Explore the Blue

Ninety-five percent of the ocean is unexplored, and sanctuaries act as living laboratories to help us better understand the ocean planet we live on. Each day, scientists in the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries dedicate themselves to better understanding these underwater treasures. From responding to invasive species like the Indo-Pacific lionfish to monitoring the effects of climate change and other human impacts on marine ecosystems, scientists help us understand what lives in these blue environments and how we can better restore and protect them.

Because national marine sanctuaries are located around the country, they offer unique opportunities to monitor, observe and investigate the ocean on a local, regional and national scale. These "sentinel sites" offer limitless research and monitoring opportunities, and also provide a sense of place that stimulates curiosity about the world and its diverse habitats.

Marine sanctuaries are places where government, academic and citizen scientists work collectively and share information on sanctuary conditions and emerging threats — and they are places where the next generation of scientists can prepare to lead the way.