Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (BON)


Marine biodiversity is the variability among living organisms in the ocean and Great Lakes. This variability exists at all levels of complexity from the genetic level, within species, and across ecosystems or biomes.  

While scientists and resource managers do not know all they need to know about marine biodiversity, a growing body of research demonstrates that 1) the maintenance of marine biodiversity is critical to sustained ecosystem and human health and resilience in a globally changing environment and 2) the condition of marine biodiversity offers a proxy for the status of ocean and coastal ecosystem health and ability of the ocean to provide ecosystem services. 

Furthermore, as stated in the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, it is the policy of the United States to protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.  

Clear cut, systematic, and sustainable approaches to observing and monitoring biodiversity across different levels and at a national scale are critical to realizing the Task Force recommendations.  In an acknowledgement of the likely link between biodiversity and ecosystem resilience and in support of these recommendations, OER supports projects that produce baseline biodiversity inventories.

Highlights of OER’s efforts:

  • Established and participating in a NOAA Biodiversity Team that contributes to interagency efforts to better understand marine biodiversity;

  • Participating in the Interagency Biodiversity Ad Hoc working group aimed at coordinating the efforts of the federal sector.

  • Facilitated the convening of a May 2010 workshop of experts to develop a plan and recommendations for attaining an operational marine biodiversity observation network (Marine BON) for the nation. The workshop was hosted by the Biodiversity Ad Hoc Group under the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships. The full workshop report is available online (pdf, 1.4 Mb). A paper in Bioscience, written by BON workshop steering committee members, on the feasibility of establishing a Marine BON is available online.

  • Partnered with the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) and other participating Federal Partners to request proposals addressing the recommendations from the May 2010 Marine BON workshop and initiate an integrated Marine BON demonstration project. This NOPP Federal Funding Opportunity http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=239797 requests proposals for one or more broadly coordinated demonstration projects in U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that demonstrate how an end-to-end marine BON can be developed. “End-to-end” refers to integration of observations and data across multiple scales of diversity (genetic to ecosystem, microbes to whales), time (instants to centuries), and space (in situ to satellite remote sensing). Special consideration will be given to proposals that demonstrate potential for establishing long-term, sustainable monitoring through partnerships.