Olympic Coast

photo of anemone in a tidepool

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 OCNMS Management Plan. To contact us about the science needs described below, contact the Sanctuary Research Coordinators.   

  • Human Dimensions/Socioeconomics

    Human activities clearly influence the quantity and quality of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or sanctuary) 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. In addition, it is important to understand how people benefit or suffer costs from changes in natural and cultural resource conditions to assess ecosystem services provided by the sanctuary. (Updated September 2014)

  • Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

    Climate change is predicted to affect physical oceanographic and biogeochemical processes within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary) and is being regarded as a cross cutting theme for the sanctuary's monitoring and research programs. Further, ocean acidification is likely to change aragonite and calcite saturation horizons thereby impacting a wide array of calcareous organisms. (Updated May 2010)

  • Deep Sea Coral and Sponge Communities

    Deep-sea corals and sponges occur in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary); however, little is known of their distribution, abundance and basic biology which are particularly important since these biogenic habitats are at risk from anthropogenic disturbance. (Updated May 2010)

  • Management and Protection of Kelp Forest Systems

    Kelp habitat and the associated ecological community need to be monitored to assess long-term trends for management needs and resource protection in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary). (Updated May 2010)

  • Mapping and Characterization of Seafloor Habitats

    The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary) and its partners have made progress mapping seafloor habitats in the sanctuary, but much work remains to be done. Since only 25% of the sanctuary has been adequately mapped, there is a need to complete seafloor surveys and to characterize and identify species-habitat associations to effectively inform management decisions. (Updated May 2010)

  • Marine Mammals and Seabirds Characterization

    Distribution patterns and population dynamics of marine mammals and seabirds in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary) can provide insight into ecosystem function since many are top level predators and some are listed species. (Updated May 2010)

  • Nearshore Characterization of Resources and Processes

    Nearshore oceanographic conditions within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary) are poorly characterized with respect to temporal and spatial dynamics and the associated ecological processes. This includes concerns about harmful algal blooms (HABs) and recent hypoxic events. (Updated May 2010)

  • Status and Trends of Intertidal Species

    The rocky and sand intertidal monitoring program is designed to collect baseline data to assess natural variation in abundance and distribution of marine invertebrates and macro-algae and to detect potential anthropogenic impacts of climate change, invasive species and oil spills. (Updated May 2010)