History of MARINe | MARINe

Development, growth, and resilience of the MARINe program have been influenced by many important events, highlighted in the table below. While the MARINe Partnership was not formalized until 1997, several key prior events underscored the need for long-term monitoring of rocky intertidal communities and led to the formation of an informal partnership among monitoring groups beginning in 1990.

Informal MARINe Partnership
Informal MARINe Partnership




Major oil spill in Santa Barbara Channel spurs heightened environmental awareness and regulation at both the state and federal level.


Outer Continental Shelf Southern California Bight marine ecosystem baseline studies funded by Bureau of Land Management.


First study of visitor impacts on rocky intertidal organisms initiated on Anacapa Island by Dr. Mark Littler.


First monitoring sites established on Anacapa Island to document impacts of trampling on rocky intertidal communities.


Channel Islands National Park (CINP) expanded the rocky intertidal monitoring program to 3 islands (11 sites).


Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska illuminated the need for long-term monitoring for injury assessment.


Cabrillo National Monument initiated a long-term intertidal monitoring program using protocols developed by CINP.

Minerals Management Service (MMS) funded the “Shoreline Inventory Study”, which included the establishment of a network of monitoring sites along the Santa Barbara mainland that used CINP protocols. “Informal” partners included NPS, Santa Barbara Co., UC Santa Barbara.


MMS lost funding to support long-term monitoring efforts (9 sites); quarterly funding and personnel made possible through a UC Educational Initiative and establishment of an in-house biology field team at the MMS.

Discovery of the black abalone withering foot syndrome on the mainland by MMS/University team confirmed the widespread prevalence of the disease discovered on the Channel Islands by NPS and led directly to closure of the fishery in 1994 and listing of the species as endangered by NOAA NMFS in 2009.


The California Coastal Commission (CCC) supported the establishment of monitoring sites on Santa Cruz Island (6 sites), Santa Catalina Island (2 sites), and in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties (4 sites).


Academy of Sciences special meeting on intertidal monitoring attended by over 150 biologists.

Northward expansion of monitoring into San Luis Obispo Co. (MMS funds 4 sites) and Tenera Inc helped to establish sites when the government closed. Southward expansion to San Diego (MMS, Navy and Cabrillo National Monument fund 5 sites).


Southward expansion of MARINe into Orange Co. (MMS funds 4 sites).

MMS Total Quality Management board approves “partnership” approach for rocky intertidal monitoring program.

Formal MARINe Partnership
Formal MARINe Partnership




Formal beginning of MARINe with a workshop resulting in: 12 formal funding partners with 57 sites and initial standardized protocols. Partners included MMS (now BOEM), NPS, USGS, NOAA, US Navy, CCC, CA Department of Fish and Game (now CDFW), UCSB, Pacific Gas & Electric (Tenera), Southern California Coastal Water Research Program (SCCWRP), Santa Barbara County, and Tatman Foundation.

Torch OCS Pipeline oil spill in Santa Barbara Co. MARINe researchers responded within hours and were accepted by OSPR as the Natural Resource Damage Assessment team. Success of this effort strengthens County, State, and Federal support for MARINe.


The County of Santa Barbara funded SCCWRP to develop the MARINe relational database.

The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) formed and became a major MARINe partner. Monitoring expanded into Monterey and Santa Cruz Co. and Oregon.

Biodiversity sampling protocol established.


MARINe.gov website with interactive data by county launched.

Ocean Protection Council funded additional sampling for Marine Protected Area baseline assessments.


First peer-reviewed MARINe publication utilizing database (Raimondi et al. 2002)

First program review including power analysis for CINP sites.


MARINe sites established in northern CA with PISCO funding in Mendocino Co. and NPS Klamath Network adding 3 sites in Humboldt Co.


Publication of the UC Press book “Monitoring Rocky Shores” by Murray, Ambrose and Dethier, funded by MMS, provided the foundation and decision trees needed by Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) partner agencies to set up studies of injury to rocky shores using MARINe data.


Cosco Busan tanker spill in SF Bay. MARINe protocols demonstrated ability to determine impacts to rocky intertidal resources for NRDA.

Initial MPA initiative funding helped to support existing sites and establish new sites in central CA.

Olympic NP established 4 sites on WA outer coast.


Olympic National Marine Sanctuary established 2 sites on WA outer coast (on Quinault Indian Nation and Makah tribal land).


Dubai Star oil spill in SF Bay. MARINe surveys were crucial for assessing injury to rocky intertidal resources.

Olympic NP established 2 sites on San Juan Island, WA.

Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve established 4 sites in Salish Sea, WA.

Black abalone is listed as an endangered species using MARINe data.


North Central Coast MPA funding expanded monitoring further north in CA


Sitka Sound Science Center partnered with UCSC to establish 3 sites in Sitka, AK. Navy adds 4 sites on San Clemente Island.


MARINe researchers detected seastar wasting disease (SSWD) in Washington State; new, standardized protocols developed within weeks and coast-wide sampling done to track emergence/impact of disease. New SSWD website developed with tracking map, SSWD general info, updates, and protocols. Widespread citizen science sampling effort initiated, leading to many collaborations and publications.


University of WA & WA Department of Natural Resources established 2 sites in south Puget Sound, WA.


Refugio spill (onshore pipeline spills into intertidal). This first full MARINe-wide response to a spill was coordinated with OSPR/NOAA. Database and field response by MARINe trained biologists demonstrates success of ongoing monitoring for rigorously determining injury.

Program review including power analysis for CINP and BOEM sites.


Increased public use and collection of rocky intertidal animals observed in California and Oregon due to Covid-19. Data requests for distance learning increased.