SIMoN Says: Using Research in Sanctuary Decisionmaking
In 1960, technology giant David Packard said, "Many people assume, wrongly, that a company exists simply to make money. The real reason for our existence is that we provide something which is unique." Forty years later the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN)—funded by the Packard Foundation—was born. Sanctuary system staff collaborated with researchers to link science and policy via Sanctuarysimon.org, connecting the public to marine science and conservation with innovative tools.
Research and monitoring are among the core functions that the sanctuary system conducts and facilitates through its own staff and resources, and with partners. Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary has had several long-term monitoring studies on recovery and resilience of coral reef benthic communities from a crown-of-thorns starfish. With cutting edge sonar technology, innovative models, and vessels of opportunity, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has collected, processed, and classified over 900 square nautical miles of benthic data used for critical management decisions. Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary's research team and partners have explored, characterized, and monitored the reefs and banks of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Their investigations have directly led to the designation of fifteen Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) in 2005.