Seafloor Habitat Characterization in Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries

PI: Lipski, Danielle (NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)
Co-PI(s): Roletto, Jan (NOAA Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary)
Start Year: 2020 | Duration: 2 years
Partners: NOAA, U.S. Geological Survey, California Academy of Sciences, Greater Farallones Association

Project Abstract:

We propose to conduct one seafloor survey cruise in three National Marine Sanctuaries in north-central California, exploring depths between 50 meters to 600 meters. We plan to use a remotely operated vehicle for systematic data collection and exploration of seafloor habitats to characterize habitat, identify areas in need of additional protection, and collect seafloor imagery to inform management of the sanctuaries. This project addresses the National Oceanographic Partnership Program focus area to “Power the Blue Economy” through partnerships in exploration using unmanned systems. Survey targets are located in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, and the northern portion of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is administered by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Half of these areas have never been visually explored for characterization and others need further characterization. This aligns with the presidential memorandum on ocean mapping for exploration and characterization to identify and evaluate natural resources within these areas to inform conservation, management, and balanced use of the U.S. exclusive economic zone.