|photo 2003 Richard Ternullo/Monterey Bay Whale Watch
When we started Ecosystem Observations about five years
ago, our main goal was to provide the public with a sense of what is learned each year in, and about, the ecosystem protected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. “Make the connection” between citizens and the natural resources of the sanctuary became the mantra of everyone working at the sanctuary. Through the many published stories over the years in Ecosystem Observations, our colleagues, scientists, and users have shared their observations about the incredible marine
and coastal ecosystem of the sanctuary.
This year, the sanctuary’s research team joined the ranks of our region’s overachieving marine scientists and carried out five important research and monitoring cruises (see p. 4). Since the time we published the first Ecosystem Observations in 1999, our research team has grown from one and a half to at least eight scientists and several interns. This year’s initiation of multiple research cruises reflects a growth in our research team, in terms of capacity for field work, scientific competency, and internal team work. Our marine science colleagues know that organizing and launching a week-long offshore research project is daunting. For the uninitiated, it is like the planning and packing you did for your last vacation, only there are no Wal-Marts or convenience stores on the corner if you forget something. Now do
that five times in one summer.
Clearly, like with everything else accomplished by sanctuary staff, partnerships were critical. All of these cruises had extensive collaborations with literally dozens of other individuals, agencies, and institutions. But I am highlighting the research team’s accomplishments, over the other incredible accomplishments this past year by other sanctuary staff, because Ecosystem Observations is about sharing what was learned.
Years ago, I had the hope that our research team would be
a peer of the many other talented researchers in the region,
not only sharing ideas but actually getting their feet wet in the ocean. I feel this year we met that vision and are now, more
than ever, able to share and contribute to the knowledge of the vast, mysterious, and sometimes quite familiar resources of
the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
William J. Douros, Superintendent
NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
A PDF version of this report is available here: