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NOAA, NASA and BOEM work on prototype system to gauge marine biodiversity

US, October 7, 2014: NOAA, NASA and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have joined together to work on three demonstration projects that will lay the foundation for the first national network to monitor marine biodiversity.

The projects, which would require approximately $17 million over the next five years, would serve as a marine resource management tool to conserve existing biodiversity and enhance US biosecurity against threats such as invasive species and infectious agents.

The networks will integrate data on large-scale sea surface conditions observed by NASA, NOAA, and US Geological Survey satellites with observations made in the ocean and the laboratory.

The three demonstration marine biological observation networks will be established in four locations: the Florida Keys; Monterey Bay and the Santa Barbara Channel in California; and on the continental shelf in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. The three projects, selected from 19 proposals, will be established in different marine environments in US waters to integrate existing observations ranging from satellite observations to DNA sampling and fill data gaps with new observations.

Biodiversity within two NOAA national marine sanctuaries in Florida and California is the focus of the project led by Frank Muller-Karger of the University of South Florida, and Francisco Chavez of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The third sanctuary in the project, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, which surrounds California's Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast, is the focus of the project led by Robert Miller of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Source: NOAA