Marine Protected Areas
Your news from the National Marine Protected Areas Center
National Marine Protected Areas Center
      Humpback whales lunge feeding in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Photo: BBC/Monterey Bay Aquarium/Tyson V. Ringer
September 2015
In This Issue
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J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, USFWS

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, Steve Perry

Assateague Island National Seashore, Michael Donahue

View of the seafloor bathymetry of Johnston Seamount showing a flat top studded with numerous pinnacle features, 5x vertical exaggeration, NOAA OER

A high-density community of deep-sea corals and sponges at a depth of 2,000 m was surveyed during the expedition, NOAA OER
Big Blue LIVE Dazzles Britain, US Audiences with Whale Footage
BBC Big Blue LIVE's Steve Backshall
on the R/V Fulmar as humpback whales approach
Photo: BBC/MBA/Tyson V. Ringer
NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one of the world's most extraordinary and biologically diverse marine ecosystems, was the host location for Big Blue LIVE, a global television and online event. BBC, PBS and Monterey Bay Aquarium joined together with NOAA and the sanctuary for nine LIVE hour-long broadcasts that brought together scientists, filmmakers, photographers and other experts to film and photograph the astonishing diversity of marine life that feeds in the sanctuary this time of year -- including the elusive blue whale. Monterey Bay Aquarium and the NOAA Sanctuary R/V Fulmar were platforms as viewers were treated to state-of-the-art filming technologies and live reports from air, sea and below the waves. Shows were viewed live to millions of viewers in the United Kingdom and the U.S. and noted the success of national marine sanctuaries in ocean protection. Missed it?  Watch here.  
CAPSTONE Explores Pacific Monuments
In July, NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and its partners launched CAPSTONE (the Campaign to Address Pacific Monument Science, Technology, and Ocean NEeds). Over the coming three years, CAPSTONE will use the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to systematically collect baseline information to support science and management needs around the U.S. Marine National Monuments, and other protected places in the Pacific. The first expedition of the multi-year CAPSTONE effort is currently underway and called the "Hohonu Moana: Exploring Deep Waters off Hawaiʻi" Expedition. Check out live streaming from Okeanos Explorer.

The first leg of the expedition focused on the Johnston Atoll unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and used multibeam sonar to map an estimated 28,180 km2, about 6% of the Monument area. The ship also collected water column sonar data showing biological layers and sub-bottom sonar data that will provide insights into the shallow geology of the region. 

Leg 2 surveyed deep-water habitats in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) surrounding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, most of which are virtually unexplored. NOAA's remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system conducted 18 dives to depths between 1,100-4,800 m, including the deepest dive ever conducted inside PMNM. Many of the ROV surveys focused on identifying and characterizing vulnerable deep-water marine environments, particularly high-density communities of deep-sea corals and sponges. The surveys discovered seven new high-density communities and extended the depth and geographic range of three previously known ones. The exploration included the first ever collection of physical specimens by Okeanos. It also generated high-resolution maps for over 29,000 km2 of NWHI seafloor, including three previously unmapped seamounts inside PMNM.

Leg 3 focused on ROV operations around the Main Hawaiian Islands and at the Geologists Seamounts, and Leg 4 will conduct the first deep dives of the Karin and Johnston seamount chains located in the Johnston Atoll unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. 
NOAA Hosts "Why Do We Explore" Workshop for Guam and Saipan Teachers
  Teachers completing multibeam mapping exercises
during the WDWE workshop, NOAA  
NOAA Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), Marine National Monument Program, in partnership with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, sponsored an 8-hour professional development course for educators in the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam Public School Systems. The workshop aimed to prepare the educators for the 2016 Okeanos Explorer CAPSTONE expedition (see above) and to provide professional development for 80 public school teachers who reach nearly 6,800 students.

The 8-hour course, Why Do We Explore the Marianas Trench National Marine Monument?, brought information about the extraordinary submarine features and associated ecosystems within this MPA to local teachers. In the post-course survey, nearly all of the educators said they were going use the education materials in their classes and were thankful for the opportunity to have taken the course.

