Bay Nature magazineFall 2007

The Ocean

Ocean Resources

October 1, 2007



Encyclopedia of the SanctuariesOnline guide to over 100 marine species from each of the marine sanctuaries in the United States. Includes photos, streaming video, and important biological information for mammals, fish, birds, invertebrates, plants, and reptiles.


Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary – Official Site

Ecology of an Underwater Islandby Robert W. Schmieder, Cordell Expeditions, 1991.Written by the leader of a 10-year-long series of exploratory expeditions to Cordell Bank, this is a well-illustrated and readable account of the Cordell Bank’s rich ecosystems.

Cordell Bank Radio ShowThe staff of the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary hosts this ocean-themed radio show on KWMR 90.5 FM (Point Reyes) and 89.3 FM (Bolinas) and on the web at The show delves into the diverse habitats and wildlife found in the waters of the sanctuary.


Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary – Official Site

Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuary Visitor CenterLocated in the Old Coast Guard Station at Crissy Field in San Francisco’s Presidio, the center offers educational opportunities for students of all ages and introduces visitors to the marine mammals, sharks, fish, and seabirds found just offshore. A marine life touch tank, a 15-foot-high mural, and knowledgeable docents await school groups and individual visitors.


Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – Official Site

Field Guide to the Monterey Bay National Marine SanctuaryIn a concise, downloadable format, this 12-page guide is packed with information about habitats, inhabitants, history, conservation, and family-friendly activities around the sanctuary.

A Natural History of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaryby Michael A. Rigsby and Lawrence Ormsby, Monterey Bay Aquarium Press, 1999.This comprehensive illustrated guide delves into the oceanography, geology, and marine life of the sanctuary’s many habitats, from shoreline wetlands to the deep sea ocean canyon.


Ecosystem ObservationsEcosystem Observations is an annual report for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary featuring current research written by scientific experts. Reports for 1999-2006 are available as downloadable PDF files.

Friends of the Moss Landing Marine LaboratoriesThis non-profit organization supports the research, education, and conservation work of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories through public education programs including seminars and an informative newsletter, events, and fundraising activities.

Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford UniversityThrough its website, the Hopkins Marine Station provides layperson-friendly summaries of ongoing research in marine science and ocean and coastal resource management conducted by students and faculty at the station. It also includes information about lectures and other public events.

Ocean Observatories InitiativeCurrently in development, this project will bring sea floor data and maps to web users.

Pacific Cetacean GroupPacific Cetacean Group, based in Moss Landing, offers a unique opportunity to study marine mammals and marine ecology by participating in research, education, and art programs.


California Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE)Funded in 2002 by the National Science Foundation, California COSEE creates opportunities for collaborations to flourish among ocean scientists and K-14 educators. Programs focus on deepening the involvement of ocean scientists in K-14 education, expanding access of under-served students to ocean science and to science and technical careers, and increasing the inclusion of ocean science in the K-14 curriculum.

Coast Alive!The Coast Alive! program, a joint project of the California Institute for Biodiversity and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, offers a state-of-the-art, standards-based multimedia curriculum for teaching grade-school students about the California coast. The program includes engaging hands-on activities and scientific exploration at California State Parks and is supported by intensive training that enables teachers to use the curriculum to its full potential and to lead field trips.

Monterey Bay AquariumThe aquarium’s website offers resources for classroom activities, information about teacher workshops, an online newsletter for educators, and information about school tours at the aquarium.

Monterey Bay National Marine SanctuaryThrough its website, the sanctuary provides multicultural outreach programs and educational materials, offers information for educators about key resource management issues, interprets current research and monitoring efforts, and maintains an education list-serve for sanctuary news and announcements.

O’Neill Sea OdysseySanta Cruz (831) 475-1561This program offers a living classroom for school groups focusing on Monterey Bay’s marine habitats both aboard a 65-foot catamaran and at an onshore education center.


Aquarium of the Bay(888) 732-3483 or (415) 623-5300Discover the underwater habitats and denizens of San Francisco Bay and the ocean offshore at the Aquarium of the Bay, located on Pier 39 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The aquarium introduces visitors to over 20,000 animals from the Bay and ocean through engaging exhibits, including transparent walk-through tunnels and touch pools, and naturalist programs for all ages.

California Academy of Sciences(415) 321-8000Among the academy’s major exhibits is the Steinhart Aquarium, a grand collection of aquatic creatures that includes species found at no other institution in the world. The academy is temporarily located in downtown San Francisco until its new building opens in Golden Gate Park in late 2008.

Gulf of the Farallones Sanctuary Visitor Center(415) 561-6625Located in the Old Coast Guard Station at Crissy Field in San Francisco’s Presidio, the center offers educational opportunities for students of all ages and introduces visitors to the marine mammals, sharks, fish, and seabirds found just offshore. A marine life touch tank, a 15-foot-high mural, and knowledgeable docents await school groups and individual visitors.

