Coastal ecosystems are changing due to climate change, pollution, and overfishing. California's fisheries, coastal tourism and recreation, and overall coastal community health depends on the wellbeing of marine ecosystems. While physical measurements, such as temperature, salinity, and oxygen, can be readily measured, there is not a comprehensive network to understand how marine life is responding to these changes. Urgently needed are cheaper, faster, and higher-quality ways to collect time series data with broad spatial coverage that captures change in marine ecosystems from plankton to whales.

Obtaining adequate spatial and temporal data is necessary for researchers and managers to address regional and global shifts in marine communities and ecosystem functions. By creating a comprehensive monitoring network and standardizing ecological measurements, new biophysical links, dynamics, and emergent stressors could be detected. These new insights will help build and validate models to forecast future ecosystem change, guide resource management and mitigation efforts, and even predict future fish catches.

Conceptual diagram of the relationships between natural environmental processes, human perturbations and ocean observing in an idealized RESON set in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
Conceived by Francisco Chavez, illustrated by Kelly Lance, copyright @MBARI

We plan to do this by creating a diverse network of people including researchers, practitioners, community members, recreational enthusiasts, commercial fishers, and tribal members. This connection will help guide and inform the RESON framework and its outcomes. Through a workshop series, RESON will create a framework for a comprehensive network that will enhance coastal monitoring and provide a better understanding of ecosystem services and health. These workshops will prioritize ecosystem indicator variables, identify knowledge gaps, and ways to close those gaps with new approaches, including more advanced technology.

For an overview of RESON, download and view our one-pager here.