Predictors of coastal stakeholders' knowledge about seawater desalination impacts on marine ecosystems
This study investigates variables that shape coastal stakeholders' knowledge about marine ecosystems and impacts of seawater desalination. The influence of trans-situational and situation-specific variables on self-assessed and factual knowledge among coastal residents and commercial marine stakeholders. Data were collected using a questionnaire based survey administered to a random sample of coastal residents and commercial marine stakeholders in eight communities in central California. Knowledge of biological features was higher than knowledge of physical and chemical processes. Both trans-situational and situation-specific variables were significant predictors of knowledge, in particular gender, education, and ocean use patterns. TV and social media were the only information sources that correlated negatively with knowledge. Predictors for distinct types of knowledge were different and provide insights that could help target specific ocean literacy gaps. The study also finds that commercial marine stakeholders were more knowledgeable than other coastal residents. Having an economic stake in the marine environment appears to be a strong motivation to be more educated about the ocean.