What is MARINe?

MARINe is a partnership of agencies, universities and private groups committed to determining the health of the rocky intertidal habitat and providing this information to the public.

MARINe, a model partnership in existence for over a decade, is funded entirely by the independent contributions of its members who jointly publish data in peer-reviewed literature.

Findings from this extensive and unique long-term monitoring program indicate that many rocky shores along the coast, particularly those near urban centers, are under stress, with some intertidal populations changing significantly over the past several decades.

Factors correlated with these changes include: increases in public use of the shoreline, increased fishing pressure, poaching, and pollution.

Management solutions need to be informed by scientific data and include close partnership with local agencies, enforcement groups, citizen watch groups, and volunteers.

MARINe data, shared on a common database, led to the closure of the black abalone fishery in Southern California and is currently being used by the State to evaluate impacts to the shoreline from non-point discharges. MARINe has published K-8 and high school curricula and a University textbook.


MARINe's Key Objectives:

1. Develop a long-term monitoring program with standardized protocols so data are comparable temporally
and spatially.
The MARINe Monitoring Protocol Handbook details the standardized core protocols used by survey teams at over 100 established core sites across the Pacific Coast and New England (see Core Surveys).

Over 100 sites are monitored by a small team of highly trained biologists using a complimentary biodiversity protocol on a periodic basis (see Biodiversity Surveys).

2. Develop a shared database for the users to analyze data across sites.
Core data are placed on a shared access database hosted by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and are managed by UC Santa Cruz and UC Santa Barbara. Biodiversity data are placed in a separate database managed by UCSC for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans (PISCO).
3. Promote research projects at MARINe monitoring sites and jointly publish data in peer-reviewed journals,
technical conferences and through workshops.
MARINe cooperates closely with PISCO and other intertidal programs, which utilize the monitoring sites for a variety of ecological studies. MARINe funds undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers who publish their results in peer-reviewed papers. MARINe regularly presents joint posters and papers on our findings at technical conferences, as well at annual network Workshops (see Findings).

4. Develop biological indices of measurement to determine health. Indices will provide a scientifically based
repeatable approach for determining health.
MARINe has organized a group of experts who are working to develop biological indices of health, based on the long-term data set and decades of collective experience analyzing rocky intertidal systems. MARINe is working toward publishing a "State of the Rocky Shore" report which would use these bioindices to provide information on the health of the communities for the public.
5. Make MARINe findings available to the public: 

a) Resource managers: We are using the information derived from this monitoring program to inform a variety of resource managers through collaborative efforts with other programs. These include:


Regional water quality monitoring programs

  • Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)

  • NOAA Mussel Watch program

  • State Water Resources Control Board Areas of Special Biological Significance (ASBS)

2 Coastal conservation programs
  • State Marine Life Protection Act Marine Protected Areas (MPA) designation process
3 Programs to minimize environmental impacts
  • California Department of Fish and Game Rapid Response Protocols

b) Schools: Curricula such as "Tidepool Math" and a video about tidepool rules were developed for K-12. A monitoring textbook was also developed at the college/university level. The National Park Service, National Marine Sanctuary and BOEM jointly conduct education workshops training grade school teachers about shoreline and marine resources.

c) Scientific community: MARINe continues to publish scientific papers and reports, and give presentations at regional conferences, in addition to cooperative networking with a host of intertidal biologists.

d) Public: The public television program Tidepools, a show in Huell Howser's California Gold series, airs periodically throughout the state. MARINe created a public service announcement “What you can do to protect California’s rocky intertidal communities."