute (Instituto Politécnico Nacional [IPN]), IIO-UABC, and CICESE. Funding from these sources is not specific to ocean sciences, however, and is inadequate to support the number of exchanges needed for significant enhancement of the ocean sciences in Mexico. New funding targeted specifically at ocean science exchanges is needed. Such funding could be available from U.S. and Mexican agencies and foundations that support ocean sciences and are responsible for marine environmental issues. The U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science is a potential vehicle to handle the logistical aspects of both research and exchange grants. The foundation has accepted funds from the U.S. Department of State for environmental projects and from the Research Corporation specifically for fellowships in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Some charitable foundations include within their scope of activity the promotion of sustainable development in Latin America or promotion of understanding of the sciences. Some types of binational marine research could fit within these parameters. Binational adjunct or visiting professorships are another viable option to promote exchanges. More attention should also be devoted to exchanges of government scientists to promote information transfer and build partnerships between government agencies with similar responsibilities in the two nations (e.g., the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Institute of Fisheries (Instituto Nacional de la Pesca [INP]). SCIENTIFIC INFRASTRUCTURE The infrastructure for science includes human resources (discussed in the previous section), fiscal resources, and physical resources. Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships (NRC, 1992) documented the status of the U.S. infrastructure in ocean sciences as it existed in 1990. Such infrastructure is much less developed in Mexico. This implies that improvements can be made by both (1) improving the Mexican ocean science infrastructure and (2) developing mechanisms for collaborative use of the U.S. infrastructure, particularly while the Mexican capability is being developed. In countries with limited science funding (true for both nations), it is important to first design long-term science plans and subsequently to develop the infrastructure needed, rather than developing extensive facilities and institutions that use all the science money without resulting in an infrastructure suitable for the most important science. Physical infrastructure requires a minimum level of operating and maintenance costs even when it is not being used, so that too much infrastructure can create a drain on the funds needed for conducting science. Thus, under conditions of limited science funds it is important to identify long-term science needs and to develop an infrastructure that meets the needs identified while retaining enough flexibility to respond to unexpected challenges and opportunities.
OCR for page 70
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together Fiscal Resources The total expenditure for ocean sciences is much lower in Mexico than in the United States. The Secretariat of Public Education (Secretaría de Educación Pública [SEP])-CONACyT is the primary government source of funding for basic ocean science activities. Mission agencies are a smaller source of funding for ocean science activities in Mexico than in the United States, and there are fewer agencies in Mexico to fund the diversity of potential projects. Some research support is also provided through universities and institutes such as UNAM and IPN. Little research funding is provided to academic scientists by industry, which is also true in the United States. It is difficult to compare the ocean science expenditures for the United States and Mexico in a meaningful way because the United States has a coastline twice as long as Mexico' s, 3 times the population, and 10 times greater gross domestic product. However, it is enlightening to observe the absolute levels of expenditures of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) and CONACyT' s expenditures for ocean science activities. In fiscal year 1995, OCE had a total budget of $192.8 million, including research support ($102.6 million), facilities support ($50.4 million), and the U.S. portion of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP; $39.8 million). Funding provided by CONACyT for ocean sciences amounted to $852,000 in fiscal year 1995. It is clear from these figures that Mexican ocean science budgets pose a severe constraint to Mexican ocean research and reduce the ability of Mexican scientists to participate equally in collaborative research with U.S. and other foreign colleagues. Science funding is much scarcer in Mexico because of the strict economic policies that have been enacted and the major devaluations of the peso that have occurred since 1982; funds that were previously devoted to science have been diverted to other uses. From 1992 to 1997, Mexico spent only 0.36% of its GNP on science and technology research. The impact on all sciences, including ocean sciences, has been substantial. Currently, there are only 5 scientists per 10,000 workers in the labor force. Since 1982 there has been a gradual, but severe, deterioration in the value of salaries of Mexican scientists. Basic salaries in universities and research institutions have declined to relatively low levels. Universities and other institutions have developed financial incentives to supplement salaries to reduce the flow of talented scientists to industry, other fields, or other countries. Likewise, the Mexican government established SNI as an emergency salary enhancement tool in 1984. SNI provides supplemental salary support that now contributes a significant portion of the salaries of its 5,879 members (as much as 50% of the salaries of some scientists) and has evolved from a temporary measure to a more or less permanent feature of Mexican science (CONACyT, 1994). This program has improved the financial situation of some Mexican scientists, but not all scientists are part of the system. The reward structure of SNI may encourage short-term studies and the publication of fragmentary findings (Ayala-Castañares and Escobar, 1996).
