The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to join NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in supporting an initiative that will lay the foundation for the first national network to monitor marine biodiversity at scales ranging from microbes to whales.

The projects, funded at approximately $17 million over the next five years, subject to the availability of funds, will demonstrate how a nationally operational marine biodiversity observation network could be developed. Such a network would serve as a marine resource management tool to conserve existing biodiversity and enhance U.S. biosecurity against threats such as invasive species and infectious agents.

Three demonstration marine biological observation networks will be established in four locations: the Florida Keys, Monterey Bay and the Santa Barbara Channel in California, and in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska.

Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries. The three projects that encompass this initiative, selected from 19 proposals, will be established in different marine environments in U.S. waters to integrate existing observations, ranging from satellite observations to DNA sampling, and fill data gaps with new observations. For more information, see: http://www.boem.gov/press10062014/ .