Science Panel Recommendation: Fund
Science Panel Comments: FY2012 Comments: April 2011 Comments: This proposal is well presented and provides a thorough long-term monitoring program for the spill area. The team is experienced and well -qualified to complete the proposed work. The outreach and education strategies and partnerships are well thought-out and have the potential to provide effective means to disseminate information and engage community members in understanding the results of the integrated monitoring program. The potential future development of a citizen monitoring program would provide another effective strategy. The Science Panel was especially impressed with the section called ‘cross-cutting’ that showed the linkages with the Herring Program. Gathering and making data available will be the keystone of this program. The Science Panel expressed serious concerns about past performance of some participants and that the data management team does not have sufficient expertise or scientific guidance to deliver a useable data system. In addition, it is not clear at all there is a plan for the inclusion of structurally diverse data: where and how will such data be organized so that relevant data and metadata from a broad array of disciplines can be assembled in one database. The panel viewed this as this as an informatics problem that, if not resolved at the onset, will jeopardize the long-term program. There is a very clear need to overcome critical technological impediments to accomplishing synthetic, integrative environmental science, while at the same time promoting more open access to information and data sharing. It is critical that this database be open source and be compliant with the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity metadata compliant with Ecological Metadata Language. In addition, there should be a plan from the outset as to how to incorporate this data into NPRB’s GOAIERP program at the end of the first five-year contract cycle. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the Council provide assistance from an organization such as the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) for peer review and technical assistance to the data management team. With regard to the separate lingering oil monitoring proposal included within the Program proposal, the Panel has no objection to the funding of this additional project. June 2011 Individual panel member comments: Seabird monitoring costs double in year 3 – The explanation is clear, although the basis for why two surveys may be needed in year 3 and what is lost when only 1 is done is unclear. Cost breakdown for Coordination, data management, outreach, and administration – The suite of activities included under this heading is now explicit as are the total costs associated with each one in the budgets provided. I wish to note, however, the “conceptual modeling” project of Hollmen does not fall into any of these categories – it is a scientific study, not an administrative service, outreach activity, coordination, or data management task, and should be reviewed as such. In that context, I examined the Hollmen proposal and have some concerns. Although intended to be “conceptual modeling”, I find no mention of any concepts in the proposal. I cannot find indication of the methodological approaches to be used and why they were chosen. For example, will this be a Bayesian process? Will modeling be ecosystem based? Will ECOPATH of something analogous be employed? There are no literature cotations in this proposal. For 395K over 5 years, more detail would seem to be called for. I cannot find a CV included for the PI, Hollmen. Does she have modeling experience, and, if so, in what types of models? Synthesis concerns – the PIs provide a thoughtful and compelling response to this issue, providing an excellent overview and demonstrating potential for meaningful syntheses. Data management – The PIs make a strong case for the cost efficiencies associated with leveraging that lower the costs of the data management for EVOS Trustee projects by joining with AOOS in a coordinated effort with a single consultant-provider. The response also makes a justifiable case for why teaming up with AOOS makes sense – because of their presumed permanence as compared to other science programs. I am impressed that Phil Mundy chairs the AOOS external advisory committee and concur that he has the experience and wisdom to provide rational advice and guidance. Nevertheless, the bottom line after all is said and done is – Does Axiom deliver the data products that are acceptable to the scientists it is serving. This response document appears to argue that the scientists that participate in the Monitoring Program are indeed satisfied. So that helps me side with continuing the relationship with Axiom. Nevertheless, this document implies a willingness to interact with NCEAS and to discuss their recommendations for improvements in all aspects of Axiom’s data management services and I think that facilitating that set of interactions in a meaningful way (meaning to sufficient depth and not just superficial) is important for piece-of-mind given delays in delivery of reports from Axiom on past EVOS Trustee contracts. I am also curious to know of the outstanding final reports have indeed been completed successfully at this time. I see argued in this response document that the past scientist clients of AXIOM are satisfied with the company’s services, which addresses one major issue raised by the science Panel. I am pleased by the acceptance of specific suggestions by the science panel.
Science Coordinator Recommendation: Fund
Science Coordinator Comments: FY2012 Comments: I agree with the science panel and Executive Director. I also have serious concerns regarding the data program and would encourage the Council to assist the team by providing funding for a collaborator to assist the data team in their development of the data program. My concerns regarding the proposed contractor are based on a poor past performance with meeting deadlines and producing deliverables. I also believe that the final product would greatly benefit if Axiom was given assistance from a group that has experience working with large heterogeneous data sets. The PI's that are included in this program proposal have extensive experience gathering data in PWS and have contributed to several long-term data sets that will be the foundation of this program. The team's quick response to our data set questions demonstrates their ability to work together and to openly share information with their fellow researchers.
Public Advisory Committee (PAC) Recommendation: No Consensus
Public Advisory Committee (PAC) Comments: FY2012 Comments: No specific comments were provided.
Executive Director Recommendation: Fund
Executive Director Comments: There was strong concern about the program’s data manager serving the entire program. Since April, the data manager’s work has been favorably reviewed, has submitted late deliverables to the Council and several data management options have been produced by this program and outside entities. These options presented are in conjunction with leaders in the field of heterogeneous scientific database management and are excellent options. I recommend the Council pursue one of these options to ensure successful management of the data produced by this and past Council-funded efforts.
Trustee Council Decision: Fund
Trustee Council Comments: (Not Available)