OCR for page 71
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together Physical Resources Physical resources needed to conduct ocean sciences include computers, databases, and communication linkages; laboratory facilities and equipment; and research vessels. In the United States, a combination of federal, state, and university funding for direct facility development at universities, coupled with access to major facilities at some government laboratories, has provided facilities and equipment to the research community. Mexico has a similar array of sources to fund the purchase and operation of physical resources, but the balance of sponsors is different in the two nations and the support from mission agencies, as well as the total support, is smaller. The lack of a basic ocean research policy and the discontinuity of adequate funding for ship time and equipment seriously hinder ocean sciences in Mexico. From 1982 to 1990, ship time funded through UNAM, CONACyT, and the Mexican Petroleum Corporation (Petroleos Mexicanos [PEMEX]) constituted an excellent financial mechanism that promoted significant growth and to some degree, international recognition of Mexican oceanographic research. This funding structure was not renewed after 1990, and the lack of funding has seriously hindered Mexican ocean research. Regular mechanisms for funding ship time (like the 1982–1990 trilateral agreement among UNAM, PEMEX, and CONACyT) should be reestablished in Mexico in order to regain the momentum that ocean sciences attained during the decade from 1980 to 1990. It is crucial in any augmentation of ship time funding in Mexico that requests for ship time be associated with projects that have successfully passed peer review. This goal could be accomplished by using a system such as that used by NSF in the United States. In the NSF system, any research project must pass peer review before any ship time is devoted to the project. Better provision of and access to physical infrastructure, to allow its use when scientists of the United States and Mexico are not using such facilities, would permit far better use of the existing capabilities of Mexican ocean scientists. One means to provide necessary physical resources in the short term would be to develop mechanisms to share facilities. This would benefit both U.S. and Mexican facilities that are presently underutilized. As with the utilization of U.S. educational capacity noted above, shared use of U.S. facilities could be an effective bridge to the long-term goal of increased capitalization of Mexican facilities. Computers and Databases Advances in communication technology, networking, and distributed data access and storage are revolutionizing scientific interactions internationally. Ocean-relevant databases exist in both nations but in many cases have not been developed with binational compatibility in mind. The United States supports several data centers that contain significant ocean-related data. These include the National Oceanic Data Center (NODC)/World Data Center A for Oceanography
OCR for page 72
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together and the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. Data from these sources, as well as from major scientific programs (e.g., the World Ocean Circulation Experiment [WOCE], the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study [JGOFS], the Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Global Experiment [RIDGE], and Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics [GLOBEC] program) are now available via the Internet and in some cases on CD-ROM. To promote binational cooperation and to make data collected in joint and unilateral programs comparable, intercalibration exercises, data standardization, and database compatibility are needed. Most large ocean science programs have conducted such activities internationally and could serve as models for Mexico-U.S. data sharing and intercalibrations. It is also critical that researchers have easy access to the data and data products (e.g., maps) contained within databases. Such access encourages scientific analysis and scrutiny of data, revealing their utility and limitations. Technical and sampling flaws can be exposed, remedies can be set in motion, and future data collection efforts can be made more effective. Several large databases in Mexico could be combined or cross-linked, for example, data holdings of individual universities, research institutes, scientists (Vidal et al., 1988, 1990, 1994b), and industry (e.g., PEMEX, Comision Federal de Electridad [CFE]). Important databases relevant to marine science and management are held in Mexico by UNAM, IPN, CICESE, UABC, CINVESTAV, INP, the National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Informatics (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Geografía e Informática [INEGI]); the National Institute of Ecology (Instituto Nacional de Ecología [INE]), the Secretariat of Agriculture (Secretaría de Agricultura), and the National Institute of Fisheries (Instituto Nacional de la Pesca [INP]). However, there is no equivalent to NODC in Mexico; thus, oceanographic data are not aggregated and archived. Solution of this problem should be a priority. Databases should be compiled and coordinated within Mexico by INEGI, which should help conform the databases to a common standard, make them widely available with appropriate peer review and quality control, and promote the education and training of individuals in database management. Many institutions in Mexico have created their own computing centers, including supercomputers (UNAM and IPN), providing a foundation for data sharing and communication. Communication Linkages Research networks with several nodes could provide focal points for regional ocean sciences that extend beyond the capabilities of the Internet. Such networks should include dedicated World Wide Web sites, as well as more sophisticated communication linkages that would enhance and encourage ocean science interactions and the sharing of human and physical resources. Teleconferencing facilities and high-capacity data transmission lines are important aspects of the network concept. The Internet could, however, be used to promote the rapid
