Final draft – Microbes et al.

This is the final draft of the blog Microbes et al..

This blog is directed to the educated general public and wide science community. To advance from the first draft to this final draft I interviewed three individuals that might read my blog, as suggested by the course instructors. Basically, these are examples of my target audience:

– Maria Manuel Rola: graphic designer concerned with environmental sustainability and human impacts in the ecosystems. Maria represents the most layperson from my target audience. She was the one that suggested me to create a new section (Glossary) that provides accepted definitions for the jargon and technical words used in the posts.

– Renato Soeiro: PhD student in Mathematics with a general interest in biological sciences and human impacts in the environment. Renato represents the wide scientific community with which I want to share the knowledge and ideas from the microbial ecology field.

– Catarina Magalhaes, PhD: Catarina Magalhaes is a Post-doc researcher and expert in microbial ecology and nitrogen cycling from University of Porto, Portugal. Catarina represents a target audience that is automatically interested in the blog due to her field of expertise.

The three “personas” gave very positive and constructive feedbacks on the blog. It was very interesting to notice that the “Postcards from the field” and “Postcards from the lab” were very satisfactory to all members of the target audience. Lesson learned: Using pictures is absolutely helpful to “attract” the audience.

Obviously, the two people that are not experts from my field, Maria and Renato, had trouble understanding some of the words used. For that reason, I created the Glossary page and I plan to write more simply from now on. I plan to post to the blog 3 times per month. This frequency might be challenging but since I have different contents to publish I think it’s realistic.

Below are some screenshots of the later version of the blog.

Let me know if you want access to the blog to check out the following contents already added:

  • About Microbes et al page
  • About Miguel’s current research page
  • Glossary page
  • post in “News from Miguel’s research”
  • post in “Postcards from the lab”
  • post in “Postcards from the field

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Pretty Much Final Draft of Stakeholder Communication in the Choptank

Woo hoo! It feels so good to be pretty much done with this project. This seminar has allowed me to think about my research, especially the stakeholders that I will be working with in just a few months, on a deep level; I really feel prepared to start my research because of how much thought this process forced me to put into it.

My project still has two parts, a short verbal beginning speech and a visual component. Right now I’ve done the visual component in PowerPoint, but I’m still talking to my adviser, Troy Hartley, about if that is the best method for when we share this with stakeholders. I am happy with how it turned out visually and hopefully it conveys the message well with stakeholders.

The verbal part of the project hasn’t changed much, but is included below. The one aspect I did change was I addressed Kathy and Karen’s concerns about explaining the collaborative process; that isn’t the role that Troy and I are playing in this research process so I made that more clear.

“Verbal Aspect

Thanks for participating in this OysterFutures workshop group; you are an essential and valuable aspect of this project and the oyster policy recommendations it will deliver to Maryland DNR; it could not happen without you and what we do here is incredibly important.

As community leaders, you have the ears of many in this region – your neighbors, friends, family, colleagues, and employees.  By talking with them about this project, and bringing their comments and concerns to the process, you will help make sure that the wider interests of the oyster industry in Talbot and Dorchester counties are represented. First, we’ve compiled some talking points that sum up major aspects of the project. During your discussions, use them as tools; places to jump start the conversation with others. We hope you share things that matter to you and that these outside discussions foster great conversations in this workgroup.

Second, we would like to hear from you what whether there are already questions that you already have about the process, or that you have heard from others? What do you anticipate talking about with others in the oyster industry about the project, and what might be ways that you could suggest to others in the room to make it more effective for the purposes of bringing back those conversations for inclusion in the process?

The process for collaboration will be covered for the moderators during the workgroup meeting, so feel free to ask them any questions you have concerning the collaborative process.

The talking points cover three key aspects of these workgroups. First are the overall goals of this workgroup, why we are all here. Second is going over who is involved and what are all of your roles. Third is the role of modeling in scientific research. We give you a lot of options and things to think over for future meetings and for when you talk to others, but don’t feel inclined to use all/any of these. We hope you’re sharing things that matter to you and will make an impact on the results of this project”

Visual Aspect

I could not get these images to upload in order, so I numbered them so you can understand the direction I was heading in. I’m hoping the appealing visual look of some of the slides helps the ideas stick more with stakeholders and I’m still trying to figure out a clever way to talk about some of them, any suggestions are welcome!

