Understanding the Ecological Diversity of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary
The first to be Tribally nominated, the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (CHNMS) is now in the scoping period for the designation process. During this stage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prepares draft documents, such as a management plan, environmental impact statement, and proposed regulations for the sanctuary boundaries, that will benefit from additional scientific data and analyses. The Lenfest Ocean Program has joined forces with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Oceankind Labs to support Dr. Stephen Palumbi, Stanford University, and Dr. Stefano Mariani, Liverpool John Moores University, to use environmental DNA (eDNA) to assess and monitor the distribution and structure of marine biodiversity in the CHNMS.
Blending Data, Knowledge, and Community Engagement
The researchers partnered with Tribal leaders and other experts to elucidate the relationship between traditional and scientific knowledge and co-design the project. Throughout the work, they will engage students, fishermen, and others in collecting and interpreting the data, and seek insight on the historical context for patterns in species distributions, including what is known from cultural heritage sites, museum exhibits, ethno-botany records, oral histories, and other cultural records. Through such collaboration and knowledge sharing, the researchers and the community hope to paint a much richer picture of coastal biodiversity.