The Protected Areas
and Resources (PAR) Branch conducts research to support science and management needs
in National Marine Sanctuaries, coral reef ecosystems, estuaries inclusive of National
Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) sites, coastal ocean waters, and other
strategic areas of importance to
NOAA. The Branch also provides a focus for research on marine mammals,
corals, and other targeted marine species with protected status or that may serve
as integrators and indicators of overall coastal ecosystem health.
Efforts support a variety of coastal management priorities such as ecosystem approaches
to management (EAM) of coastal resources, integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs),
marine spatial planning, and assessing and forecasting the impacts of key human
and natural stressors including chemical and microbial pollutants, land and resource
use, invasive species, extreme natural events, and climate change.
Resulting data products and analytical tools enable more informed ecosystem management
relative to such issues and are transferred to various parts of NOAA and other Federal,
state, academic, non-governmental organizations, and public partners in collaborative
efforts to help sustain coastal ecosystem health and services.
Programs and Research Capabilities
The PAR Branch is structured around
four main programs:
- Coastal Ecology,
- Coral Health
and Disease Research,
- Environmental Genetics, and
- Marine Mammal Research.
Each consists of multiple research thrust areas, capabilities, and ongoing projects.