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Teams, networks, and networks of networks advancing our understanding and conservation of inland waters

May 23, 2022

Networks are defined as groups of interconnected people and things, and by this definition, networks play a major role in the science of inland waters. In this article, we bring the latest social network research to understand and improve inland waters science and conservation outcomes. What we found is that relationships matter.

Different teams and networks have different objectives and lifespans. Consider this: Data collection networks may persist for decades, whereas knowledge-generating teams may exist only for months. The structure of connections in a network determines how easily information or resources can flow or pass through a network, which then influences the ability of the network to accomplish work like creating and applying new knowledge, integrating knowledge across fields, or coordinating collective action.

When independent networks designed around different purposes become connected to achieve new goals, a network of networks is formed, where each layer is a unique network defined by social, geographic, and temporal boundaries and distinct types of connections. This structure has a lot of potential for transformative work, but is especially susceptible to failure if one of the cross-network connections fails.

From the smallest of inland waters research teams to the largest, multi-institutional, international collaborations, an understanding of how the connections between people are created and maintained can be used to set up conditions for success.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Teams, networks, and networks of networks advancing our understanding and conservation of inland waters
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-819166-8.00054-2
Authors Emily K. Read, Jennifer Cross, Nicole M. Herman-Mercer, Samantha K. Oliver, Catherine M. O'Reilly
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70237019
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Western Branch; WMA - Integrated Modeling and Prediction Division; Upper Midwest Water Science Center