Whenever possible, the Monterey Bay Sanctuary strives to develop cooperative partnerships to accomplish its goals. Its relationship with the California Biodiversity Council is one such example.
The Council consists of over thirty-five state and federal agencies, led by the California Resources Agency. It was established to design a statewide strategy to conserve biological diversity and to coordinate implementation of the strategy. Some of the Council's projects have included defining bio-regions for the state and providing input for the Resource Agency's CERES (California Environmental Resources Evaluation System) project. CERES is an information system developed by the California Resources Agency to facilitate access to electronic data describing California's diverse environments.
"The Council can be compared to our Sanctuary Advisory Council, or Research Activity Panel," explains Andrew DeVogelaere, Sanctuary Research Coordinator. "It provides a mechanism for people from different agencies who are working in the same areas to meet and share ideas and information."
MBNMS participates on the Council in two ways: the Sanctuary Manager sits on the Council, and DeVogelaere sits on the Council's Science Coordinating Committee. "The Council looks to us as its main source of information on oceans," explains DeVogelaere. One of the important ways in which the Sanctuary has contributed to this group is in helping them look at marine bio-regions. While the Council had worked to create definitions of terrestrial bio-regions, it had not considered the marine environment.
The California Biodiversity Council comprises state agencies such as the Coastal
Commission, the Department of Fish & Game, the
Energy Commission, and the Department of
Transportation. Federal agencies represented include
the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S.
Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service, amd the Bureau of Land Management.
On Saturday, February 7th UCSC will host the Central and Northern California regional round of the annual "National Ocean Sciences Bowl" competition. The event is sponsored by the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA).
"The purpose of this event is not only to target high school students who are already interested in marine sciences," explains Dorris Welch, Education Director for UCSC's Long Marine Laboratory and coordinator of the Santa Cruz event, "but to increase interest in the marine sciences in the general public, researchers everyone. Having it here on the Monterey Bay heightens awareness of the Sanctuary and of all local marine science institutions." Welch is arranging for extra-curricular activities at local institutions for the participating students.
Teams of four high school students will compete in a rapid-fire, question-and-answer format. The top team from each of twelve regional competitions will advance to the national finals in Washington, D.C. in late April.
Participating high school teams are provided with a "resources guide" to help them prepare. Categories will include the biology, chemistry, geology, physics, history, and economics of the ocean, as well as ocean-related current events. "Questions will be at an 'AP' (advanced placement) level for high school students in these subjects," explains Welch. Marine scientists and educators are needed to act as expert judges and moderators for the competition. If you are interested in helping, please contact Dorris Welch at (831) 459-2358.
This year the Monterey Bay is one of three focus areas for the JASON Project's year-long curriculum on "Oceans of Earth and Beyond." The Project features interactive, distance-learning through which students can collaborate and communicate with researchers and each other, and learn math, literature, science, and history while studying the marine environment.
The curriculum changes yearly, but always links learning with ongoing research. In 1998 the program focuses on the Monterey Bay, Bermuda, and Guaymas Basin in Baja California to study examples of shallow, mid-level, and deep water environments. Students will investigate various ecosystems, including coral reefs, kelp forests, the open ocean, hydrothermal vents, and cold seeps. Students are also introduced to the technologies that allow researchers to study the ocean, such as remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), submersibles, and remote-sensing equipment.
A highlight of the JASON project is a two-week period during which high school classes around the nation can travel to one of twenty-eight different sites (including Monterey), which will be set up for live interaction between the students and scientists. Students will be able to watch live video from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's (MBARI) ROVs, for example, and then ask local researchers specific questions about what they are seeing.
"This region, as part of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary and as a focus of research for over a dozen research institutions, is an ideal location for the JASON project," says MBARI's George Matsumoto, who is helping to coordinate the project. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, UCSC, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, MBARI, and the Sanctuary will all be involved in this effort to enhance science education. 5