Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

photo of a lighthouse on a cliff
California's historic Point Arena Lighthouse sits near the new northern boundary of Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: Matt McIntosh, NOAA

The Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS) protects the wildlife and habitats in one of the most diverse and bountiful marine environments in the world, an area of 3295 square miles off the northern and central California coast from southern Mendocino County to offshore of San Mateo County, just a few miles south of San Francisco. The Sanctuary's Conservation Science Program is directed towards identifying and solving specific management problems, enhancing ecosystem protection efforts, and assisting in the interpretation of the ecosystem for the general public. The Program ensures that science activities address management issues and are effectively integrated into the education and ecosystem protection programs of the sanctuary and those of other resource trustee agencies. Characterization, monitoring, and research findings assist in the protection of sanctuary natural resources by promoting the understanding of ecosystem structure and function, detecting environmental problems, tracking health and trends of the various habitats and wildlife in the sanctuary, and contributing to solutions to management issues throughout GFNMS. Interested citizens, graduate students and principal investigators should contact the Research Coordinator to discuss their volunteer and research ideas prior to launching a project. Research activities may require a permit from the sanctuary.