OCR for page 73
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together sharing of data as well as products such as the abstracts of theses and dissertations or other hard-to-access documents outside the mainstream journal literature. The linkage of ocean science laboratories in each region through such communication networks would be helpful for both U.S. and Mexican scientists and could be accomplished at a relatively small incremental cost to universities and states, some of which already have very capable network links designed for purposes other than ocean sciences. Given the widely distributed locations of Mexican and U.S. ocean science laboratories likely to be involved, improving communication channels among them is an important goal. ''Electronic continuity'' could be established by creating regional networks of communication nodes for transmitting information (e.g., maps, data) via the Internet and communicating in real time via T1 fiber optic, compressed videolinks. To such a primary network of nodes could be linked other public and private education facilities such as elementary and high schools, junior and community colleges, state universities, and teacher education programs. Such a communication network should also include government agencies charged with managing fisheries, oil and gas exploration and development, and coastal zones. These networks could broaden public awareness and appreciation of the ocean sciences and their value to society. All relevant institutions within a region could be linked to the networks, but only a relatively small number of nodes should be established because of the expense of sophisticated internode communication technology and associated administration. Establishing an efficient network will require a thorough assessment by network specialists to determine what components are now available and what components should be added, as well as the optimal number of nodes and connected sites in each region. These initiatives could be promoted and financed through the NAFTA-associated Commission for Environmental Cooperation or other binational funding sources, such as the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science. A reasonable short-term goal for creating a specific regional network of this kind for the Intra-Americas Sea (IAS) would include Louisiana State University, University of Miami, Texas A&M University (TAMU), University of Texas, the National Polytechnic Institute, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) at Merida, adding other interested institutions in the longer term. Most of these institutions support large departments dedicated to marine science graduate education and research, field stations, or smaller remote campuses spread around the periphery of the IAS, and/or open-ocean research vessels, all of which could be linked via a communication network. The existing systems of communication between these nodes could serve as a foundation for an enhanced network. The creation of a network in the IAS would benefit all institutions in the region by promoting collaborative studies of the integrated IAS ecosystem. Currently, a large number of countries in the IAS are linked by video. Such a network has been listed as a possible area for collaboration between the International Institute for Climate
OCR for page 74
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together Change (IRI) and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI, 1996).* In the Pacific region, an ocean science communication network might have nodes at the University of California, University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Inter-disciplinary Center for Marine Science (Centro Inter-disciplinario de Ciencias Marinas) of the National Polytechnic Institute (CICIMAR-IPN), CICESE, UABC, and other institutions. Laboratory Facilities and Equipment In Mexico, many universities and field stations are not equipped properly for computing and other scientific activities and thus are not well suited for conducting state-of-the-art research attractive to potential research partners. As mentioned previously, sources of funding for equipment are scarce. Justification should be developed for a basic set of measurements and instruments for laboratories and field stations, and equipment funding should be made available through national programs so that overseas postdoctoral fellows can work with comparable equipment when they return to Mexico. It is difficult for Mexican scientists to purchase and update their equipment as often as is desirable because of the lack of funding and import tariffs that stall the purchases of research equipment and inflate the cost of research projects, thus hindering their funding and the ultimate outcome of Mexican research. In addition, there is no insurance available for lost or damaged equipment. Laboratory equipment, to be viable, must be maintained and calibrated properly. The continuing education of capable technicians to serve within research groups is critically important to the effective utilization and care of sophisticated equipment. Research Vessels Research vessels are the backbone of the physical infrastructure for ocean sciences. They are a major and expensive resource that could and should be shared by scientists of the two nations. The use of research vessels by U.S. and Mexican scientists for collaborative research will be improved substantially if all vessels are equipped with a minimum set of necessary sensors and equipment such as those available on most vessels of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). Mexican ship operators should have an opportunity to continue interacting with the UNOLS Research Vessel Operators Committee, to help U.S. and Mexican ship operators develop compatible equipment and operating procedures. Exchanges of seagoing technicians between the two nations would be helpful for training purposes. The United States has developed a system of information sharing for marine technicians through the UNOLS Research Vessel Opera- * Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) 1996, Newsletter, IAI, Issue 11, (April).
