The power of estuarine collaboratories

Developing science-based strategies to best balance estuarine use and resilience is critical to a sustainable earth, but is also challenging. To meet the challenge, we created for the Columbia River estuary, in the United States, a distinctive scientific infrastructure that we term “collaboratory.”

We define collaboratory as a networked integration of sensors, platforms, models, data, analyses, and collaboration & social processes, designed to enable diverse communities of practice to interact without geographic, disciplinary or institutional barriers, towards scientific understanding, prediction, operation and sustainability of estuaries and coastal margins. This paper introduces our collaboratory, synthesizes lessons learned, and introduces a vision for possible replication to a global network of estuaries.