National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
diver photo
To support research within the CINMS, the research department maintains resources that support field operations, including sampling gear, instrumented moorings and divers. However, the most significant asset is our research department staff. All of our assets can be recruited to perform ongoing and newly emerging research activities.

CINMS Dive Unit

CINMS dive unit Currently the CINMS has a dive unit of eight people. Our dive unit is a component of the NOAA Dive Program, one of the most significant scientific diving programs in the country. Our divers have been trained to conduct scientific dives to collect data, as well as working dives to install instruments, maintain moorings and other wise perform the professional diving required to maintain the sanctuary.



Environmental Observatory Moorings

Environmental Observatory Moorings The CINMS maintains a network of 14 sub surface moorings. These moorings are equipped with a variety of scientific instruments. Currently there are temperature loggers on all of them to monitor the water column temperature profile. Eleven of the moorings also have acoustic receivers to monitor animal movement, and nine of the moorings have Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers installed. This instrumentation was established to begin evaluating the near-shore oceanography associated with the transport of mobile fish and invertebrate larvae in and around the Marine Protected Areas. As needs change, these moorings can be adapted to new questions with additional instrumentation.


Ecosystem Monitoring Equipment

Ecosystem Monitoring EquipmentCINMS’s research vessel, the r/v Shearwater is equipped with an environmental monitoring system that includes both a flow-through sea water sensor package and a mast-mounted atmospheric sensor package. All of the sensors are tied into a GPS navigation system and data are transmitted via satellite phone whenever the vessel is underway. The atmospheric sensors include air temperature, pressure, relative and absolute wind conditions, humidity and light levels. The sea water sensors include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, Redox potential as well as nutrient and chlorophyll levels. The environmental sensor package is operational whenever the vessel is working and in addition to sending data to remote receivers, researchers using Shearwater can walk away with the environmental data from their cruise at their convenience.


Plankton Samplers

Plankton Samplers The research department has multiple plankton samplers to address a variety of needs for ecosystem monitoring. We currently operate both a Tucker trawl that can sample plankton at three levels with the ability to sample down to 250μ and a half meter net that can sample primary consumers down to 60μ. Our current monitoring plan includes multi-level tows to evaluate how the distribution of krill species drives the distribution of large whales. We are working to expand our sampling capacity to include bulk water samplers that will allow assessment of picoplankton and other larger primary producers.




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