11.4.3 Research planning in the US environmental protection agency

Another PoP user working for the US Environmental Protection Agency wrote: “In the last 2 years, a new program (Ecosystem Services Research Program or ESRP) has been implemented as a major objective of the U.S. EPA's Office of Research and Development to transform the way we account for the type, quality, and magnitude of nature's goods and services so that they can be better considered in environmental management decisions.

Within this national effort, a team of aquatic ecological researchers at EPA's Gulf Ecology Division (http://www.epa.gov/ged/) is studying the ways ecosystem services benefit human health and well-being in the Tampa Bay Estuary Watershed as part of a larger research effort to better understand the value of ecosystem services. Within this Tampa project, I am part of a smaller core lead-group that is using PoP as a tool for research planning.

PoP allows us (through a series of targeted topical searches using the "general citation search" function) to better assess and report the "state of the science" based on a complex series of search phrases. Based on the results of our article count analyses using PoP, we are able to better inform the research planning process to either support or challenge research needs previously identified using other more traditional techniques (stakeholder surveys, expert opinion, literature reviews, etc.).

Our current objective involves developing a series of search phrases around a set of societally valued ecosystem services (e.g. fishery production, nitrogen removal, flood attenuation, water supply, carbon storage, etc.) with associated primary habitat/landscape types (e.g. wetland, open water/sea grass, forest, agriculture). For example the search phrase below based on nitrogen removal by wetlands generated a count of 22 articles as published in the journal "Estuaries and Coasts".

Example search phrase ("AND" included here only for clarity): wetland AND nitrogen OR nitrate OR nitrite OR loading AND denitrification OR fixation OR "n:p ratio" AND "nitrogen removal" OR sequestration OR "nitrogen burial" AND "water quality" OR "primary production" OR biodiversity”