Demonstrations Sites in Priority Regions

Spanning marine ecosystems from the Arctic to kelp forests in central California to coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys, the U.S. MBON projects are developing strategies for integrating biological and environmental data sets, and testing innovative molecular and remote sensing technologies and methods for observing marine biodiversity. The U.S. MBON teams include experts in remote sensing, genomics, ecology and biogeochemistry, and data management. The research teams are working together to define and monitor essential ocean variables useful for studying changes in ecosystems, biodiversity and oceanographic conditions over time that can be consulted in regionally specific, online relational databases.

Arctic MBON (AMBON – U.S. Chukchi Sea)

Go to website: AMBON

Principal Investigator: Katrin Iken, Ph.D.
University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Arctic Ocean is experiencing the most dramatic temperature increases of all oceans, leading to significant alterations of marine ecosystem structure and function. The importance of the Arctic Ocean to global climate and ecosystem processes, and the speed at which climate changes are already occurring in the Arctic, elevate the urgency for coordinated observations of Arctic marine biodiversity.

The Arctic MBONor AMBON involves several institutions and partners active in a variety of Arctic biodiversity observing programs. The team works with the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) to coordinate data streams from these different programs into one observation network.

Santa Barbara Channel (SBC) MBON

Go to website: SBC MBON

Principal Investigator: Bob Miller, Ph.D.,
University of California Santa Barbara


The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the most studied marine areas in the world, supported by numerous biological monitoring and research programs by government agencies, universities and NGO's. This network is connecting existing monitoring efforts and will work to fill remaining information gaps. Our focus on the Santa Barbara Channel allows us to effectively cover the complete spectrum of marine biodiversity — from microbes to ecosystems. The project is testing novel methods for monitoring biodiversity, including automated image analysis and genomics to help fill in key gaps in our knowledge of the marine biosphere.

Sanctuaries MBON

Principal Investigator: Frank Muller-Karger, Ph.D.
University of South Florida
Co-Investigator: Francisco Chavez, Ph.D.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

The National Marine Sanctuaries serve as sentinel sites for monitoring marine biodiversity of the nation’s coastal, shelf and deep-sea ecosystems. The Sanctuaries MBON project includes Monterey Bay, Flower Garden Banks and Florida Keys ecosystems to assess: 1) the deep sea (pelagic realm and seabed); 2) continental shelves; 3) estuaries and nearshore regions; and 4) coral reefs.