 

7/7

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3/7

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1/7

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6/7

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2/7

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First Draft: Microbes et al.

Microbes et al.

In this first draft I present the layout of the personal blog I’m developing for this seminar. The blog will be called “Microbes et al.” and it’s under the WordPress system. The name is an allegory to the major role of microbes in shaping the environment and the ecosystem.

The audience for this blog is the curious general public concerned about environmental sustainability. Examples of this audience are NGO coordinators, extension officers, environmental journalists, the wide science community, and graduate students. This blog will be a resource to an increasing group of professionals and individuals that seek reliable and sound information on how human activities impact the sustainability of planet earth. Microbes et al. will cover topics from microbial ecology, greenhouse gas emissions, nutrient pollution, environmental pollution, and human activities.

Below is a print screen of the blog front page.

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This blog is organized into 5 main sections with a total of 7 sub sections (in a drop-down menu) as presented above and described below:

  • About – This section contains three sub sections (About Microbes et al.; About my current research (see example below); About the author). These pages will be generally static with basic information about the blog and the author.
  • Commentaries – This section contains two sub sections (Miguel Semedo; Friends). This section will have continuos posts that will include brief commentaries to recently published scientific literature. The commentaries will be written by me and peers/friends/colleagues that I’ll invite to participate.
  • Postcards – This section contains two sub sections (Postcards from the field; Postcards from the lab). Here I will add posts with pictures from my research activities with a brief description of the action (see example below).
  • News from Miguel’s research – Without subsections, here I will add the most recent news from my research. For example, if we take some results to a conference, I would add a brief summary of those results in appropriate language to lay-person audience.
  • Reports you want to know – Here I plan to add links to publicly available reports on the topics covered. Specifically, from federal and international agencies, such as USDA, EPA, or WHO, with an associated personal highlight.

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With this blog, I expect the audience to think that microbes and their activities are extremely relevant to the sustainability of earth ecosystems and that they are also susceptible to changes caused by human activities. Moreover, I expect the audience to feel that research in this field is extremely necessary so we can understand, predict, and help mitigate negative impacts of anthropogenic changes in microbial communities. I also expect the readers to share the blog contents through their social networks.

I plan to work with Janet Krenn in order to improve the blog interface and the contents selected. For now, the blog is private but let me know if you want to receive the contents already uploaded (About the blog; About my current research; Postcards from the field). The blog will become public in early January.

Miguel Semedo

 

 

First Draft: Life Among the Oysters

For my first draft, I outlined the format and information that I wish to include on my webpage/site on oyster reef restoration, ecology, and my research! I am working with Lisa Lawrence at VIMS to design the webpage. In addition to the text below I will also include some images and videos taken of the reefs we sampled. The audience is K-12 (though mainly middle and high school) students and teachers, and the goal of the webpage is to provide more information about the role of oyster reefs as an important habitat, not simply a fisheries resource, and bring to life some of the organisms that utilize these important habitats. Hopefully after exploring the site students will come away with a new appreciation for oyster reefs and start thinking of them in a similar sense as people do coral reefs or mangrove forests: as an at risk or threatened habitat in need of protection.

Potential Site Structure:

  1. Homepage (Oyster reef habitats/threats …)
  2. Meet the scientists (about me)
    1. Under this I will go into my research/methods
  3. Interactive reef page
    1. Species descriptions (pop-ups)
  4. Exhaustive species list

1. Oyster Reef Habitats and Biodiversity

Oysters have a long history as an economically important resource worldwide. In the Chesapeake Bay region oysters have been an important food source since before colonization, and were once so abundant that they posed as navigation hazards to ships (Reference). Unfortunately, oyster reefs are now one of the most endangered habitats in the world, having suffered an estimated 85% global loss over the past century (Beck et al. 2011), and in the Chesapeake Bay the population is only 1% of its historic level. This decline is a result of overharvesting, declining water quality, habitat destruction and disease. In response to this decline, and the negative economic and ecological consequences resulting from it, there have been increasing efforts to restore these habitats and the numerous services they provide.

