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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Harris. H. White

Publication Date


Book Title

Concepts in Marine Pollution Measurements


Maryland Sea Grant Publication


College Park, MD


The following comments present a critical, but not negative, point of view that seeks identification of improved approaches to "marine pollution effects" studies. The current literature has many examples of the disquiet that the authors experience in reviewing or participating in recent studies. As pointed out by Dayton (1982), in reviewing the proceedings of a symposium: The Shore Environment, "Environmental protection programs are increasingly criticized by ecologists, regulatory and management agencies, and private business as being of questionable quality and value. Because regulatory agencies and many ecologists are uncomfortable with the highly probabilistic nature of ecology, there is a tendency, often a legal necessity, for impact studies to be very detailed and specific and to collect reams of data that have no underlying logic and defy generalization or test. This prevents the growth of coastal ecology as a science." It seems interesting and paradoxicaI that the collection of a large amount of data prevents the growth of a particular science, but it seems to be true.

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