The Environmental Cooperative Science Center (Award# NA11SEC4810001) was established in 2001 as part of NOAA's Educational Partnership Program to address ecological and coastal management issues at specific National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERR) and National Marine Sanctuaries. When viewed collectively, ECSC activities will impact much of the southeastern coastal regions of the United Sates including the Mississippi, Florida and Texas Gulf coasts. These sites were selected because of the critical nature of their coastal ecosystems; their proximity to ECSC member institutions; and because they presented ideal opportunities to expand existing research, education, and outreach activities involving member institutions.
The ECSC has four primary and interrelated goals:
To reach these goals, the ECSC approach includes: a) establishment of a workforce pipeline into the environmental, coastal, and marine sciences, particularly for students from under-represented minorities through education, training, and research, with emphasis at the undergraduate through postdoctoral levels; b) integrated analyses in support of environmental decision making, employing site based ecosystem management approaches; and c) development and application of natural and socioeconomic science research tools and policy/decision making best practices in support of NOAA’s needs and objectives. To help aid in the progression of these objectives, the Center has developed focus areas that provide an integrative structure for research, education, and tool development: ecosystem characterization, ecological processes, social and economic processes, forecasting and modeling, and policy and decision tools.
The ECSC will focus significant research efforts towards the structure of the economic and social systems of coastal communities and their relationships with the natural systems. By applying an interdisciplinary approach to address this specific focus, the ECSC will incorporate socio-economics, law and policy, and the geospatial, biological, chemical and physical sciences into its development. Furthermore, by utilizing research as a vehicle to train students and develop skills related to integrated science in support of coastal resource management (ISCRM), the ECSC strives to be at the forefront of training individuals to meet the needs for effective stewardship and sustainable management of America's coastal resources.