OCR for page 75
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together tors Committee. UNOLS should consider inviting technicians from Mexican ship-operating institutions to participate in its committees, meetings, and technician training courses. There are only three research vessels presently supported by Mexican academic institutions (R/V El Puma, R/V Justo Sierra, and R/V Francisco de Ulloa), so the training need (in terms of number of technicians) for these vessels would not be substantial at this time. The need for marine technicians on other vessels—involved in environmental, resource, and naval operations—should be evaluated. The number of research vessels in Mexico does not reflect the amount of high-quality and significant national and binational research that could be carried out effectively on Mexican ships; rather, the number of vessels is limited by lack of funds for the construction of new vessels and for the operation and technical support of existing and new vessels. Cooperative agreements for research vessel use between U.S. and Mexican institutions could provide a framework for joint use of these facilities and for binational funding of ship time by NSF and CONACyT. Lack of appropriate funding for maintenance of the Mexican research vessels El Puma and Justo Sierra , as well as the unavailability of these ships to the majority of the Mexican oceanographic community because of inadequate ship-time funding sources, has stalled the progress that Mexican ocean research attained during the 1980s. Creation of a funding program in Mexico dedicated to this specific purpose should be given a very high priority. MEXICAN-U.S. COOPERATION IN LARGE INTERNATIONAL OCEAN SCIENCE PROGRAMS Cooperation between Mexican and U.S. scientists is primarily in the form of individual contacts; exceptions include the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI), MEXUS-Pacifico, and MEXUS-Golfo fisheries programs. Joint participation in these programs has resulted because of intense interest in fisheries by scientists from both countries. Mexico is not a national participant in three of the major international programs of recent years: JGOFS, WOCE, or ODP. The recent ODP Leg 165 was conducted in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, but no Mexican scientists were involved. There was, however, a Mexican observer on ODP Leg 167, which focused on the seafloor off the Califomias and Oregon. Although it is recognized that the process of research vessel clearance must be conducted in official channels between the U.S. Department of State and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores [SRE]), and that this may result in official observer requirements, it is also true that such research projects can be enhanced by the early identification and inclusion of genuine scientific collaborators from both countries. Collaborative research in projects important to both nations would fulfill both the requirements and intent of the Law of the Sea provisions on ocean science (U.N., 1983).
