Monterey Bay

photo of lots of birds on the sand with waves

Click on individual links below to learn more about the immediate science needs for critical management issues. For a full list of management issues and science needs, please review the MBNMS Management Plan. To contact us about the science needs described below, contact the Sanctuary Research Coordinators.    

  • Ecological Characterization of Davidson Seamount

    The unique habitat and organisms associated with the Davidson Seamount need to be characterized and studied to assess management needs for resource protection. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Understanding the Impacts of Plane and Ship Groundings and Sinkings

    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) management needs to be able to understand the long-term ecological effects of plane and ship groundings and sinkings. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Development of a Maritime Heritage Program

    The ability of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) managers to adequately manage and protect submerged archaeological sites relies on expanded efforts to conduct paleo-ecological and archaeological studies, and to locate, inventory, and monitor both historic heritage sites and those that may pose an environmental threat to Sanctuary marine resources. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Habitat Characterization of the Continental Slope

    Seafloor characterization of the continental slope (200 - 3000 m) is necessary to ground-truth habitat maps and inform management decisions at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary). (Updated 9/5/2012)

  • Impacts of Desalination on Coastal Ecosystems

    A better understanding of the long-term ecological impacts of desalination intake methods and discharged brine will allow managers to adequately protect Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) ecosystems from threats associated with planned desalination plants. (Updated 9/5/2012)

  • Personal Watercraft and Marine Wildlife

    The ability of managers of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) to educate the public about the impacts of motorized personal watercraft (MPWC) use would be considerably enhanced by a comprehensive literature review of documented MPWC interactions with marine wildlife such as seabirds, marine mammals, and turtles. (Updated 9/5/2012)

  • Landslide Management

    The ability of managers to adequately protect Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) nearshore habitats in the Big Sur region from landslide debris is hindered by incomplete knowledge of the oceanography, biology, and geology surrounding landslide sites. (Updated 8/31/2012)

  • Impacts from Tsunami Debris from Japan

    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) management must monitor local deposition and impacts of marine debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan. (Updated 8/30/2012)

  • Impacts on Whales from Human Uses

    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) provides important habitat for foraging and migrating whales, and supports human users, including large commercial vessels, cruise ships, recreational boaters, kayakers, and surfers. As a result, whales are subject to an increasing number of vessel strikes and disturbances, as well as an increase in anthropogenic noise underwater. (Updated 8/15/2012)

  • Beach Closures

    The ability of managers to adequately protect Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) beach visitors from exposure to waterborne pathogens is hindered by the current slow methods of enumerating indicator bacteria. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Bottom Trawling - Habitat and Species Recovery

    Protection of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) resources requires improved understanding of the recovery rates of seafloor habitats and associated taxa following the cessation of trawling activity; as well as the incidental mortality of non-target species associated with trawling. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Coastal Armoring, Erosion and Sand Transport

    Hard coastal armoring in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) can potentially damage or alter local coastal habitats, interfere with sediment transport, increase erosion, and negatively impact biological resources. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Habitat Characterization of the Continental Shelf

    Seafloor characterization is necessary to ground-truth habitat maps and inform management decisions at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary). (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Human Health - Harmful Algal Blooms

    Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a naturally occurring event on the west coast. In the last 30 years they have increased in both frequency and intensity. Impacts include threats to marine wildlife, economic losses to fisheries and tourist industries, and human health. There is also a potential for long-term shifts in the function of the coastal ecosystems, from diatom-dominated upwelling to more pronounced fall blooms of dinoflagellates, which could alter the diatom-krill-fish trophic structure. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Introduced Species

    Introduced species are a major economic and environmental threat to the living resources and habitats of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) as well as the commercial and recreational uses that depend on these resources. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Marine Protected Area Impacts and Effectiveness

    Monitoring in the recently established central California coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is necessary for further understanding of how this new level of protection will impact Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) resources. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Socioeconomics and the Human Dimension

    Human activities clearly influence the quantity and quality of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) resources, including water quality, habitat, living resources, and maritime archaeological resources. However, more data on the spatial distribution and intensity of human activities and how those activities change through time are necessary to assess the level of these impacts. (Updated 11/28/2012)

  • Water Quality Integrated Analyses

    Management of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS or Sanctuary) water quality demands sophisticated data integration, analysis, and reporting across a diverse group of institutions. (Updated 11/28/2012)