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A Biogeographic Assessment off North/Central California in Support of the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries


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Project Summary

A marine biogeographic assessment was conducted off north/central California to provide analyses and products that support the reviews and updates to management plans for three national marine sanctuaries off north/central California: Cordell Bank (CBMNS), Gulf of the Farallones (GFNMS) and Monterey Bay (MBNMS). This work supports NOAA's environmental stewardship goal to sustain healthy coastal ecosystems by assessing the distribution and relative abundance of the coastal biota and associated habitat.

The goal of the biogeographic assessment was to identify and gather the best available data and information to characterize and identify important biological areas and time periods within the study area, which encompasses the three sanctuaries and extends along the coastal ocean off California from approximately 35°-39°N (Pt. Sal to Pt. Arena). This partnership project was lead by the Biogeography Branch of NOAA's' Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment and the National Marine Sanctuary Program, but included over 100 contributors and 25 collaborating institutions.

Phase I of this project was conducted from 2001-2004; Phase II was implemented to complete and update the assessment of birds, mammals and environmental setting information. The Phase II report was completed in 2007 and the most related products will be available on this website and CD in Spring 2008.

Objectives

  1. Identify and compile available priority biological and environmental data sets in and around the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries to conduct biogeographic analyses for updates to sanctuary management plans.

  2. Conduct marine biogeographic analyses of available data to identify significant biological areas (i.e., hot spots) and time periods, based on species distributions, abundance, habitats, life history functions and community metrics (e.g., species richness, diversity).

  3. Produce reports, maps, data tables and other products that describe the ecological components and linkages of the estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems along the north/central California coast (from Pt. Arena to Pt. Sal).

  4. Organize relevant information and analyses into GIS maps and data tables for later use in the assessment of various management strategies and modification of sanctuary boundaries, based on the biota and their habitat. Couple the results from objectives 1-3 to enable integration of the biogeographic analyses into a variety of products for the National Marine Sanctuary Program.

Products

Current/Completed Products-

Three extensive reports, hundreds of maps, summary tables, GIS/data files, CD-ROM & website serving most products.

Link to Products

Example products from the Assessment

Click image to enlarge.
Bathymetric complexity off north/central CA. Areas in   blue are relatively flat and red areas show highest variance, or slope.
Bathymetric complexity off north/central CA. Areas in blue are relatively flat and red areas show highest variance, or slope.
Physiographic features in this area include the Farallon Escarpment and Ridge, the Gulf of Farallones shelf, and several canyons and seamounts.
Physiographic features in this area include the Farallon Escarpment and Ridge, the Gulf of Farallones shelf, and several canyons and seamounts.
Maps of sea surface temperature (SST) in warm, cool and neutral periods, along with a 21-year average SST map.
Maps of sea surface temperature (SST) in warm, cool and neutral periods, along with a 21-year average SST map.
Map of species richness by trawl, for rockfish species.
Map of species richness by trawl, for rockfish species.
Four community metrics for demersal fish and rockfish surveys off north/central CA.
Four community metrics for demersal fish and rockfish surveys off north/central CA.
Diagram of depth range of demersal fish assemblages, based on three data sets.
Diagram of depth range of demersal fish assemblages, based on three data sets.
Four maps showing seasonal density, high use areas and breeding colonies for Common Murre
Four maps showing seasonal density, high use areas and breeding colonies for Common Murre.
A map of the marine bird colonies off north/central CA (best available, 1989-2006).
A map of the marine bird colonies off north/central CA (best available, 1989-2006).
Four maps showing at-sea diversity of marine birds in 1) warm-water periods; 2) cold-water periods; 3) neutral temp periods; and 4) all years (1980-2001).
Four maps showing at-sea diversity of marine birds in 1) warm-water periods; 2) cold-water periods; 3) neutral temp periods; and 4) all years (1980-2001).
A summary of best available information on pinniped haulouts and rookeries in central CA.
A summary of best available information on pinniped haulouts and rookeries in central CA.
A summary map of Pacific harbor seal at sea and at haulouts.
A summary map of Pacific harbor seal at sea and at haulouts.
A map showing the integration of diversity and density metrics for selected marine fishes and birds, to identify important marine biological areas off north/central CA.
A map showing the integration of diversity and density metrics for selected marine fishes and birds, to identify important marine biological areas off north/central CA.

Partners

Relevant Links

Time Frame

Completed: Phase 1: 2001-2004; Phase 2: 2004-2008

For More Information

Project Manager:
NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA
1305 East West Highway
SSMC-IV, N/SCI-1
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-713-3028 x150