The course engaged educators in Next Generation Science Standards, hands-on activities and online resources that guide classroom teaching and learning into important reasons for ocean exploration in the Monument. These activities were also correlated with the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts. Climate change, ocean acidification, submarine volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, unique underwater habitats, discovery of new species, underwater mapping, and remotely operated vehicles were the main topics addressed.
California forms MPA Statewide Leadership Team 
In April 2015, California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird convened an expanded version of the MPA Statewide Leadership Team called for in The California Collaborative Approach: Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan. Led by the Ocean Protection Council, the Team is charged with improving communication and collaboration among entities that play a direct or key supporting role in MPA network management. The Statewide Leadership Team includes regulatory and management agencies as well as non-governmental partners including the California Ocean Science Trust (which helps to expand the scientific capacity of state agencies) and the MPA Collaborative Implementation Project, a grassroots collection of local MPA coalitions (see Spring 2015 MPA Connections for more). The Team is developing a 3-year work plan to guide MPA management activities by its members. A summary of shared strategic priorities will be posted at prior to the September 22 Ocean Protection Council meeting. 
California Ocean Protection Council Completing MPA Signage Project

OPC is nearing completion of a statewide MPA Signage Project conducted in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation. OPC has received approval from the permitting agencies for 189 regulatory and interpretive signs about the California MPA network at important access points along our 1,100 mile coastline. Installation is currently underway, and all signs are scheduled for installation by late October. 

Interpretive panel installed at Point Cabrillo
Lighthouse along California's northern coast,
Jenn Phillips
Innovative Distance Learning Program Helps Students Discover the California MPA Network 
MPA Ports Project   Photo: California State Parks 
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California State Parks have teamed up to teach California students about the state's network of marine protected areas (MPAs) through California State Park's PORTS (Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students) program. Using live video-conferencing and on-line interactive lessons, thousands of students are now learning about California's MPAs. The lessons showcase the important role that individual MPAs, and the MPA network as a whole, play in safeguarding California's marine resources. PORTS is a free distance learning program that helps schools meet academic content standards in the context of California State Parks.

With the MPA PORTS project, students are now learning about MPAs as well as state parks. The project focuses on three MPAs: Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Ano Nuevo SMCA, and Pyramid Point SMCA. In the pilot year (2014/15) of the project, 13,600 students in 27 California counties learned about MPAs and the diverse habitats they protect.

Beginning this fall, the MPA PORTS project will debut an online MPA curriculum to be used in tandem with the live video conferences. The project will also expand to a fourth MPA: Point Lobos State Marine Reserve. In 2015/16, over 15,000 students will receive MPA PORTS video-conferences.

You can see a five minute video-introduction to the MPA PORTS project by clicking here.To learn more about the MPA PORTS, contact the project coordinators: [email protected] or [email protected]
National Park Service, NOAA and Wisconsin Host Maritime Cultural Landscapes Symposium 
The National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office will host a 2-day symposium of Maritime Cultural Landscapes in Madison, Wisconsin on October 14-15. The symposium will be livestreamed, and will explore how the terrestrial and submerged resources in and near the nation's oceans, rivers, and lakes can be identified, characterized, and evaluated, and the benefits of recognizing these landscapes as unique entities "worthy of preservation." The event will include presentations by subject experts and discussions of how agencies, tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and State Historic Preservation Offices can use the maritime cultural landscapes concept to more effectively preserve and protect their maritime heritage resources.
How Cool is That? Underwater Internships for College Undergraduates and Graduating Seniors  
Photo: National Park Service
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society (OWUSS) offers a variety of experience-based internships to develop future leaders for the marine environment. OWUSS Summer internships are offered for a 1 to 3 month period and are primarily directed at college undergraduates and graduating seniors. Internship recipients will receive a grant to help fund travel to/from site, room and board, and a stipend to cover living expenses. Applications are due January 31, 2016, and information on how to apply can be found here.
This fall's MPA Center Webinar Series (with EBM Tools Network and OpenChannels) will include a presentation on ocean literacy as well as NPS plans for their centennial. This virtual series is held the second Thursday of each month from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern. 

October 8th
Claire Fackler, National Education Liaison
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries 

November 12th 
Cliff McCreedy, Marine Resource Management Specialist
Ocean and Coastal Resources Branch, National Park Service

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