Integration of monitoring and research in coastal waters: issues for consideration from a regulatory point of view




Flemer, D.A.
Duke, W.
Mayer, F.L. Jr.

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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Coastal marine ecosystems are characterized by a high degree of natural variability. The weak resolving power of marine science to differentiate between effects ascribable to natural factors versus human intervention often leads to unrealistic expectations of goods and services that these ecosystems can provide. This high uncertainity often contributes to faulty communication among scientists, resource managers and the public. We believe that this problem is further enhanced by musunderstandings of the need to intergrate monitoring and research. We explain why monitoring is a retrospective activity and the principal way it can become a prospective activity is through hypothesis framing, testing, and modeling. We describe the logic that underpins a program designed to characterize the limits of applicability of extrapolation from laboratory data to the field. This interactive, iterative process couples concepts of monitoring and research so that the research question and method are linked to spatial and temporal scales of ecological variability. Without such considerations, important ecological relationships remain uspecified, thus precluding meaningful approaches to management of such complex but valuable ecosystems.


pgs. 980-992


Coastal Zone Management, monitoring, coastal waters, conference proceedings