Conservation Series

From the Scientists

The Conservation Series is a publication series hosted by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. It provides a forum to publish reports that focus on complex issues facing the sanctuary system. View frequently asked questions about the Series!

Listing of Publications

Reports published in the Conservation Series since it began in 1999 are available for viewing or downloading. Access the reports.

About the Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series

The mission of NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is to identify, designate, protect and manage the ecological, recreational, research, educational, historical, and aesthetic resources and qualities of nationally significant coastal and marine areas. The existing marine sanctuaries differ widely in their natural and historical resources and include nearshore and open ocean areas ranging in size from less than one square mile to more than 582,000 square miles. Protected habitats include rocky coasts, kelp forests, coral reefs, seagrass beds, estuarine habitats, hard and soft bottom habitats, segments of whale migration routes, and shipwrecks.

Because of considerable differences in settings, resources, and threats, each marine sanctuary has a tailored management plan. Conservation, education, research, monitoring, and enforcement programs vary accordingly. The integration of these programs is fundamental to marine protected area management. The ONMS Conservation Series reflects and supports this integration by providing a forum for publication and iscussion of the complex issues currently facing the sanctuary system. Topics of published reports vary substantially and may include descriptions of programs, discussions on resource management issues, and results of scientific research and monitoring projects. The series facilitates integration of natural sciences, socioeconomic and cultural sciences, education, and policy development to accomplish the diverse needs of NOAA's resource protection mandate.

Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series Preparation Guidelines

Download a template for Conservation Series reports. Please download the Conservation Series template every time you create a new document, as it is routinely updated and may have changed since you last used it. Additional guidance is provided within the template. The Conservation Series template may also be requested via e-mail from

Please review and adhere to the ONMS style guide for long-form reports when drafting your report. In addition to guidance on style and formatting, the style guide includes important information regarding document accessibility. All ONMS documents must be Section 508 compliant as a condition of publication. Please carefully review accessibility guidelines prior to figure preparation. If you are unable to access the style guide using the link above, please contact to request a copy.

Submission and Publication Process

The sections below provide details on the submission, review, and publication process. The time between submission and publication can vary depending on the volume of reports in queue.

Submitting Your Report

The document should be submitted electronically (in Microsoft Word) to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries ( All submitted manuscripts must meet the standards set forth in this guidance, the ONMS style guide for long-form reports, and the Conservation Series template. When submitting the report, authors should provide the names, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of three suggested reviewers who have expertise on the subject matter in the report.

Peer Review

Every report submitted to the Conservation Series is reviewed by one to three individuals who are considered to be experts in their field and were not involved in the development of the report. Reviewers are given one month to review the report and are expected to submit comments and edits based on the quality, completeness, and accuracy of the document. ONMS compiles the edits and comments from all of the reviewers and forwards them to the author.


The authors edit the report based on reviewer comments. Once completed, the corresponding author must return two versions of the report back to ONMS. The first should include all of the reviewers' comments along with the author's edits made in track changes mode. If the author does not agree with a comment made by a reviewer and feels that no change is necessary, a statement must be included in the comment bubble noting the disagreement. The second version of the report should have all the changes accepted – essentially a "cleaned up" version of the report that addresses all reviewer comments and meets the formatting guidelines.

Clearance and Best Practices Review

Once the report is revised, it will be finalized and cleared for publication by ONMS headquarters. The corresponding author will be given instructions on how to provide additional information about the report to facilitate clearance. Each report must also undergo a best practices review, during which it is copy edited and reviewed for compliance with formatting guidelines. Once the corresponding author accepts these final edits, the report will be published on the ONMS website.


The final document is made available to the public on the ONMS website.

Press Release

If the content of the report is deemed newsworthy, ONMS staff will draft and circulate a press release and might also post information through social media outlets. The corresponding author may be asked for additional information to facilitate this process.