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ODU Biologist and International Colleagues Publish Paper on Coastal and Marine Ecosystems in U.S. and Europe

Daniel M. Dauer, professor and eminent scholar in Old Dominion University's Department of Biological Sciences, is one of 20 researchers from eight countries who have contributed to a paper that quantitatively analyzes assessments of the environmental condition of coastal and marine ecosystems along coastlines in the United States and Europe.

The paper, titled "Assessing coastal benthic macrofauna community condition using best professional judgment - Developing consensus across North America and Europe," was published recently in the Marine Pollution Bulletin. It was also selected for inclusion in Science for Environment Policy, the European Commission's environmental news service for policymakers, which is distributed to more than 11,000 subscribers worldwide.

Science for Environment Policy provides access to the latest policy-relevant scientific research. Tailored to the needs of policymakers, the service facilitates direct links between environmental policy and research.

The assessments, partly funded by the European Union, were made by experts from four different geographic regions - the West and East coasts of the United States, and the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe.

The experts were asked to assess the conditions of marine communities at 12 sites in each of the four regions using best professional judgment. Dauer and his fellow researchers then evaluated the level of agreement among the experts, to see if they could establish a common scale of assessment for the four regions that would standardize comparisons across habitat boundaries.

The study is a continuation of Dauer's collaborative research of integrative approaches to assessing and protecting global coastal ecosystems. His publications have included 26 foreign co-authors from 12 countries.

Dauer has also been invited to give a keynote address at the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) meeting in Portugal in September. He is one of five scientists who will deliver keynote addresses on the conference's theme: "Integrative tools and methods in assessing ecological quality in estuarine and coastal systems worldwide."

"This is reflective of my long-term dedication to developing methods to assess and protect our nation's - and indeed the world's - marine ecosystems," Dauer said. "It is also reflective of my national and international networking with scientists whose research matters and affects environmental policy, protection and restoration of the balance between goods and services of our historical and culturally essential marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems."

Dauer is also the United States' elected representative at this month's International Polychaete Conference in Lecce, Italy, starting June 10. The conference is held every three years, around the world, to promote the scientific study of polychaetes, marine worms that serve as indicators of marine and coastal environmental health, and play key ecological roles in nutrient cycling and balance in marine ecosystems through their burrowing, feeding and ventilation behaviors.

This article was posted on: June 4, 2010

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