We are convening a science working group to assess the capacity of California's MPA network in providing ecosystem resilience to climate-driven impacts

In recent years, the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems have become clearer and there is growing scientific interest in understanding the role that marine protected areas (MPAs) may play in building ecosystem resilience and providing societal benefits in the face of climate change. Assessing California’s MPA network through the lens of climate impacts and adaptation may illuminate additional benefits beyond those considered at the time of designation of the MPA network.

Supporting National and International Climate Discussions

In our role as Ocean Protection Council Science Advisor, we launched a two-step effort. First, we’re taking a science communication lens to produce a leave-behind that California can have at the table in national and international settings (e.g., COP 25). This is a timely moment to have California serve as a model for other geographies and jurisdictions but also to open to science learning occurring in the global research community. This product will be released in October.

Leading an Expert MPA Working Group

Second, we are designing and leading a process to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scientists together to assess what we know about the role of MPAs in providing climate resilience. What could we know if we analyzed existing monitoring and research data in new ways? And what could we invest in to efficiently grow our scientific understanding on this topic?

This expert group will be convened through the middle of next year as a working group of the OPC Science Advisory Team. OPC SAT Working Groups are interdisciplinary teams of scientists drawn from across the US to synthesize scientific understanding, develop new approaches and provide scientific recommendations and advice to OPC on priority topics. Ocean Science Trust serves as the Secretariat of the OPC-SAT providing essential governance direction and oversight as well as designing and executing effective and efficient working group processes. Timeline: August 2019 – May 2020

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