The view from the Quarterdeck is gorgeous. As I take the helm from our previous Editor, Larry Atkinson, I’m enjoying a vessel well cared-for and a course well-set. The rich history of this magazine presents a somewhat daunting legacy. It is upon that heritage that I hope to build an even broader audience. Oceanography has become much more than the society magazine originally intended. Most members of The Oceanography Society have kept their full set of back issues and treasure the collection as a resource for teaching, entertainment and general reference. The TOS Council is, as we speak, acting to post back issues of the magazine on the World Wide Web, for even broader distribution. Aquariums have asked for copies of previous issues to sell in their bookstores. What a testimony to the skills and dedication of my predecessors and their long list of contributors.
With this volume, dedicated to the 1998 Paris meeting on coastal and marginal seas, we’ll take that legacy and move even farther. When I was first approached by the TOS Council to consider editing the magazine I made them an offer I was sure they would refuse: I would serve as editor if they would let me implement several changes to the magazine. These changes aim at preserving the high technical and aesthetic quality of Oceanography while broadening the audience. Oceanography should be the oceanographic equivalent of Scientific American, without the ephemera, and without any crass advertising. Oceanography should not only be read by our membership, but it should be the resource of first choice for educators (at all levels), policy developers (at all levels), the techno-media, and the scientific literati. Want to know about El Niño? Curious about toxic algal blooms? Need to understand the basics of ocean color remote sensing? Check Oceanography. But there’s even more. Oceanography should have its finger on the pulse of the community. The magazine should be a source of new ideas, an indicator of trends and a think-tank for discussions. Some of this new approach is already evident in this issue: we’ve included our first interview with one of community’s most influential leaders, the Chief of Naval Research, Rear Admiral Paul G. Gaffney, Jr.
So step on board and enjoy the cruise. The mid-life refit is complete. As you can see from this volume, the ship’s hold is full, the tanks are topped off, and—stretching the analogy even further, in terms of the new appearance of the cover and text style—we’ve even repainted the hull and decks. Oceanography is ready for its next grand journey!
– Richard W. Spinrad, Editor