On September 28th, CPO’s Marine Ecosystem Risk Team (MERT) held a focus group of NOAA researchers and program managers who previously acted as observers during earlier discussions of national marine sanctuaries climate science needs. The focus group featured 40 scientists, program managers, and other staff from a range of NOAA programs and labs involved in climate research and observations.
The focus group reflected on the climate science and information needs identified by sanctuary managers and researchers in regionally-centered focus groups throughout the month of September. They also discussed synergies between these needs and their own research, information capacity, and products. Participants identified multiple areas of synergy. Particular focuses included the need for increased understanding of subsurface parameters; the ability of multiple labs and programs to provide needed climate expertise and information; and a desire to engage in an iterative process of project and tool development with sanctuary partners. Identifying these synergies provides NOAA Research programs and labs with new directions, stakeholders, and partners for research, product development, and observational efforts that could meaningfully advance NOAA’s stewardship mission.
This focus group was part of a larger initiative to identify and connect the climate science and information needs of the National Marine Sanctuary System with NOAA Research climate science capacity and products. MERT also held focus groups with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries West Coast Region on September 2nd, the East Coast and Great Lakes Region on September 16th, and the Pacific Islands Region on September 23rd. The goals and topics identified in these focus groups will become the focus of an ONMS-NOAA Research climate workshop in January. These focus groups and the subsequent workshop are part of an overarching goal of the MERT initiative to increase collaboration between ONMS and other NOAA programs and develop partnerships between labs, programs, and individual sanctuaries to advance NOAA’s stewardship mission.