Engaging local researchers in science planning (MTMNM)

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Published: 11 January 2018
Last edited: 11 January 2018
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A programme to assess and promote monument- related scientific research and exploration within the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) was proposed by Presidential Proclamation 8335 to better understand its diverse environments – from subtropical coastal waters, numerous hydrothermal vents, underwater volcanoes and lakes of liquid sulfur, to bubbling vents of liquid CO2 and diverse coral communities – many of which are considered unstudied due to the technical difficulties in accessing them. Forums, webinars and Google hangouts, are being explored to bring together researchers and stakeholders located all over the world.


Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, Northern Mariana Islands


In 2011, Monument managers held a workshop discussing scientific exploration and research within the MTMNM. In 2012, staff from NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center conducted 21 meetings with a range of stakeholders and partners in the CNMI (Saipan, Tinian and Rota) and in Guam to solicit input and ensure local participation in the development of a MTMNM Ecosystem Science Plan.


Subsequently, NOAA Fisheries held a Mariana Archipelago Marine Ecosystem Science Implementation workshop in Saipan, which focused on identifying research needs in three areas: 1) maximising the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities; 2) recovering and conserving protected species; and
3) habitat processes. Representatives from research institutions, resource management agencies and
other interested stakeholders were invited to attend.
In addition to reviewing research gaps in the theme areas, workshop participants proposed specific projects targeted at obtaining needed information. In 2014, NOAA Fisheries provided space aboard its research vessels for these projects.

Contributed by

Heidi Hirsh


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration