$2M for marine biodiversity observation research

This funding opportunity invites proposals for projects that demonstrate how an operational Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (Marine BON) could be developed for the nation by establishing one or more prototype networks in U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the…

This funding opportunity invites proposals for projects that demonstrate how an operational Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (Marine BON) could be developed for the nation by establishing one or more prototype networks in U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the EEZ. Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is defined as the variety of life, encompassing variation at all levels of complexity – genetic, species, ecosystems, and biomes – and including functional diversity and diversity across ecosystems. A growing body of research demonstrates that 1) the maintenance of marine biodiversity (including coastal biodiversity) is critical to sustained ecosystem and human health and resilience in a globally changing environment, and 2) the condition of marine biodiversity offers a proxy for the status of ocean and coastal ecosystem health and ability to provide ecosystem services. Thus, managing our marine resources in a way that conserves existing marine biodiversity would help address other ocean management objectives (Palumbi et al. 2009). For example, it would provide information to enhance biosecurity against threats such as invasive species and infectious agents, enable predictive modeling, better inform decision making, and allow for adaptive monitoring and Ecosystem-Based Management. As stated in the final recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, it is the policy of the United States to protect, maintain, and restore the health and biological diversity of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems and resources (http://www.whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OPTF_FinalRecs.pdf). The Census of Marine Life, which concluded in 2010, greatly enhanced our understanding of the status of marine biodiversity. It also made clear the importance of clear-cut, systematic and sustainable approaches to observing and monitoring biodiversity across different levels and at a national scale. In May 2010, the Biodiversity Ad Hoc Group under the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Partnerships convened a workshop of experts to develop a plan and recommendations for attaining an operational marine biodiversity observation network (Marine BON) for the nation. The full workshop report can be found online: http://www.nopp.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/BON_SynthesisReport.pdf. In May 2013, workshop steering committee members published a paper in BioScience on the feasibility of establishing a Marine BON (http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1525/bio.2013.63.5.8.pdf). On behalf of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), NOAA and several of its partner agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS), are requesting proposals to address the recommendation from the 2010 workshop to initiate an integrated Marine BON demonstration project. The agencies are requesting proposals for one or more broadly coordinated demonstration projects in U.S. coastal waters, the Great Lakes, and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that demonstrate how an end-to-end marine BON can be developed. “End-to-end” refers to integration of observations and data across multiple scales of diversity (genetic to ecosystem, microbes to whales), time (instants to centuries), and space (in situ to satellite remote sensing). Special consideration will be given to proposals that demonstrate potential for establishing long-term, sustainable monitoring through partnerships. NOPP anticipates making one or more awards, subject to the availability of funds, in amounts ranging from $500,000 to $2,000,000 per year for up to five years.