When thinking of ‘oysters’ most people conjure up an image of a plate of oysters on the half shell with tartar sauce and lemon, however, oysters perform many more services to humans and ecosystems beyond human consumption. One important service provided by oysters comes from how oysters grow. Oysters recruit to and settle on hard surfaces, such as other oysters. Therefore, oysters grow on and around each other, forming three dimensional structured habitats. These habitats, referred to as ‘oyster reefs’ are the Chesapeake Bay’s equivalent of a coral reef, and like coral reefs, oyster reefs serve as valuable habitat and foraging grounds for numerous species of fish and invertebrates. These species, though often not of economic value themselves, are often important sources of food for higher trophic levels of commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish.

2. Restoration and Research

Current restoration efforts, in recognition of this valuable service, have shifted focus from a goal of increasing oyster biomass for commercial harvest, to one of increasing the value of these reefs as a structured habitat in the Bay. In order to improve the likelihood of successful restoration, marine scientists, are conducting experiments and surveys of oyster reefs to help answer some of the uncertainties resource managers have regarding ‘best practices’ for oyster reef restoration.

Meet a Marine Scientist:

Hello! My name is, Melissa Karp, and I am a graduate student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. My research focuses on identifying the diversity and abundance of organisms that live on restored oyster reefs and determining the factors which influence those species’ abundances. This work was carried out in four rivers in the lower Chesapeake Bay during the summers of 2014 and 2015 (Image 1).

(Image 1 will be: Here is a map of the Chesapeake Bay with the four rivers sampled indicated with the colored stars. Sampling these four rivers allowed us to sample a wide salinity range from 12psu-26psu.)

Benthic settling trays were imbedded into reefs by SCUBA divers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and left for 7 weeks (Image 2).

(Image 2 will be: (Left) Here I am measuring ‘rugosity’, which is a measurement of the complexity of the surface shell material, using a chain after we retrieved the tray. (Right) Here are the wonderful divers who helped deploy and retrieve the trays.)

The trays were removed and then sorted in the lab. All species collected were then identified and weighed to provide information about species diversity, abundance, and biomass (productivity). Volumes of dead shell, clumps, boxes (articulated dead oyster shell) and live single oysters (unclumped oysters) were also measured to provide additional information about the complexity of the shell material within each tray. Initial results reveal that these restored reefs are home to a host a different species, whose abundances seem to be related to the total amount of oyster shell material present.

3. Interactive Oyster Reef:

Explore the oyster reef below and search for the organisms hiding among the oysters. Click on their pictures to learn more about these oyster reef residents! (**the below blurbs will pop up when people click on the species in the image)

Common Name: Naked Goby

Scientific Name: Gobiosoma bosci

Interesting facts: The naked goby is the most abundant goby species in the Chesapeake bay, though it is quite elusive as it hides in seagrass beds and among the shells in oyster reef habitats.

Role/Function: Naked gobies are important predators in oyster reef communities eating worms and small crustaceans that live among the shells. These fish are also important prey resources for larger transient fish (fish that utilize oyster reefs for only parts of their lives, such as foraging), such as striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish, which are of commercial and recreational importance.

 

Common name: Atlantic Mud Crab or Black-fingered Mud Crab

Scientific name: Panopeus herbstii

Interesting fact: P. herbstii is the largest of the five mud crab species found in the Chesapeake Bay. Also, they are a host of a peculiar ‘castrating’ parasitic barnacle in the genus Loxothylacus. (www.sms.si.edu)

Role/Function: These crabs are predators of oyster spat (newly settled oysters) and barnacles, and are a food resource for larger crustaceans and fish.

 

Common name: Flat-backed Mud Crab

Scientific name: Eurypanopeus depressus

Interesting facts:

Role/Function:

 

Common name: Big-clawed snapping shrimp

Scientific name: Alpheus heterochaelis

Interesting facts: These shrimp may be small, growing to only 1-2 inches long, but they are one of the loudest animals on the planet. They make loud popping or clicking sounds with their one large claw. These noises are used to signal and communicate with other snapping shrimp for either territorial or mating purposes. They can also use this larger claw to shoot a powerful stream of water at their prey to stun them.

Role/Function: Big-clawed snapping shrimp are omnivorous, meaning that they eat both animals and plant material. They eat small fish, other crustaceans, and worms, as well as detritus (decaying plant matter). They are prey items for large fish such as red drum and weakfish.

 

Common name: Marsh grass shrimp

Scientific name: Palaemontes vulgaris

Interesting facts: This species of shrimp has been shown to compete with and potentially displace another shrimp species, P. pugio, which also prefers oyster reef habitats.