OCR for page 76
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together Mexico is a corresponding member of the International Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Global Experiment (InterRIDGE). Individual Mexican scientists have been involved in international GLOBEC, particularly in the Small Pelagics and Climate Change program. Mexico is a member of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), and a Mexican scientist is presently co-chairing the SCOR Working Group on Worldwide Large-Scale Fluctuations of Sardine and Anchovy Populations. The United States is a full member of each of the programs mentioned above, and U.S. scientists should encourage timely and adequate participation of Mexican scientists in new programs as they develop. Adequate Mexican ocean science funding and support is a prerequisite to achieve this goal. Both U.S. and Mexican scientists participate in the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) program as members of the program's scientific steering committee. Although Mexico does not presently have sufficient resources to be a full financial partner in the complete suite of major programs, it could provide greater support for individual scientists to participate, which would help build Mexican collaboration internationally as well as with the United States. The Joint Working Group on Ocean Sciences (JWG) encourages Mexican agencies and institutions focused on ocean sciences to foster more extensive participation in major international ocean science programs that are of greatest interest to members of the Mexican ocean science community, as a means to contribute their unique knowledge and to increase international cooperation and recognition. REGIONAL AND GLOBAL OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEMS* Ocean sciences depend on observations. Sustained, large-scale, long-term observations are indispensable to address scientific questions in all ocean science disciplines. For these reasons and for the sustained health of ocean sciences, it is important that coastal nations, including the United States and Mexico, establish regional ocean observing systems tailored to both regional and global needs. The discussion here focuses on regional systems that could be shared by the United States and Mexico to respond to regional scientific and management needs and that could be essential elements of a global ocean observing system. The primary goal of an ocean observing system is the systematic, long-term collection and distribution of oceanic and atmospheric observations to make possible more accurate weather and climate prediction, efficient fisheries management, maintenance of marine ecosystems and biodiversity of the ocean, intelligent and efficient use of nonrenewable ocean resources, and accurate predictions of the impact of human activities on the environment. An ocean observing system can and should provide information useful for both basic and applied research, including data necessary for the continued devel- * See also NRC (1994b; 1997).
OCR for page 77
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together opment of accurate regional and global ocean forecasting capabilities. The benefits of such systems can greatly outweigh their costs. For example, the annual operating cost of an in situ observing system needed to make useful forecasts of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon has been estimated to be $12.3 million (NOAA and IOC, 1996). The estimated value of improved ENSO forecasts to U.S. agriculture ranges from $96 million to $145 million annually in the absence of subsidy programs (Adams et al., 1995). It is reasonable to conclude that the benefits to other economic sectors and to other Western Hemisphere countries (including Mexico) would add substantially to this value, with virtually no addition to the cost. An ocean observing system would consist of a set of in situ (e.g., ships, moorings, drifting floats, surface buoys) and satellite-based instruments that would regularly monitor the state of the ocean and its ecosystems over time. Its data and dissemination network would provide observations and the results of modeling exercises and scientific analyses to users and data archives (NRC, 1992, 1997). The asymmetries in development of ocean observing system components by the United States and Mexico reflect the relatively advanced capacity of the United States and the incipient capacity of Mexico to conduct the required regular observations. The United States is well advanced in this field, whereas Mexico is only in the preliminary planning stages. Nevertheless, the opportunity exists for a cooperative effort by both countries to work toward the emplacement and operation of binational regional ocean observing systems. This will require the creation of new partnerships between Mexican and U.S. ocean scientists, federal agencies, industries, and other potential users, extending financial relationships to include sharing of intellect, experience, data, instruments, facilities, and labor. Regional ocean observing systems shared by Mexico and the United States in their common Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico areas could help provide answers to pressing regional problems in fisheries, pollution, biodiversity, and ocean circulation important to both nations. At the same time, such systems could be important components of a global ocean observing system (GOOS). The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) is leading the international GOOS development effort in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization, the International Council for Science, and the United Nations Environment Programme. The structure of GOOS has been defined by the IOC to consist of five modules, including (1) climate monitoring, assessment, and prediction; (2) monitoring and assessment of marine living resources; (3) coastal zone management and development; (4) assessment and prediction of the health of the oceans; and (5) marine meteorological and oceanographic services (IOC, 1993). U.S. agencies are determining how the United States should meet system requirements identified by international planning groups, and Mexican agencies should do the same. The U.S. GOOS program will initially emphasize those observations needed for prediction of ENSO events, the consequent rainfall and
