Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. Like the African Serengeti ecosystem, world renowned for its mammal, bird and habitat diversity, our own "Serengeti of the Sea" stretches along the central coast from Stinson Beach to Cambria and includes pristine beaches, tide pools, kelp forests, steep canyons, and an offshore seamount teeming with life from tiny shrimp to giant blue whales. The Research Program at MBNMS collaborates with more than 30 research institutions and engages in multiple areas of marine science. The Research Program assesses change in species and habitats, and participates in regional research to better understand the sanctuary ecosystem. This information is used to support ecosystem management decisions as well as education programs. The Research Program also works to address resource management needs for information, determine scientific information gaps, develop collaborations to study issues, and interpret the results of research activities to support decision makers and the public. MBNMS disseminates information addressing changes in the sanctuary ecosystem through the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) web site. MBNMS also relies on its Research Activity Panel (RAP) to advise sanctuary staff on conservation science issues that will influence policy, review of research issues and documents for the Sanctuary Advisory Council and sanctuary staff, and facilitate the exchange of regional research information and create opportunities for project coordination. Research activities may require a permit from the sanctuary.