Role/Function: Marsh shrimp are generalist foragers, meaning that they can act as both carnivores and detritivores. They act as carnivores by consuming amphipods (small crustaceans) and polychaetes (worms), and as detrivores by consuming and breaking down dead/decaying seagrass and other plant matter. They are also important food for fish such as red drum, striped bass, and weakfish, which are of commercial and recreational importance.

 

Common name: Common clam worm

Scientific name: Alitta succinea (previously: Neanthes succinea, Nereis succinea)

Interesting fact: Alitta is known to swarm at the surface of the water ususally at night near artificial or moon light during spawning, which occurs in spring and summer. The worms die after they have spawned!

Role/Function: Alitta are deposit feeders, meaning that they consume the mud and get their nutrition from the microbes and small organisms that live within the mud. They are prey for various oyster reef inhabitants such as mud crabs, shrimp, and gobies.

 

*4. The last page will be a list of all the species that I collected during my study, as well as additional resources for students (references, or links other sites/references?).

 

 

First Draft: Guiding Stakeholder Communication in the Choptank

For my first draft, I’ve decided to combine a short speech that I would give to the stakeholders to explain the purpose of my project, and a draft of what the handout/PowerPoint would discuss. I’m still working on how to best present the information to stakeholders; I’m thinking of making it more visual and less wordy. But formatting will come later, the content expresses the important points of the OysterFuture workgroups that I wanted to get across: Goals of the workgroups, roles as stakeholders and the role of modeling. Under advice from Troy Hartley, my adviser, I switched out the last topic from social science to modeling in order to focus more on actual end results of the workgroups instead of the social science process.

Logo for the Coastal SEES NSF project on oysters in the Choptank River, Maryland

Logo for the Coastal SEES NSF project on oysters in the Choptank River, Maryland

TG speech: Thanks for participating in this OysterFutures workshop group; whether you realize it or not yet, you are an essential and valuable aspect of this research; it could not happen without you. At the end of this process, this group will be making recommendations to Maryland DNR for oyster policy in the Choptank, so what we do here is incredibly important.

We figure your friends, family and co-workers outside this group will be interested in what exactly you are participating in and we want you to talk to them! We realize however that there are many interconnected and complicated issues involved, so we’ve compiled some talking points that sum up major aspects of the project. During your discussions, use them as tools; places to jump start the conversation with others. We hope you share things that matter to you and that these outside discussions foster great conversations in this workgroup.

The points cover three key aspects of these workgroups. First are the overall goals of this workgroup, why we are all here. Second is going over who is involved and what are all of your roles. Third is the role of modeling in scientific research. We give you a lot of options and things to think over for future meetings and for when you talk to others, but don’t feel inclined to use all/any of these. We hope you’re sharing things that matter to you and will make an impact on the results of this project

(Beginning of the handout/PowerPoint)

Key Definitions

  • Case study – sometimes, representative example of a larger issue/area. Other times, a study that focuses on a specific region/topic and isn’t necessarily applicable to other regions/topics.
  • Modeling– a way to use existing data to make a particular part or feature of the world easier to understand, define, quantify, visualize, or simulate. Uncertainty in modeling is GOOD.
  • NSF – National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency with the goal of promoting the progress of science which they do through the support of all fields of fundamental science and engineering
  • Stakeholder – someone who has a vested interest in some topic. It affects them economically, socially or culturally, or some combination of the three
  • Sustainability – in this case, sustainability refers to the desire to create an active and economically beneficial fishery while protecting and respecting the biological needs of the oysters

CATEGORIES

1) Goals of the Coastal SEES OysterFutures workshop

a. Improve the integration of science and stakeholder goals for the region

b. Improve the sustainability of the natural resource policy for the region

2) Who is involved and what is my role as a stakeholder?

a) Stakeholders involved include representatives from

  • Watermen from Talbot and Dorchester counties
  • Aquaculturists
  • Seafood buyers
  • State Agency – Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Oyster Recovery Partnership
  • Federal Agency – NOAA
  • Environmental Citizens Groups
  • Recreational fishing
  • Scientists – mainly serving a role as observers with some input during meetings
  • Facilitators – the men running the meetings, maintaining organization

b) Your role in this process includes

  • Sharing your opinion on current oyster management in the Choptank
  • Sharing your firsthand experiences with the fishery, both now and from the past
  • Listening to the recommendations and advice of scientists; but not necessarily following them
  • Understanding the role of modeling in science and how it is an asset
    • Especially the uncertainty of modeling
  • Identifying unifying ideas/goals you have with other stakeholders
  • Being open and honest through the whole process