OCR for page 78
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together temperature patterns, and observations needed to detect global change due to greenhouse warming, such as absolute sea level and average ocean temperatures. An essential characteristic of a regional-to-global ocean observing system (ROOS-to-GOOS) evolution is the wise collaborative design of systems and sampling schemes for studying important local and regional problems on appropriate scales, that are amenable to later expansion and inclusion in the larger framework of a GOOS. It is also important not to conceive of ROOS and GOOS as research-only systems. Although they may be designed and implemented by researchers and may be invaluable to research work (e.g., some of the problems posed in Chapter 2), it is unlikely that the central feature of importance—long-term sampling—can be sustained by governments without supportive users and well-understood applications outside the purely research realm: applications to fisheries, oil and gas production, shipping, environmental monitoring, tourism, and other uses. SCIENCE EVENTS AND PUBLICATIONS Participation in scientific meetings is an important means of sharing data and information and building collaborations. A North American oceanography meeting held every three or four years could be an important mechanism to build bi-and trinational research partnerships. Special sessions of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Oceanography Society, and the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) could fulfill a similar purpose. Joint meetings of analogous organizations, such as the Mexican Geophysical Union with AGU, would also foster binational cooperation, for example, using the AGU Chapman Conference format. An important aspect of cooperative science would be the development of courses and symposia open to the public to enhance public awareness of binational needs and opportunities in ocean sciences. In the realm of science publications there are two troublesome issues. First, the Science Citation Index (SCI) includes approximately 3,300 journals of the 70,000 that are published worldwide (Gibbs, 1995). Only 50 journals from the developing world were included in SCI in 1993. It is important to enhance Mexican oceanography journals so that they are readily available worldwide and in Mexican universities and laboratories and also are included in the major citation services. However, the economic crises in Mexico have made it difficult for Mexican journals to meet the financial requirements for inclusion in SCI (Gibbs, 1995). Second, when non-English speaking scientists from countries such as Mexico attempt to publish in the major international journals that are included in SCI, there is a widespread sense that reviewing and editing are biased against them through some combination of ignorance, prejudice, and difficulties in handling papers written in less-than-perfect English (Gibbs, 1995). "Although developing countries encompass 24.1 percent of the world's scientists and 5.3 percent of its
OCR for page 79
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together research spending, most leading journals publish far smaller proportions of articles by authors from these regions" (Gibbs, 1995). Some professional societies have already taken steps to address this problem. For example, AGU has compiled a list of scientists who are native speakers of English and have agreed to assist by editing the manuscripts of their colleagues who are not native speakers. Likewise, ASLO is presently seeking volunteers from among its membership to review papers written by non-English speakers and provide editorial advice before the papers are submitted for review. Apart from organizational approaches, there is a need for individual reviewers and editors personally to apply appropriate measures to help authors whose native language is not English, being careful to distinguish poor science, which should not be published in any language, from good science hampered by poor English, which deserves some degree of collegial assistance and constructive criticism from the English speakers associated with or providing reviews for English language journals. Although the majority of scientific writing is done in English, all scientists should have the liberty to choose the language in which to write their scientific contributions. Scientists who have difficulty writing English, but still wish to see their papers published in English-language journals, should seek professional editorial help to guarantee that their scientific contributions are properly written prior to the submission of their works to the editorial board of an English-language scientific journal. All scientists should have the freedom to choose the language and journal to which they submit their papers (within the language guidelines of the selected journal). This freedom does not constitute an excuse for scientists fluent only in English to minimize or ignore scientific contributions published in other languages. There has been an effort within the Mexican scientific community to review the quality of journals associated with Mexican institutions so that lower-quality journals can be eliminated or restructured. Strategies to solve the publication problem in Mexico should be designed to provide greater incentives and publishing opportunities to Mexican ocean scientists in Spanish and to disseminate research conducted in Mexico by translating its journals into languages such as English, French, and Japanese, and distributing them worldwide. Many approaches are possible. For example, the United Nations has sponsored commercial indexes of journals from the developing world (Gibbs, 1995). Sponsors of ocean science activities could pay for special issues of leading international ocean science journals focusing on binational research results. New electronic journals (Boyce and Dalterio, 1996) might be another venue for joint publications, albeit not necessarily a cheaper one. Some Mexican journals are published in English and Spanish and have binational editorial boards (e.g., Ciencias Marinas, CICIMAR, and Geofísica Internacional). Such journals are a natural venue for publication of binational research results. Because library budgets for new journals are limited, the expansion, merger, or restructuring of existing journals might be more economically feasible than the creation of entirely new bilingual, bina-
