The Big Picture: Integration and synthesis of scientific knowledge about the coastal and marine environment, especially with respect to its interactions with human activity.
Communicating the big picture: Successful communication of the big picture in such a way that federal and local government agencies, as well as fishermen and other citizens, can make wise decisions with respect to their use and stewardship of the coastal and marine environment.
Identifying holes in the big picture: Once the integration and synthesis are under way, some glaring deficiencies in our scientific knowledge will become evident, which, combined with our society's values, will allow rational prioritization of future research and monitoring (much of which should be carried out by universities and private firms).
Build a knowledge bank for the coastal ocean. The regional studies carried by the CMGP collect multidisciplinary data (geology, oceanography, geophysics, chemistry) and information, often on a regional scale. These large-scale databases and interpretations are applicable to many scientific issues, and as regional studies are completed, the overall coverage and view of the coastal ocean grow.
Marine hydrology. We know surprisingly little about the hydrology of the continental shelves. Significant amounts of freshwater are likely to be discharging off both coasts, yet we cannot identify where these discharges are. As our aquifers are being altered in so many ways, it is almost inevitable that we will need to understand their offshore extensions.
The role of coastal and submarine groundwater discharge in delivery of nutrients, toxins, and other dissolved constituents to the ocean.
Ground and surface water problems: contributing to solutions of problems that are the primary responsibility of WRD and state organizations in the coastal realm and addressing the offshore aspects of the problem.
Understanding the processes involved in the drawdown of freshwater aquifers due to anthropogenic activity in coastal areas, and understanding their effect on ecosystems.
Development of better predictive models for shoreline erosion and continental shelf and slope seafloor instability.
Understand sediment and contaminant transport in the coastal ocean. Develop a regional predictive capability for sediment and contaminant transport and fate in the coastal ocean.
Coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion of coastal aquifers, defining risk of building and living in coastal zone and mitigation strategies, ensuring that marine environmental policy and regulation involve or are based on credible science.