3) Role of Modeling

  • Used in the later part of the meetings
  • Participatory –> meaning you are a part of adding information to and formatting the model.
  • Model will project the policy objectives the stakeholders deem important –> meaning the model will incorporate human uses of the ecosystem
  • Includes factors involved in the interactions between physical conditions (ex: water temperature, dissolved oxygen), biological aspects of organisms (ex: rate of disease) and humans (ex: catch numbers, policy decisions)

This just scratches the surface of the subjects that these workgroups will hopefully address. Just remember, when you talk about this project, share things that matter to you and your role in the process. You represent the best communicators we have for the project so thank you for your dedication and passion to oysters in the Choptank!

Product proposal – blog to the wide science community

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the primary cause of global warming. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas, 300 times more effective as carbon dioxide (CO2) trapping heat. Although CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels is the largest component of GHG emissions, N2O contributes substantially to global warming. N2O is also responsible for stratospheric ozone depletion and is projected to remain the dominant ozone-depleting substance of the 21st century. Since 1800, the atmospheric concentration of N2O increased by almost 20%. Human activities are responsible for about 30% of total N2O emissions to the atmosphere. Among these activities, soil and livestock manure management make up about 80% of total N2O emissions. If not properly managed, the accumulation of manure and animal waste, e.g. in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), might drastically increase these emissions. N2O is produced biologically, mostly by certain groups of bacteria and fungi called denitrifiers. These organisms are vital for the sustainability of our biosphere, mostly due to their functions in removing excess nutrients from waterways. However, while performing these important ecosystem functions they also produce N2O. Different amounts of N2O will be produced depending on the specific microbes that predominate in the environment. Changes in the microbial community composition will significantly affect N2O emissions to the atmosphere. Understanding the chemical and physical controls of the these changes will help developing potential N2O mitigation strategies. My research aims to understand how chemical drivers alter the microbial communities composition and how does that impact N2O emissions. I’m particularly focused in how these communities respond to the increasing level of antibiotics released by human activities, such as CAFOs. Antibiotics have strong effects in the microbial communities and might lead to increased N2O emissions by bacterial and fungal denitrifiers. At the same time, antimicrobials are potentially reducing the capacity of these organisms to remove excess nutrients from the aquatic environment. I’m working to determine and quantify these effects using novel genetic approaches combined with rate measurements of these ecological processes.

One potential stakeholder to my research is a nature conservation agency, such as the eastern shore Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) from The Nature Conservancy network. These agencies work to protect the sustainability and resilience of the ecosystems that they monitor. Some ecosystems are more susceptible to the problems I mentioned, related to the impacts of human activities in the microbial communities responsible for nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. The VA eastern shore, for example, is home of two major CAFOs and many poultry farms. High manure production, relatively small land area, and proximity to water makes the VA eastern shore prone to contamination with waste and antibiotics. This is potentially affecting the microbial communities responsible for nutrient cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. Knowing how antibiotics act on bacterial and fungal denitrifiers will help conservation agencies predicting how human activities might impact the sustainability of vital ecosystem processes. Other potential stakeholders would be environmental journalists, the general scientific community, federal or state agencies such as the VA Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and agricultural managers, such as USDA.

I plan to develop a blog directed to the general public and the wide science community. This blog will contribute to a more educated general audience. It will also be resource to an increasing group of professionals and individuals that seeks reliable and sound information on how human activities impact the sustainability of planet earth. The topics covered by these blog will range from microbial ecology, greenhouse gas emissions, livestock and poultry industry, to environmental toxicology. This blog will contain a variety of materials and resources such as:

  • commentaries to recently published scientific literature. In this section of the blog I will publish my commentaries to technical literature and regularly invite one fellow researcher to write his/her commentary.
  • disclose and highlight publicly available reports on the topics covered. Specifically, documents from federal or international agencies such as USDA, EPA, WHO that report on human activities, greenhouse gas emissions and antibiotics in the environment.
  • suggest books on the covered topics directed to a general educated audience.
  • besides revealing some results from my own research I plan to have sections about my research activity, such as “postcards from the field” or “postcards from the lab” with pictures from the field and the lab respectively.

