Massive work on coastal science launched
A James Cook University academic has produced what is believed to be the world’s most comprehensive work on estuarine and coastal science.
The collection of 12 books - The Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science – has more than 350 authors from across the world and runs to about 6000 pages
Dr Eric Wolanski, Adjunct Professor in JCU’s School of Marine and Tropical Biology and Principal Research Officer in the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research, said the volumes took about four years to complete.
Dr Wolanski co-edited the Treatise with Dr Donald McLusky from Scotland’s Stirling University, and it will be launched next Tuesday (April 24) at the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library on JCU’s Townsville campus.
“Estuarine and coastal areas are among the most heavily impacted by human settlement and activities worldwide, and those impacts will worsen with human population growth and climate change,” Dr Wolanski said.
“These 12 books show how science can find solutions for sustainable human and ecosystem well-being – i.e. the ‘Technology’ side of the science - as much as the Science itself.”
The books cover geography, geomorphology, hydrodynamics including modelling, geology, geochemistry and biogeochemistry.
“They also cover ecology and modelling estuarine ecosystems, and address the human impacts, practical measures of remediation and restoration, as well as the ecological economics of estuaries and coasts,” Dr Wolanski said.
An Associate at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Dr. Wolanski has been studying estuarine and coastal science since 1972.
In 2007 he was invited by Elsevier, one of the world’s leading publishers of science and health care information, to start planning for the Treatise.
He approached Dr McLusky to assist and together they drafted a plan and based on that, Elsevier surveyed more than 600 scientists and practitioners in estuarine and marine science worldwide.
“They found enormous interest and indeed many willing authors,” he said.
“The main difficulties were to coordinate to ensure there were no gaps and no duplication, secondly, authors were very busy, thirdly we had to coordinate 1000 reviewers, and finally the global financial crisis nearly killed the project but Elsevier decided to still publish the Treatise as it saw it as important.”
The work involved 23 volume editors, all internationally known experts in their field and based throughout the world, while each of the 12 books comprises 10-15 chapters, and each chapter is an in-depth, state-of-the-art review.
Dr Wolanski said that the Treatise would be valuable to many groups including graduate students, academics and researchers, as well as industry and coastal managers including irrigators and hydroelectricity authorities, city councils, port authorities, and government departments involved in river basin land-use management as well as estuarine and coastal development and management.
“The Treatise should stimulate beneficial interactions and actions across disciplines, across communities, and across nations.”
Dr Wolanski said the Treatise would be continually updated and upgraded on the web so it will be a live document.
Issued 20 April 2012
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175