OCR for page 80
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together tional journals. However, this matter should be analyzed carefully. Finally, binational research collaborations of the kind advocated in Chapter 2 will lead naturally to new opportunities and options for collaborators to publish in English, Spanish, or both as suits their purposes. All ocean scientists need and deserve opportunities to publish their research findings in internationally recognized, peer-reviewed journals that are available to other scientists in their country as well as foreign scientists. POTENTIAL FUNDING SOURCES FOR BINATIONAL ACTIVITIES Funding for ocean science activities in the United States and Mexico is insufficient to support the activities of scientists already working in the field and is inadequate for a binational response to important scientific and ocean-related environmental problems. This lack of funding constitutes a major obstacle to sustained progress of ocean sciences in both countries and the promotion of interactions. Scientists of both nations must work together to remove this obstacle and to work more efficiently in the face of it. Continuous financial support for binational activities will be necessary to improve relationships between U.S. and Mexican ocean scientists and to take advantage of opportunities of the type identified in this report. Ocean sciences are inherently multidisciplinary and thus provide the basis for addressing many scientific and societal problems related to complex ocean environments. This strength of ocean sciences should be emphasized to federal, industrial, and private sponsors of research and to the public in order to motivate greater support of the field. Ocean scientists have traditionally justified government funding based on national defense or fisheries needs. Scientists in both countries must communicate an expanded vision of the benefits of understanding the ocean beyond these two topics to issues such as environmental quality, public health, biodiversity, climate change, and other important concerns. Because many types of ocean science discoveries have commercial applications, industry should be encouraged to contribute support for certain types of research. In the United States, NSF and the Office of Naval Research have been the principal agencies responsible for funding basic ocean science activities, whereas in Mexico, CONACyT has filled this role. With a few notable exceptions, mission agencies in both countries have failed to fund much basic ocean science and have concentrated primarily on sponsoring applied short-term research within their competence, interest, and missions. This is a serious situation because the health of applied research and the policies of mission agencies depend on the advancement of fundamental knowledge. The NRC made a recommendation that "... federal agencies with marine-related missions [should] find mechanisms to guarantee the continuing vitality of the underlying basic science on which they depend" (NRC, 1992). The JWG reiterates this recommendation as it applies to both U.S. and Mexican agencies.
OCR for page 81
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together There is no agency analogous to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Mexico, whose primary responsibility is to provide mission-oriented oceanic and atmospheric science services. INP is the only Mexican institution currently conducting some mission-oriented ocean research and it should continue to do so, but its efforts are at a relatively small scale and are insufficient to meet information needs. There is some international research funding available from the Global Environment Facility (a $2 billion fund administered by the World Bank), the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Organization of American States, although such funding is seldom applied to oceanic issues. Experiences from other regions of the world could be used as models for cooperative funding of joint activities between the United States and Mexico. A particularly effective example is the European Science Foundation (ESF), which was formed specifically to improve scientific cooperation among European nations. It undertakes only activities that can best be handled by multiple nations and specifically favors collaborations of scientists from the wealthier and poorer members of the European Community. Funding for the ESF amounted to 68 million French francs in 1996 (equivalent to U.S. $13 million and 103 million pesos as of December 31, 1996) and was provided by 55 members from 20 nations. The Marine Science and Technology (MAST) Programme of the European Community has a similar role. MAST III is funded at a level of ECU 243 million (equivalent to $304 million and 2,430 million pesos as of December 31, 1996) for 1994 to 1998. Steps to promote binational research were taken prior to 1995 by the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science before it was forced by fiscal constraints to retrench to the funding of scientific exchanges. Given the necessary funding, this foundation could again become a mechanism for the administration and wise selection of explicitly binational research projects.
OCR for page 82
Building Ocean Science Partnerships: The United States and Mexico Working Together This page in the original is blank.
Representative terms from entire chapter: