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Two features set the Monterey Bay region apart from virtually all other marine localities: an extraordinarily diverse array of marine habitats resulting in one of the most biologically rich areas of the world, combined with an unrivaled concentration of marine research and educational institutions (Griggs 1995).This unique juxtaposition was given even greater national emphasis with the formation of the MBNMS. As a result, marine research and education continues to grow and attract new interest, ideas and technologies to the Central California Coast at an ever-increasing rate. Support for this MBNMS site characterization project clearly stems from these strong regional influences. As explained in the project introduction (see Introduction section), the content guidelines for the project were largely habitat- and process-based. We therefore attempted to summarize existing information using these categories, and asked section contributors to identify resource needs from their perspectives. We also used the project information-gathering process, which included interviews of more than fifty marine science experts, to poll representatives from virtually every institution and scientific discipline in the MBNMS area regarding their views on the research potential and needs of the region. We hope the responses by section authors and interviewees which are summarized below will prove useful to resource managers and educational institutions as a predictor of information which may emerge from future research; and that they will also serve as a broad, multidisciplinary and multi-institutional summary of research ideas and needs for regional researchers and supporting institutions. Much of this type of information was first assembled and summarized in the 1993 Scientific Research Plan for MBNMS. Prepared by the MBNMS Research Advisory Panel (RAP), it provided a synthesis of research priorities recommended to the MBNMS, and is available from the MBNMS office. The synopsis we provide here should be viewed as a complement to the existing RAP Scientific Research Plan. This summary is clearly research-, rather than conservation- or education-oriented. Though we recognize the critical importance of identifying resource needs and potential from all three perspectives, our primary mission of compiling existing information about the MBNMS natural resources required that we focus on information obtained from scientists and resource managers, rather than educators or conservationists, to cover a wide range of biological and oceanographic disciplines. Inclusion of conservation and education-related resource needs will be best directed by the Conservation Working Group and Sanctuary Education Program, which are both advisory groups to the MBNMS.

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