Monterey Bay Aquarium(831) 648-4888The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s dozens of innovative exhibits devoted to the diverse habitats of Monterey Bay include the 1-million-gallon Outer Bay exhibit; sea otter, kelp forest, and jellyfish galleries; and much, much more. Visitors can participate in educational activities, excursions, and behind-the-scenes tours.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory (831) 459-3800Through hands-on exhibits, an aquarium, a touch tank, and interactive family programs, this working marine lab in Santa Cruz provides insight into the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world’s oceans.

UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab(707) 875-2211This working marine laboratory on Bodega Bay is open to the public on Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. for volunteer docent-led interpretive tours of the numerous marine aquarium and outdoor displays highlighting colorful local marine life. Group tours are available at other times by special arrangement. The public is also welcome at the lab’s weekly scientific seminar series on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m.


Actually getting out and getting wet is the best way to appreciate the beauty of our national marine sanctuaries and the ecosystems they protect. There are a number of local whale and nature watching, kayaking, and diving outfitters who have both the equipment and the expertise to help get you onto or into the ocean yourself. Our list includes nature watching and kayak outfitters who offer trips in our marine sanctuaries. Many local dive shops offer scuba diving trips to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary; look for a dive shop in your area to schedule a trip.


50 Ways to Get Your Feet Wet in the Monterey Bay National Marine SanctuaryLists resources for whale watching, boating, kayaking, scuba diving, surfing and bicycling.

Dive into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Kayaking in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Boating in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail

Diving and Snorkeling Monterey Peninsula & Northern Californiaby Steve Rosenberg, Lonely Planet Publications, 2000.Provides specific information about 46 of the best scuba and free-diving sites throughout Central and Northern California.

Guide to Sea Kayaking in Central and Northern California: The Best Day Trips and Tours from the Lost Coast to Morro Bayby Roger Schumann and Jan Shriner, Globe Pequot Press, 1999.This book guides kayakers to more than 40 trips with more than 100 route alternatives, giving mile-by-mile descriptions of the routes, prominent landmarks, and interesting places along the way. The guide is written for kayakers of all skill levels from beginner to expert.



Adventure Cat 2(415) 777-1630 or (800) 498-4228

California Whale Adventures(415) 760-8613

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association(415) 561.6625 ext. 300

Oceanic Society Whale Watching Trips (415) 441-1106Farallon Islands trips (from San Francisco): May-November

Gray whale coastal trips (from San Francisco Bay and Half Moon Bay): December-May

SF Bay Whale Watching(415) 331-6267


Cordell Bank Wildlife Watching Seminar(415) 663-1200In collaboration with Point Reyes National Seashore Association’s Field Seminars, the Sanctuary hosts an annual wildlife watching seminar to introduce participants to the offshore wildlife that makes Cordell Bank so special.


Of Wheelchairs and Whale Watching in Monterey Bay, California, USAby Scott RainsThis online article includes a discussion of wheelchair accessibility for Monterey Bay whale watching trips.

Chris’ Whale Watching Tours(831) 375-5951

Monterey Bay Whale Watch(831) 375-4658

Monterey Whale Watching(800) 979-3370 (Zerve booking service)

Randy’s Fishing Trips and Whale Watching(800) 251-7440 or (831) 372-7440(800) 979-3370 (Zerve booking service)

Sanctuary Cruises(831) 917-1042 or (831) 643-0128(800) 979-3370 (Zerve booking service)


The following kayak outfitters offer trips or kayak rentals on the ocean. For information about trips in other Bay Area waters, such as San Francisco Bay, visit the Bay Area Sea Kayakers (BASK) website.

Bay Area Sea KayakersThis nonprofit membership organization for sea kayakers provides a forum for paddlers to meet; generate ideas for trips; learn about ocean ecology, kayaking techniques, and safety; and share information about local marine conditions through its website, monthly newsletter, email list server, trips and workshops, and monthly meetings.

A B Seas Kayaks of MontereyMonterey (866) 824-2337 or (831) 647-0147

Adventure Sports UnlimitedSanta Cruz (888) 839-4286 or (831) 458-3648

Adventures by the SeaSeveral locations in the Monterey area

Blue Waters KayakingTomales Bay (415) 669-2600

Cal AdventuresOakland (510) 893-7833Half Moon Bay (800) 366-9804 or (650) 728-1803

California Canoe and KayakBerkeley (510) 642-4000

Eskape Sea KayakingSanta Cruz (831) 476-5385

Half Moon Bay Kayak CompanyHalf Moon Bay (650) 773-6101

Kayak ConnectionSanta Cruz (831) 479-1121Moss Landing (831) 724-5692

Monterey Bay KayaksMonterey (800) 649-5357 or (831) 373-5357

Off the BeachStinson Beach (415) 868-9445

Outback AdventuresLarkspur 415-461-22221San Jose 408-551-0588

REI Adventures Paddling Trips(800) 622-2236 or (253) 437-1100Paddling excursions in Northern and Central California

Sea TrekSausalito (415) 488-1000


Algalita Marine Research FoundationAlgalita Marine Research Foundation is dedicated to preservation of the marine environment through innovative research, education, and restoration. Current projects include pelagic plastic pollution research, watershed clean-up, kelp forest restoration, and classroom education for school groups.

