A major feature of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) is the focus on science integration and application.
Science integration is an effort that goes beyond the generation and reporting of data-it is the attempt to synthesize and interpret the world in light of new scientific findings. Developing an integrated picture using disparate findings is often the most difficult challenge for scientists. Science integration typically requires input from a variety of disciplines, and a large part of the science conducted at UMCES is multi-disciplinary, often combining physics, chemistry, geology and biology.
Science application is an effort that goes beyond the scientific peer group-it is the attempt to conduct research that will have direct applications, particularly in resource management. Scientific results are typically published in journals and books that are targeted for other like-minded scientists. The efforts to communicate findings to a broader audience and to develop ways to implement various policies that stem from research findings are included in science application. The combination of science integration with science application is a powerful approach in dealing with environmental problems-it allows scientists to go beyond just identifying and documenting problems and provides opportunities to actually solve important problems.
From the creation of Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in 1925, scientists at UMCES have been devoting their professional lives to studying and solving environmental problems. In terms of virtue, the creation of IAN represents the latest in a series of faculty initiatives to stimulate and enhance the effectiveness of their research.
IAN provides opportunities for scientists to build credibility with stakeholders, as well as enhancing the already substantial credibility with scientific peers. Creative ways of synthesizing data, communicating results and developing solutions are being pioneered at UMCES, using established and emerging technologies. In terms of tenacity, UMCES is in the business of environmental problem solving for the long term. From the creation of Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in 1925, scientists at UMCES have been devoting their professional lives to studying and solving environmental problems. In terms of virtue, the creation of IAN represents the latest in a series of faculty initiatives to stimulate and enhance the effectiveness of their research.
A large part of the integration and application effort is channeled through the Maryland Sea Grant College, now a part of UMCES. Maryland Sea Grant has produced a series of videos and books that serve to synthesize and communicate scientific results relevant to Chesapeake Bay. In addition, their Chesapeake Quarterly publication and dynamic web site provide regular updates to the broader community. Sea Grant extension agents work at the interface of science and the community and they have been instrumental in promoting a more scientific approach to resource management.
In addition to the myriad, concerted efforts at science integration and application focusing on Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, UMCES scientists are also asked to contribute to scientific leadership in integration and application elsewhere. Each year, UMCES scientists travel throughout the U.S. and to literally every continent on earth to advise, consult and contribute to efforts to synthesize and interpret complex environmental problems. UMCES scientists are helping with some of the most pressing environmental problems on earth such as the Hudson River toxicant clean-up, Baltic Sea eutrophication, Census of Marine Life, effects of global warming on polar oceans, assessing estuarine health on continental scales, invasive species effects, Florida Bay and Everglades restoration. In this way, the tools and approaches that are being developed in Chesapeake Bay can be tested and refined, as well as providing opportunities to broaden the scope of influence that UMCES scientists can have in the world.