Integrated ocean observing systems for assessing marine protected areas across California

Project Number
Project Date Range
Funding Agency
California Ocean Protection Council (OPC)
Focus Area(s)
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

California’s ocean and coast face a variety of environmental stressors that vary considerably over time and space. How can resource managers separate the ecological consequences of removing or reducing fishing pressure inside an MPA from other factors such as increased sea surface temperatures, variations in acidity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and climate-related ecological phenomena such as harmful algal blooms and marine disease?

This project addressed that question for the first time in California by integrating data from various investigators, locations, habitats, and methods to produce robust assessments of change in key environmental indicators at a variety of scales. The researchers used satellite data and other ocean observing systems to develop regularly updating data products, allowing them to quantify relationships between large-scale oceanographic phenomena and conditions inside MPAs. The project integrated existing models and in situ data, and created quantitative, indicator-based assessments of environmental health and water quality in MPAs.

These assessments helped to place long-term MPA monitoring in the broader context of changing ocean conditions, a key need for the state.


CA IOOS MPA Final Technical Report ruhl_20220119_0.pdf

CA MPA Dashboard

Principal Investigators
Henry Ruhl
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Co-principal Investigators
Clarissa Anderson
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Christopher Edwards
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)
Mati Kahru
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Robert Bochenek
Axiom Data Science

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