The rich diversity and abundance of marine life, and certain physical features (most notably the submarine canyons), make the vicinity of the Sanctuary and particularly Monterey Bay a world center for marine research and education (NOAA 1992, Griggs 1995). There are now 18 marine laboratories and education facilities located or in the process of locating around the Monterey Bay. These programs employ more than 1600 scientists, students, and interns, and have an annual combined budget of more than $110 million. Major new efforts such as the Monterey Bay Area Research Institute (MBARI), located in Moss Landing, and California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB), located in Seaside, have contributed to a recent influx and interest in the area (Griggs 1995).
MBNMS designation included a requirement for researchers to obtain a permit for work involving the taking of marine resources or alteration of the sea bed (Federal Register 1992). To date, only one research permit application has been denied by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, for the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) project (also see Marine Mammals section). As a result, the ATOC project was moved to a more remote location outside the MBNMS (Pioneer Seamount near Point Reyes), an area believed to encompass a diversity and abundance of marine mammals equal to that of the original proposed site within the MBNMS (ARPA/Scripps 1995).
The potential impacts of research on marine life have not been investigated specifically for MBNMS but could possibly include target species depletion, alteration of marine and intertidal communities, and benthic and shoreline disturbance. Aircraft overflights have been shown to disrupt behavior in other areas. Potential positive impacts may include, for example, more effective species and habitat management strategies based on ongoing applied research.
Section VII. Agriculture