Each Sanctuary has an extensive list of biological data sets collected by agencies and non-governmental organizations over several decades.  A critical objective of the Sanctuaries MBON project is curating and enrolling these datasets into OBIS and ERDDAP to make them accessible and link other datasets, such as water quality monitoring and habitat condition assessments.   

In addition to traditional biological water column sampling (e.g. chlorophyll-a, primary productivity, phytoplankton and zooplankton counts) in key sites, the U.S. MBON projects are conducting environmental DNA sampling programs and developing new methods. The eDNA methods and ongoing observations to evaluate habitat diversity and diversity across trophic levels, and help detect invasive species, will improve our understanding of overall ecosystem health.

Multidisciplinary remote sensing will be used to create dynamic
'seascapes' to extend the spatial footprint of the in situ data and predict changes in biodiversity under various climate change scenarios. These time series of biodiversity and environmental observations will help construct conceptual and forecast models of the inter-relations between human dimensions, climate and environmental variability, and ecosystem structure at multiple trophic levels.


The project seeks to provide near real-time information on the status and trends of marine biodiversity. The objectives are to:

  1. Integrate and synthesize information from ongoing monitoring programs coordinated by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS); 
  2. Define the minimum set of observations required for implementing a practical, useful MBON; 
  3. Develop technology for biodiversity assessments through emerging environmental DNA (eDNA) molecular methods and autonomous sample collection; 
  4. Integrate biodiversity measurements in a relational database that links to national and international biodiversity databases and that informs NOAA’s emergency response system; 
  5. Establish a protocol for MBON information to dynamically update Sanctuary status and trends reports; and 
  6. Understand the linkages between marine biodiversity and the social-economic context of a region.
Florida Keys, Flower Garden Banks and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries as Demonstration Sites