Marine observation - with Frank Muller Karger.

Blog / Frank Muller Karger / April 25, 2017

Ecological marine units (EMUs) with colour highlighting temperature gradients. Credit: Esri
Ecological marine units (EMUs) with colour highlighting temperature gradients. Credit: Esri
Ecological marine units (EMUs) with colour highlighting temperature gradients. Credit: Esri
Ecological marine units (EMUs) with colour highlighting temperature gradients. Credit: Esri

A network of regional observation systems that collaborates, shares information, and works jointly to understand marine biodiversity, its geographic distribution, and how it changes through time – that’s the vision of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), a network established under the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON).

The U.S. Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (US-MBON) has projects working on the Chukchi Sea (Alaska; AMBON), Santa Barbara Channel Islands (California; SBC MBON) and the Monterey Bay and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries (in California and Florida, respectively; Sanctuaries MBON).

The MBON team will provide a product that countries or regional groups can use in addressing internationally agreed biodiversity targets and hopefully to engage actively in participating in MBON. On March 15-17, 2017, the Sanctuaries MBON team hosted a workshop to define biodiversity products that meet the needs of local coastal zone and conservation area managers, and that can also can be scaled to address one or more of the targets of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 14. SDG 14 seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The meeting was hosted by the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida and was sponsored by the NASA Applied Programs office of the Earth Sciences Division, the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the US Ocean Biogeographic Information System (US-OBIS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) including the National Marine Sanctuaries program, the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

In the past year, the Sanctuaries MBON data management team has enrolled more than 50 datasets – some of the time-series span nearly three decades -- into a public data server. The data are available using the ERDAPP protocols. The SBC and AMBON teams have also enrolled dozens of datasets.

The US MBON portal serves and helps visualize the datasets through an interactive geospatial mapper. Biodiversity indices are computed by the software instantly, and also enable a user to sort the data by abundance, or size structure, total biomass, diversity, and composition. We will add near-real time and historical data as possible, including some in situ and satellite remotely-sensed data for physical, chemical and biological environmental observations. 

The MBON is exploring additional collaborations with the USGS and Esri to integrate their new map of Global Ecological Marine Units (EMU). The EMU booklet was produced in association with the GEO BON Workgroup 5, and Mark Costello who co-led that workgroup, is an author on the new EMU publications.


About the author

Frank Muller Karger

Frank Muller Karger, a Professor at the University of South Florida, is the Principal Investigator on the Sanctuaries MBON project with Francisco Chavez (Monterey bay Aquarium Research Institute). Frank is co-chair of the GEO BON MBON work group, along with Mark Costello (Univ. Auckland) and Isabel Sousa Pinto (Univ. of Porto).



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