The Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) was established in October 2001 through a cooperative agreement between National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Educational Partnership Program (EPP) and Florida A&M University (FAMU) in collaboration with Delaware State University (DSU), Jackson State University (JSU), Morgan State University (MSU), South Carolina State University (SCSU), and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School (UM-RSMAS), with remote sensing activities supported by Creighton University (CU), and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (UNL). During the second 5-year grant cycle, two new partners including Texas A&M University (TAMU) at Corpus Christi, and Bethune Cookman University were added.
The ECSC addresses ecological and management issues through studies at several NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) sites and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The ECSC NERR partners initially included:
- Apalachicola (FL) NERR (ANERR)
- Grand Bay (MS) NERR (GBNERR)
- ACE Basin (SC) NERR (ACE Basin)
- Delaware NERR (DNERR)
- Chesapeake (MD) NERR (CBNERR). Mission-Aransas (TX) National Estuarine Research Reserve (MANERR) was recently added as a result of the new partnership with TAMU.
The mission of the ECSC is to provide the coastal environmental community (e.g., scientists, managers and other stakeholders) with transferable strategies, methodologies, natural and social science research, and technological tools to enhance effectively the decisions-making process related to integrated coastal management. Through our culturally diverse institutions, we provide a framework for education and training of scientists, students, and our communities, as well as create a pipeline for graduate schools and the workforce that will guide future science and society’s coastal environmental stewardship and will significantly enhance the development of under-represented minorities in the environmental sciences.
A central long-term goal of the ECSC is to become a National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Center, with particular emphases on:
- Integrated analyses in support of environmental decision-making, i.e., a place-based ecosystem management approach focused on three partner NERR sites, ANERR, GBNERR, and DNERR
- Development and application of socioeconomic tools in support of NOAA needs and coastal environmental decision-making
- Development and application of research on geospatial characteristics, ecological processes, and indicators of ecosystem health, again in support of NOAA and coastal environmental decision-making.
Our primary goal is to strive to understand the coupling of human and ecological systems, advance the science of stress ecology across coastal ecosystem, and assess societal environmental values and goals.
The specific objectives of the Center are to:
- Increase the number of students, particularly underrepresented minorities, in the environmental, coastal, and oceanic sciences by training students and expanding the capacity of faculty from member institutions to participate in NOAA-related research.
- Develop tools, including conceptual models, to assess the response of coastal ecosystems and communities to perturbation, and to develop measurement programs to monitor critical system attributes.
- Improve the scientific basis for coastal resource management.
- Facilitate community education and outreach relating to the function and significance of coastal ecosystems.