Article Alert: The 2012 H.T. Odum Synthesis Essay

Since I stumbled across Margaret Palmer's "Reforming watershed restoration: Science in need of application and applications in need of science," I have watched Estuaries and Coasts (formerly Chesapeake Science) for their annual H.T Odum Synthesis Essay.

This year, they ran the Odum Essay early (perhaps due to concerns about the Mayan calendar?) an it is now out. This time around Michael Kemp and Walter Boynton break apart what synthesis is, can be and should be in coastal science and how it's taught. It's a novel approach for the essay, which has commonly focused broadly on disciplinary aspects of estuarine and coastal science.  Like many Odum Essays, this year's entry takes a surprisingly accesible tone and reads much shorter than the page length. I also think the authors have really hit on the disciplinary strengths of many urgent applied sciences - not just coastal science - and are continuing a discussion in how to make this science transformative, applicable and teachable across social strata. While I could expound further on this year's essay, I'll forego such discussion for now and encourage you to have a look for yourself.


Kemp, W.M. and W.R. Boynton. 2012. Synthesis in Estuarine and Coastal Ecological Research: What Is It, Why Is It Important, and How Do We Teach It? Estuaries and Coasts 35: 1:22.

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