A Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Network (BON) for Ecosystem Monitoring

Award Period
to
Award Amount
$1,400,000
Agency Name
USDI Minerals Management Service
Award Number
M15AC00006
PI First Name
Robert
PI Last Name
 Miller
MSI People
Area/s of Research
Ecology and Evolution
Abstract

ABSTRACT

Time series data on marine biodiversity is collected at great expense, with the expectation that it will improve our capacity for science-based decision-making aimed at protecting natural ecosystems and sustaining the services that they provide. Unfortunately, most monitoring efforts in marine systems target specific sites, habitats or key groups of species, and are not linked, rendering them inadequate to address regional and global shifts in biodiversity and ecosystem services that result from climate change, pollution, fishing, and other regional- to global-scale impacts. Existing but under-utilized technologies have the potential to dramatically expand our ability to assess species change at all scales. Coordination of available tools, development of new techniques and infrastructure, and integration of these components into a cohesive program will significantly advance our knowledge and understanding of the patterns and drivers of change in marine biodiversity. This project will address these challenges in the Southern California region, with particular focus on the Santa Barbara Channel, and has two broad goals: (1) tie existing monitoring efforts together into a coordinated network and (2) fill the gaps in existing programs with new methods for marine biodiversity monitoring.

 

2.         BACKGROUND/RELEVANCE

Current knowledge about biodiversity in United States waters is limited in spatial and temporal scale and taxonomic scope. This compromises the ability of BOEM to understand, predict, manage and mitigate potential impacts of proposed marine energy projects, both conventional and renewable. To perform timely environmental reviews, data from ongoing projects and activities can be integrated and augmented to reduce the uncertainty in the range of outcomes and intensity of environmental consequences. 

NASA’s Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems (CC&E) Focus Area aims to detect and predict changes in Earth’s ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles. Resolution of uncertainties is needed because of the profound implications for future climate, food production, biodiversity, sustainable resource management, and the maintenance of a healthy, productive environment.

Under the auspices of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program ((10 U.S.C. 7902 et seq.) which allows for inter-agency partnership on funding projects, DOI/BOEM has agreed to partner with NASA and NOAA to support selected projects which will increase understanding of marine biodiversity and facilitate cooperative conservation.

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is defined as the variety of life, encompassing variation at all levels of complexity -genetic, species, ecosystems, and biomes -and including functional diversity and diversity across ecosystems. A growing body of research demonstrates that: (1) the maintenance of marine biodiversity (including coastal biodiversity) is critical to sustained ecosystem and human health and resilience in a globally changing environment; and (2) the condition of marine biodiversity offers a proxy for the status of ocean and coastal ecosystem health and ability to provide ecosystem services. Thus, managing our marine resources in a way that conserves existing marine biodiversity would help address other ocean management objectives. For example, it would provide information to enhance biosecurity against threats such as invasive species and infectious agents, enable predictive modeling, better inform decision making, and allow for adaptive monitoring and Ecosystem-Based Management.