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Papahānaumokuākea MNM Science Needs
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 PMNM Management Plan. To contact us about the science needs described below, contact the Sanctuary Research Coordinators.


Biodiversity (Updated 5/1/2010)
Managers require adequate information on the status of biodiversity in order to effectively protect resources of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument).

Climate Change - Ocean Acidification (Updated 5/1/2010)
Global climate change is linked to increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This affects the chemical makeup of seawater resulting in what is commonly referred to as ocean acidification. Ocean acidification can result in detrimental effects on marine calcifying organisms such as corals and coralline algae, and threaten the extensive reef habitats within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument)

Climate Change - Sea Level Rise (Updated 5/1/2010)
Global climate change is documented to be a driver of sea level rise. The impacts of sea level rise in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument) can include loss of terrestrial habitat and the possibility of drowning the coral reefs found there.

Coral Bleaching (Updated 5/1/2010)
One of the impacts of global climate change is increasing sea surface temperatures, which have been well documented to be a driver in mass coral bleaching events. Global models predict that sea surface temperatures will continue to rise and increased occurrences of worldwide mass coral bleaching events are anticipated.

Coral Disease (Updated 5/1/2010)
The incidence of coral diseases in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument) is currently low compared with reefs in other areas of the world. However, the possibility of new or increased levels of diseases, in combination with other threats to the health of monument coral reefs, could be significant.

Deep Water Habitat Research (Updated 5/1/2010)
A vast majority of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument) encompasses habitats beyond depths accessible to researchers using conventional SCUBA (>100 feet). Relatively little is known about these deep water habitats or the organisms that populate them, despite the large area of the Monument that they represent. More information is necessary to establish biodiversity baselines found at greater depths in order to effectively manage and protect them.

Endangered Species (Updated 5/1/2010)
The Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is in crisis, with the current decline at a rate of 5% of the population per year. The decline has lasted twenty years and only about 1200 monk seals remain. Information is needed to guide management efforts to recover this vulnerable species.

Invasive Species (Updated 5/1/2010)
An invasive species can be defined as an organism that is not native to a particular ecosystem, that demonstrates rapid growth and spread, invades habitats, and displaces native organisms. Managers need to understand the potential ecological impacts of these introductions to the native resources of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument).

Marine Debris (Updated 5/1/2010)
Many reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have been inundated with debris lost or discarded by North Pacific commercial fishing operations or dispersed from other marine or terrestrial sources. These objects degrade reef health by abrading, poisoning, smothering and dislodging corals and other benthic organisms, and entangling fish, marine mammals, crustaceans and other mobile species.

Maritime Heritage (Updated 5/1/2010)
Maritime heritage resources have not been thoroughly inventoried in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument). Until recently, many maritime heritage sites in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands remained uninvestigated because of their remote location and the challenges of conducting work in these remote atolls. With the support of several partners, NOAA has been able to begin the important process of identifying, documenting and protecting these maritime heritage resources in the Monument. The main Hawaiian Islands have experienced the illegal removal of historic artifacts, as well as the potential destruction of historic material from nearshore construction and dredging projects. By comparison, NWHI maritime heritage resources are relatively intact and undisturbed. NOAA, the State of Hawaii, and FWS have the statutory responsibility to inventory, evaluate, and interpret these heritage resources, and together increase maritime heritage preservation in the Monument and awareness of these unique resources throughout the State.

Resource Characterization (Updated 5/1/2010)
- Managers require an understanding of the spatial distribution of biological, physical and cultural resources of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument) in order to effectively target areas for management actions.

Water Quality (Updated 5/1/2010)
Prior human activities on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have resulted in a variety of contaminants that remain in and around the islands. Managers need to understand the extent and impacts of these land-based sources of contamination to the marine resources of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM or Monument).

Historical Ecology (Updated 5/1/2010)
Historical ecology involves the connection between people and the environment in which they live. Rather than examining one instance, historical ecology may involve the human relationship to the environment over time in order to develop a broad understanding of this association. Humans have had an impact upon the marine environment in a variety of ways including extraction, harvesting, marine debris, invasive species and vessel groundings among others. The purpose of historical ecology in the context of management is to develop a better understanding of the baseline from which resources can be managed.

Cover Sheet

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