Why is Elementa important for Ocean Scientists? Jody Deming explains…

Photo: Doug Struck, Washington Post

Jody Deming, Editor-in-Chief of Ocean Science, shares her thoughts on joining Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.


What specific research are you currently involved with?

I am currently at the start of a 5-year international collaboration, involving Canadian, Greenlandic, and Danish scientists, that focuses on carbon cycling and transport between ocean, sea ice, snow and atmosphere in the Arctic as linked to climate change. My specific research contributions target the microbial use and respiration of various compounds produced in response to the seasonal extremes in temperature and salinity that characterize the ice and environs, using observational, experimental, and genomic approaches. We are also working on problems related to carbon flux to depth in the Arctic Ocean and on the ability of microbial inhabitants of cold waters to facilitate in situ bioremediation of organic pollutants.


Why do you believe research surrounding human/nature interactions within the epoch of the Anthropocene to be of significance?

We are integral components of the natural planetary ecosystem, with an ability to change this system in unprecedented ways.  As we alter the very habitat on which we depend, our ability to adapt to new conditions will determine the continued success of our species.  Research yields the knowledge essential to our ability to make effective decisions and our ability to adapt.


Which research within oceanography were you particularly impressed by in 2012?

Observational research demonstrating the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice that continues to outpace model predictions; and the continued discovery of new species and biological processes in the ocean.


What are the main research themes you see as rapidly gaining in popularity within oceanography?

Most of these are continuing themes, but research efforts will accelerate:

  • Occurrence and impacts of extreme events emanating from the ocean, including glacial calving/melting into it, associated sea level rise, intense storms, harmful algal blooms, and oil spills
  • Impacts of sea-ice loss on marine ecosystems and human societies not only of the north but also at lower latitudes and globally
  • Passage of thresholds in temperature, pH, oxygen, and other environmental factors in the ocean, leading to shifts or losses in biodiversity and to new understanding at the genetic and mechanistic levels of biological adaptation to change
  • Alterations in the circulation of water masses and the nutrients and biota they carry, leading to ecosystem shifts
  • Discovery of new species, processes, and phenomena in the ocean that fuel imagination and innovation
  • Development and application of approaches for prioritizing and valuing services provided by the ocean and the inextricable links we have to it
  • Further probing of the history of Earth’s ocean that instructs the present and future
  • Discovery related to other oceans in the solar system, that both humble and excite the human spirit

Why do you believe Elementa to be an important new journal that researchers should be interested to publish in?

We are past the hour to bring rigorously obtained knowledge of the environment and our interactions with it as directly into the mainstream of local and global thinking as possible.  Publish in Elementa to play your part in this urgent societal goal and fully value your role as a researcher in generating new knowledge.  Make the results of your labor and insight available to the global community, freely and immediately.  Help to educate and, in turn, to advance effective decision-making and problem-solving.  Retain intellectual ownership (copyright) throughout the process.  Publish in Elementa with confidence that your work will be handled objectively and expeditiously by editors committed to the highest of academic standards, editors who will not claim the ability to pre-judge the value of the work or require that it to be reduced to a “soundbite.”


Why do you believe that open access is important?

In addition to my previous comments, I feel strongly about listening to the next generation of scientists who, in my experience as a professor, already find open access to be an essential aspect of the scientific endeavor.  They do not find it sufficient for scientists to reach each other through established journals and scientific societies, or for scientific knowledge to concentrate within wealthier societies.  Open access should not be some expensive option available only to those who can afford it.  High quality science needs trusted venues to distribute knowledge freely and globally.  Elementa’s Ocean Science domain will provide this venue for the ocean domain of environmental science.


What does your role as Editor-in-Chief involve?

My role involves engaging editors who share the overall vision of Elementa and are excited to join the open-access approach to publication of high-quality work in ocean science.  I will be working to develop a domain-specific vision based on the belief that fundamental research leads not only to new understanding but also to more effective decision-making and problem-solving, as human impacts on the ocean and the planet continue to increase.  I will actively welcome submissions that break new ground in ocean science, especially at the interface between the oceanographic subdisciplines and with other domains of Elementa, including social sciences and policy-making, for we need a merging of all of these approaches to help meet the urgent needs of human society.  Believing in the written word, I will work to ensure high quality communication of the submissions accepted for publication.