Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


The role of science and scientists in environmental policy and management is and has been an important, complex, and controversial subject for many years. The objective of this study is to determine how science and scientists interact in environmental policy formation and management and how science is or could be used in the development of policy which can ultimately be used as a basis for effective resource management plans. In the very broad sense this study attempts to evaluate the general hypothesis that "Scientists do not play a role in promoting or encouraging science as a means of changing attitudes and opinions of management and the public so as to influence public policy and ultimately environmental management.". The use of science in establishing well developed management plans for coral reef areas in Australia's Great Barrier Reef; Jamaica's - Ocho Rios Marine Park System; St. Croix's - Buck Island; Anguilla; the Netherlands Antilles - including Bonaire and Curacao Marine Parks; Puerto Rico's - La Parguera National Marine Sanctuary; and several of the Florida State reefs such as Key Largo and Looe Key Marine Sanctuaries were examined through analysis of management plans. The second component of the study involved structured interviews with a number of scientists and managers. These individuals included scientists who had been working on coral reefs as well as managers of these systems--individuals who have an interest in formulating public policy as well as those who do not have. The general hypothesis was divided into a number of statements or subhypotheses which were examined to help evaluate the hypothesis. Close-ended questions allowed determination of the reasons why scientists and/or managers feel the way they do in their responses. Appropriate statistics were used to determine if there is a difference in the way scientists perceive their role, as compared to how managers perceive the role of scientists. The null hypothesis that no significant difference exists between attitude of scientists and managers could not be rejected. The general hypothesis was accepted both by scientists and managers.



© The Author