Research and Monitoring
We conduct scientific research in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary for three important reasons:
- to survey to know what’s there (baseline data);
- to detect trends, improvements or declines in important resources or changes that are part of larger global processes; and
- to give us the scientific basis for making important conservation decisions.
Our research program includes all of these missions.
With ongoing research in coastal habitat programs, we monitor to determine the status and condition of marine life and their long-term trends in the intertidal and subtidal habitats. Our oceanography program uses nearshore scientific moorings to monitor water chemistry and currents for investigations into climate change (e.g., ocean acidification) and hypoxia events as well as other related research to help understand and determine their impacts on the sanctuary.
One of the ocean’s most astonishing qualities is the diversity of living things that live there. The complete list of animals and plants occupying the seas has never been, and may never be totally known. From microscopic organisms that drift unseen in the currents, to the largest whales, the marine life of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary reminds us that humans share our ocean planet with other inhabitants.
From our marine wildlife research, we know that twenty nine species of marine mammals reside in or migrate through Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, including whales and porpoises, seals and sea lions, and sea otters. And there are more than 100 species of seabirds spend at least part of their lives in the sanctuary, which range from shorebirds to high-seas albatrosses. Monitoring wide-ranging marine wildlife requires working with many resource partners using different survey platforms, such as boats, ships, and aircraft.
If you’re interested in taking an active role in helping care for our sanctuary, it’s easy to join our Citizen Science team. Hours that you spend working to improve marine habitats, understand trends in marine wildlife and share knowledge with others show your generosity to future generations. All of these research programs are helping us to better understand ecosystem processes which are the ultimate challenges to marine conservation science. It requires a wide range of disciplines and the coordination of many subject-area experts.