National Marine Sanctuaries as Sentinel Sites for a Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (Sanctuaries MBON)

Lead PI: Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, University of South Florida
Start Year: 2014 | Duration: 5 Years
Partners: University of South Florida, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System/Texas A&M, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory, NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, ROFFS, Stanford University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This project will support the implementation of a Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) designed to monitor changes in marine biodiversity within three US National Marine Sanctuaries: Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks, and Monterey Bay. The objectives are to 1) Integrate and synthesize information from ongoing monitoring programs coordinated by the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS); 2) Define the minimum set of observations required for implementing a practical, useful MBON; 3) Develop technology for biodiversity assessments through emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) molecular methods and autonomous sample collection; 4) Integrate biodiversity measurements in a relational database that links to national and international biodiversity databases and that informs NOAA’s emergency response system; 5) Establish a protocol for MBON information to dynamically update Sanctuary status and trends reports; and 6) Understand the linkages between marine biodiversity and the social-economic context of a region. The program will use the novel eDNA techniques and ongoing observations to evaluate habitat diversity and diversity of lower to higher trophic levels, to define the ecological state variables responsible for significant change in biodiversity indices and help identify invasive species. Multidisciplinary remote sensing will be used to evaluate dynamic ‘seascapes’ to extend the spatial footprint of the in situ data. These time series of biodiversity and environmental observations will help construct conceptual and forecast models of the inter-relations between human dimensions, climate and environmental variability, and ecosystem structure at multiple trophic levels. A plan to transition the MBON to operations will be developed in partnership with NOAA and the IOOS program. This effort is structured to address the Pressure-State-Response framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and to assess ecosystem integrity, advance protection of marine resources, and promote conservation.


Annual PI Reports

FY 2015 PI Report

FY 2016 PI Report

FY 2017 PI Report