Sanctuary News

2017 Projects and Plans for 2018

In 2017, funding from the Cordell Marine Sanctuary Foundation, in partnership with the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, supported several important research and education projects, including:

  • Detailed photographic surveys of Cordell Bank using an Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).  Thanks to grant funding from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, administered by CMSF, the ROV cameras and lights were upgraded to capture high definition imagery which will improve our ability to identify species in the sanctuary and will provide citizens and students a clearer view of the exceptional biodiversity protected by the sanctuary.

  • Whale tagging research to track Blue whales as they move about in the Sanctuary waters.  Scientists hope that learning more about the movements of these largest of all animals will help protect them from killer ship strikes.

blue whale

  • Deployment and retrieval of two oxygen sensors.  Low oxygen, or hypoxia, can have severe impacts on marine wildlife. This work, part of an ongoing collaboration between Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the U.C. Davis Bodega Marine Lab, will improve our understanding of how climate change is affecting life in the sea.
  • Educational projects to share with students, teachers, and the general public the wonders and value of Cordell Bank NMS and the abundant sea life that depends on its protection.
  • Direct financial support for San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, including cash prizes for the Student film competition.  With our support, the Festival invited students to free screenings of the inspirational ocean-themed films and a special Ocean Education program.
  • A student internship was created for the CBNMS to help the sanctuary with social media educational outreach. The internship supported a marine science graduate student with a stipend, gave him the opportunity to hone his marine science communication skills, and helped the sanctuary connect with its constituents.


We plan to support continuing research of the ocean conditions that surround Cordell Bank. Hypoxia (low oxygen concentrations ) is being monitored cooperatively by the Sanctuary Foundation and Bodega Marine Laboratory scientists. Similar studies will continue on ocean acidification, and the effects each of the conditions have on the marine life of the Bank and surrounding waters. Both phenomena may be linked closely to worldwide climate change, and represent vital elements in a critical search for understanding of, and solutions to, the challenges we face with the future of our world’s oceans and life forms.

Additionally, support is being sought to expand our education and awareness programs to a broader audience, in schools and in the public sector. Presently, preliminary discussions are in progress with a prominent international film company to produce a media presentation of the natural history and research programs associated with Cordell Bank and the adjacent pelagic realm.

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