NOAA and partners have launched a comprehensive, user-friendly online resource featuring the latest scientific research conducted within three West Coast national marine sanctuaries.
The Web site, http://sanctuarysimon.org, integrates scientific monitoring data from Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries -- three contiguous, federally protected marine areas off California's northern central coast. Developed by the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN), the site makes a wealth of information about the region's marine ecosystem instantly and easily accessible.
"This new SIMoN Web site is a dynamic portal that provides the public and decision-makers with valuable information about one of the planet's richest and most diverse marine ecosystems," said William J. Douros, the sanctuary system's west coast regional director. "This innovative resource will greatly enhance our ability to identify natural and human-induced changes in the marine and coastal ecosystems that our sanctuaries protect."
The site's photo gallery also offers users access to more than 2,800 free, high-quality still and video images, sounds and graphics. Visitors can view the sanctuaries' incredible diversity of marine life, including fishes, seabirds and marine mammals, and explore a wide variety of habitats ranging from kelp forests to submarine canyons. Other sections of the site examine the physical characteristics of the area, including geology, oceanography and water quality.
SIMoN was created in partnership with the regional science and management community to integrate scientific research and long-term monitoring data to provide information needed for effective management and a better understanding of the sanctuary and its resources. With nearly 100 contributing partners already, sanctuarysimon.org will be continuously updated and enriched as additional partners in science and education join the project. Researchers from all over the world can contribute information, which will be authenticated and incorporated into the site's verified pages.
The numerous collaborators involved in the SIMoN project include the U.S. Geological Survey, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, California Department of Fish and Game, Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory and Cascadia Research Collective.
Stretching from the waters off Bodega Head south to Cambria near San Luis Obispo, Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries encompass approximately 7,130 square miles of ocean and estuarine waters.