Changing climatic, demographic, and land use conditions are projected to alter the provisioning of ecosystem services in estuarine, coastal, and nearshore marine ecosystems, necessitating mitigation and adaptation policies and management. The current paradigm of research efforts occurring in parallel to, rather than in collaboration with, decision makers will be insufficient for the rapid responses required to adapt to and mitigate for projected changing conditions. Here, we suggest a different paradigm: one where research begins by engaging decision makers in the identification of priority data needs (biophysical, economic, and social). This paper uses synthesized interview data to provide insight into the varied demands for scientific research as described by decision makers working on coastal issues in Oregon, USA. The findings highlight the need to recognize (1) the differing framing of ecosystem services by decision makers versus scientists; and (2) the differing data priorities relevant to inland versus coastal decision makers. The findings further serve to highlight the need for decision makers, scientists, and funders to engage in increased communication. This research is an important first step in advancing efforts toward evidence-based decision making in Oregon and provides a template for further research across the US.
Keywords: Coastal ecosystems; Coastal management; Communication; Data needs; Ecosystem services; Evidence-based decisions.