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The Eugene M. Shoemaker Award for Communications Excellence recognizes USGS products that demonstrate extraordinary effectiveness in communicating and translating complex scientific concepts and discoveries into words and pictures that capture the interest and imagination of the American public. 

by Ann Tihansky and Jolene Gittens

Print Product Category 

“From Icefield to Ocean” by Shad O’Neel (USGS Alaska Science Center), Kristin Timm (University of Alaska Fairbanks), and Eran Hood (University of Alaska Southeast) won the Shoemaker Award for Communication Excellence in the print product category.

The "From Icefield to Ocean Poster" depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean.
The "From Icefield to Ocean Poster" depicts the important linkages between glaciers and the ocean. The product is a result of Alaska Climate Science Center research projects and workshops. The team felt that it was particularly important to find a compelling way to communicate these research findings to Alaskans because Alaska’s coastal glaciers are among the most rapidly changing areas on the planet and glacier runoff can influence marine habitats, ocean currents and economic activities.

The poster depicts the important linkages between glaciers and ocean and coastal ecosystems. Glaciers cover 16 percent of the northern Pacific coastal temperate rainforest (PCTR). They are experiencing the some of the highest rates of glacier loss on Earth. Melting from these glaciers can produce downstream changes all the way to the ocean, including changes to currents and important resources such as fish species. Many of these changes are poorly understood, and the linkages between glaciers and coastal and ocean ecosystems have not been studied holistically. 

The Pacific coastal temperate rainforest runs for 4,000 kilometers from Northern California to Kodiak Island, Alaska, and includes glaciers and old growth forests. Residents of the area depend upon tourism and healthy natural resources such as fisheries for their livelihoods. Evidence shows global-scale warming is increasingly affecting the coastal rainforest with projections of warmer, wetter weather, though with less precipitation falling as snow. 

Because of the complex interactions within the coastal rainforest, the authors call for interdisciplinary research that connects ecosystems from the icefields all the way to the oceans. Improving the long-term scientific records through a holistic scientific approach and coordinated research will also help improve decision-making for resource use and tourism. 

View the poster online.

Read the “Icefield-to-Ocean Linkages across the Northern Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforest Ecosystem” article from BioScience.

Internet Product Category 

The USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) website developed by Jolene Gittens (USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center), Greg Miller (USGS Woods Hole Science Center), Andrea Toran (USGS Woods Hole Science Center), Laura Torresan (USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center), and Ann Tihansky (USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program) won the Shoemaker Award for Communication Excellence in the internet product category. 

Picture shows six members of the USGS communications team receiving receiving an award
Coastal and Marine Geology Program web team members receive their awards at the USGS Awards Ceremony on May 3, 2016. From left to right: USGS Director Suzette Kimball, who present-ed the awards; Jolene Gittens; Greg Miller; Kerry Rae, Chief of Staff for Jennifer Gimbel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Dept. of Interior, who also helped present the awards; Andrea Toran; Laura Torresan; and Ann Tihansky.
Screenshot of the former coastal and marine geology web site home page.
The home page of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program website.

Launched in 2014, the website was designed in response to a request from CMGP Coordinator John Haines and the CMG Program Council: 

“We want partners and stakeholders to easily see what we do to support them—to find the tools and products they need. The Web is an important resource—our front door. It is important that we share what we are doing and keep it updated so it is current and relevant. These front-end pages help our web visitors find the content they need.” 

The website content is designed to reach diverse internal and external audiences, who are curious about changes to the ocean and coasts. The site improves access to both current and historical coastal and ocean research information, including research projects, laboratory and technical capabilities, field activities, data, publications, news, outreach activities, and personnel information. The site allows users to browse research by theme or topic, as well as search by key words. 

The website is a holistic presentation of USGS coastal and ocean science, and represents a successful collaborative effort among the three science centers within CMGP. CMGP offices are located in Santa Cruz, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Woods Hole, Massachusetts. 

Visit the Coastal and Marine Geology web site.


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