“Sanctuaries MBON” Receives NOPP 2016 Excellence in Partnering Award

The National Oceanographic Partnership Program is pleased to announce the 2016 Excellence in Partnering award recipient: National Marine Sanctuaries as Sentinel Sites for a Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON). Led by Dr. Frank Muller-Karger with the University of South Florida, the Sanctuaries MBON project seeks to provide near real-time information on the status and trends of life in the sea. The project is designed to monitor changes in marine biodiversity in two US National Marine Sanctuaries — Florida Keys and Monterey Bay, working jointly with the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).

The Sanctuaries MBON team uses satellite seascapes to guide sampling in the Florida Keys. In situ Chl-a, specific absorption of phytoplankton (aph), detritus (ad), and CDOM (ag), and harmful algal blooms (HABs) counts from the FWC HAB program at selected sampling sites during the March 14-18 cruise. [Figure Credit]
In 2016, the team made funds available to explore potential expansion of the project into the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The overall objectives of the Sanctuaries MBON project are to:

  • Integrate and synthesize information from ongoing monitoring programs coordinated by the U.S. IOOS;
  • Define the minimum set of observations required for implementing a practical, useful MBON;
  • Develop technology for biodiversity assessments through emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) molecular methods and autonomous sample collection;
  • Develop new methods for the detection and tracking of biogeographic seascapes using advanced satellite remote sensing methods;
  • Integrate biodiversity measurements in a relational database that links to national and international databases and that informs NOAA’s emergency response system;
  • Establish a protocol for MBON information to dynamically update Sanctuary status and trends reports; and
  • Understand the linkages between marine biodiversity and the social-economic context of a region.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary MBON demonstration sites. [Figure Credit]
Sanctuaries MBON is one of three NOPP demonstration projects launched in Fall 2014 with funding from NASA, NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, BOEM, and U.S. IOOS, plus an initial investment from Shell Oil. Funding partners for the national MBON effort have expanded to include NSF’s Division of Polar Programs.  MBON also relies on strong partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) team.

The Sanctuaries MBON team is leading coordination and leveraging resources with the two other MBON demonstrations (Santa Barbara Channel BON and Arctic MBON) towards development of a truly national MBON. They are also contributing to development of the global MBON through the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS).

The MBON demonstration projects are 5-year efforts, with work continuing until summer 2019.

Want to know more about the MBON project? Check out their website!