Science Panel Recommendation: Fund
Science Panel Comments: FY2012 Comments: These comments are from the two science panel members that have been tasked by the panel to with work with the EVOSTC staff on the data management and synthesis topic. The Panel does not believe that Axiom currently has the capacity to conduct the most effective management of the data. The biological investigations produced by the suite of projects included in this proposal package generate data that are challenging to code in ways that facilitate their combination with other data such as physical or chemical variables. The discipline that handles these challenges is known as informatics. The Science Panel views the inexperience of Axiom personnel as a critical problem. This concern does not imply inadequate capability of the key staff of Axiom. It is a reflection of their limited experience. Consequently, establishing a partnership between Axiom and NCEAS makes sense because Matt Jones and NCEAS are willing to share their cutting-edge expertise. NCEAS is the “National” Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and the principals of the NCEAS proposal are leaders in this field. Pairing NCEAS with Axiom, would promote information sharing of NCEAS’ expertise, such emerging data standards as DateOne and on a suite of data manipulation and synthesis tools, such as meta-analysis methods. This information transfer represents critical capacity building within Alaska that would greatly benefit EVOSTC, AOOS, NPRB, and other important research and monitoring enterprises. The willingness of NCEAS to collaborate with Axiom is evident from their proposals and discussions with Rob Bochenek, Elise, Molly, and others. Nevertheless, the most creative and appealing aspect of the proposal provided by NCEAS, and which builds on technical metadata processing that NCEAS excels in, relates to the second phase of work – the synthesis activities. Some syntheses have indeed been supported by the EVOS Trustee Council over the years. These include very important outputs of the program – a synthesis of novel oil toxicity mechanisms in pink salmon by Rice et al. 2003; a book edited by Spies that placed the oil and natural resources of coastal Alaska in a context of changing climate; reviews of the delayed and indirect mechanisms by which EVOS oil caused ecological injuries by Peterson et al. (2003); and reviews of multi-year EVOS oil persistence on Alaskan beaches by Short and colleagues. Despite these valuable legacies, more synthesis is needed into the future, including on herring, where numerous potential explanations for its lack of recovery exist and a growing body of diverse data requires synthesis to extract now cryptic insights. Phase II of the NCEAS proposal promises facilitation of just such synthesis outputs. This activity is extremely important for both the Herring and especially the Long-term Monitoring programs. The Panel recommends funding of this Phase II, under conditions that reflect engagement of the PIs from these two programs to develop the questions to be addressed and help select the experts who will participate in the study groups and synthesis efforts. The Panel notes that failure to solve the problem of creating an enduring depository for EVOS-Trustee funded data is a long-standing problem. At least 10 year ago, the EVOS Trustee Council and staff endorsed the responsible and ethically necessary principle that each study funded by the Council must deliver all resulting data in electronic form to the council staff as part of their final reporting obligations. Despite this mandate, there exists now no data base of the historically-funded projects. This issue has great capacity to embarrass the Council and the memory of the past failures motivates the Panel to recommend finally solving this problem by engaging the undeniable expertise and pre-eminence of NCEAS to collaborate in this venture.
Science Coordinator Recommendation: Fund
Science Coordinator Comments: FY2012 Comments: I concur with the science panel and strongly recommend that this proposal be funded. Data may be the single largest legacy of these programs and it is critical that the work starts on the strongest foundation possible.
Public Advisory Committee (PAC) Recommendation: No Consensus
Public Advisory Committee (PAC) Comments: Fy2012 Comments: Funding recommendation: Not Reviewed
Executive Director Recommendation: Fund
Executive Director Comments: FY2012 Comments: I also strongly concur with the science panel and science coordinator. The PAC was also strongly in favor of this very important collaboration, historical data recovery and the synthesis work.
Trustee Council Decision: Fund
Trustee Council Comments: (Not Available)