American Cetacean SocietyThe American Cetacean Society is active in conservation, education, and research related to marine mammals, primarily whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

California Coastkeeper AllianceThis umbrella organization coordinates the work of local Waterkeeper groups that safeguard water quality inland and along the coast. Programs address violations of the “no discharge” rule for areas of special biological significance along the coast from Sonoma to Monterey County, and the impact of power plant cooling systems on coastal ecosystems.

Coast and OceanThe informative quarterly magazine of the California Coastal Conservancy explores the evolving relationship between the people of California and the ocean, covering a wide range of issues related to the state’s coastal and marine resources. Subscriptions for $18/year; (510) 286-0515,

Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS)A collaborative initiative of several marine research and ocean advocacy organizations, COMPASS works to make marine science accessible to the public, the media, and policymakers, and thereby advance understanding of marine resources and issues related to ocean health.

Farallones Marine Sanctuary AssociationFMSA advocates for protection of wildlife and habitats of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary through a community of active volunteer ocean stewards working in collaboration with sanctuary staff. Opportunities for public involvement include Beach Watch, harbor seal monitoring, whale watching cruises, and other conservation and education programs.

Friends of the Sea OtterThis not-for-profit organization founded in 1968 is dedicated to the protection of the rare and threatened southern sea otter as well as sea otters throughout their north Pacific range and all sea otters worldwide.

The Marine Mammal CenterThe Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands provides rescue, rehabilitation, and release for sick, injured, orphaned, and distressed marine mammals from San Luis Obispo to Mendocino County. The center offers opportunities for volunteer involvement in its rescue, rehabilitation, and research work.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Conservation and Research ProgramsThe Aquarium sponsors programs to reduce the amount of trash entering the ocean, expand marine protected areas, reform national ocean policy, and educate the public about sustainable seafood choices. Its Ocean Action Team is a network of citizen activists who write letters and speak out about current issues.

Monterey Bay Sanctuary Citizen Watershed Monitoring NetworkThis network creates and supports integrated, long-term, volunteer-based water quality and watershed monitoring programs within the sanctuary and its adjacent watersheds.

Natural Resources Defense Council – Oceans ProgramThrough its Oceans program, NRDC works with government agencies, members of the public, and a variety of stakeholders to protect ocean ecosystems and marine wildlife and habitats. NRDC sponsored California’s Marine Life Protection Act legislation and participates in the MLPA Initiative to ensure the establishment of a meaningful network of marine protected areas along the California coast.

The Nature Conservancy – Marine Conservation ProgramThe Conservancy works to safeguard the state’s ocean resources through innovative collaborations with fishermen, resource managers and other partners on research, habitat protection, and sustainable solutions that ensure the health of both the environment and the coastal economy. TNC’s California Coastal and Marine Program helped to protect 3.8 million acres off the coast of Central California in 2006.

Ocean ConservancyOcean Conservancy is a national ocean policy and advocacy group with active local offices in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It works to restore fisheries, protect marine wildlife from adverse human impacts, conserve special ocean places, and reform state and federal ocean governance for better stewardship of California’s ocean resources. It is actively involved in California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to establish a statewide network of marine protected areas. Its Ocean Action Network mobilizes concerned individuals to speak out on urgent ocean conservation issues.

The Otter ProjectThe Otter Project promotes the recovery of the California’s sea otter population, an indicator of Central California’s nearshore ocean health, by facilitating sea otter research and providing information about the otter and its habitat to the general public and policy makers.

PRBO Conservation ScienceFor over 30 years, PRBO scientists have conducted research on the Farallon Islands, studying the islands’ seabirds and marine mammals and laying the scientific foundation for understanding, protecting, and conserving this vital component of the California marine ecosystem. Along with its ongoing research at Ano Nuevo Island, PRBO is currently studying the impact of “no take” marine reserves and the complex food webs of the California Current.

Save our ShoresThe Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Save Our Shores uses public education, policy research and development, and citizen action campaigns—including Sanctuary Stewards and monthly beach clean-up programs—to conserve the marine resources of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Central California.

Seafood WatchSeafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium that recommends which seafood to buy or avoid in a program to help consumers and purveryors become advocates for environmentally friendly seafood.

SeaflowSausalito-based Seaflow advocates for the health of marine wildlife and habitats, particularly addressing the issue of harmful underwater noise. In early 2008 it will launch a campaign to protect California’s national marine sanctuaries and state marine protected areas from noise generated by cargo ships, Navy sonar, and oil and gas exploration. The public is invited to monthly community meetings featuring speakers from the ocean conservation community.

Surfrider FoundationSurfrider Foundation is dedicated to protecting and enhancing our local waves, water, and beaches through conservation, activism, research, and education. Seven local chapters from Mendocino to Monterey sponsor programs including beach clean-ups, water quality testing, storm water monitoring, and public education campaigns.

Thank You OceanThank You Ocean is a collaborative web portal supported by a network of ocean advocacy and education groups through which the general public can learn about ways to protect California’s ocean resources on both a personal level and by getting involved with the activities of ocean protection organizations.

About the Author