All these materials will potentially raise awareness on the general public and facilitate scientific conversation among different scientific disciplines.

Communicating the “Unsolveable”: Stakeholders in the Oyster Fishery in Chesapeake Bay

The problems within the oyster fishery in the Chesapeake Bay are well known and go back for decades. Historic levels of overfishing have led to depleted stocks and intense competition over rights and access to the fishery today; more and more groups want a piece of this shrinking pie. The pieces of this pie however do not all have similar intentions and this diversity among slices has led to massive miscommunication and distrust within the fishery. Everyone living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a stakeholder, whether they realize it or not, but certain groups of stakeholders appear more frequently in the ongoing oyster fishery discussions. Watermen don’t trust the science about oyster stocks, government officials are setting catch limits without consulting aquaculturists needs and NGO’s have their own agenda to support their cause. With the variety of interests within the fishery, tensions naturally arise and not everyone will be able to get exactly what they want. But it is exactly because of that fact that the groups involved need to interact with and consult each other. Bringing together these diverse stakeholder groups is at the core of my research; I want to see how they interact with each other and work together to form policy recommendations for the future of the oyster fishery in the Chesapeake Bay. An especially key component of this is gauging how the stakeholder groups react to and incorporate the science they are presented about the state of the fishery. Stakeholders’ confidence and levels of understanding concerning the science of a fishery is key to properly managing it; if stakeholders don’t believe in the science that was used to form policy aka catch limits, they will not follow them.  Even more specifically, I am looking at their opinions on the role of social science in this process, and its role in marine science in general. This is the facet of my research that this project will focus on, helping ensure that the stakeholder groups know how to discuss the science, their role in this project and the role of social science in the process.

Taking into consideration my unique situation where I have access and opportunity to work with an array of stakeholder options as part of my research, I decided to focus on the one that could make the largest difference. The stakeholder group I am looking to connect with most strongly during my research is the watermen because I feel like this group has the greatest potential at reaching out to other stakeholders not directly involved in our grant research project and the most to gain from my project. The other stakeholders that are a part of my research (NGO’s, government officials, managers, etc.) don’t have as much freedom with their speech as the watermen do and it is more important to me that the people who will feel the greatest impacts from the end result of an oyster policy plan in terms of economic livelihood, the watermen, have these resources. That’s why I’m planning to consult with Karen Hudson who works as a Shellfish Aquaculture Specialist at VIMS and has ample experience communicating with this group of stakeholders. I figure she knows how to address this group very well and my project will highly benefit from her expertise.

My project idea is to create a set of “elevator talk” guidelines for watermen to help them better understand and communicate to others about the research that we are doing and that they are an integral part of; without them and the other stakeholder groups, this research could not occur. A huge part of my overall research project assumes that between meetings that we will hold over the next 3 to 4 years, the stakeholders will be talking to their friends, neighbors, family and other stakeholders about the proceedings of these meetings. Since this communication is going to happen and is encouraged even, I want to ensure that they know how to start the conversation or answer broad questions about what they are doing and what our overall goals as scientists are . The elevator points will focus on three separate areas of concern

  1. What are the overall goals of the Coastal SEES (larger research project)?
    1. Letting them know what exactly we are doing here and why
  2. Their role as a stakeholder in these meetings.
    1. Why did we invite them?
    2. What can they contribute?
    3. What are they expected to contribute?
  3. The importance of social science in research
    1. Why should they care about social science in research?
    2. What benefits does including social science have in research?

The watermen stakeholders will be asked questions about all of these aspects so I want them to be prepared with ideas of how to answer. I am going to emphasize and try to format the elevator talking points as such so that they don’t seem like forced speeches but instead seem like diving boards, jumping off points for conversation. I think this will address the concerns of the watermen stakeholders because they want to know the answers to these questions too and if we provide good answers for them that they can understand, they can then spread that information around. The watermen stakeholders are obviously interested since they made this 3 to 4 year time commitment; my goal is to ease their ability to communicate with others so that they, and the people they talk to, see the science of this project as less intimidating and more understandable.