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On July 26, the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) hosted a special session of the NOPP Biodiversity Working Group to provide updates on the US MBON demonstration projects and the activities of the Smithsonian-led Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO). 75 participants logged into the two-hour webinar, representing Federal and State agencies, US IOOS Regional Associations and partners, academia, and other sectors. Speakers included Dr. Bob Miller, Santa Barbara Channel MBON; Dr. Frank Muller-Karger, Sanctuaries MBON; Dr. Katrin Iken, Arctic MBON; and Dr. Emmett Duffy, Smithsonian/MarineGEO.
Presentations focused on project approaches, outcomes and tools developed (including the MBON Data Portal), successes, users engaged and served, and recommendations for transition to an operational network. Speakers emphasized the importance of biodiversity as a fundamental characteristic of the ocean that provides benefits to society and directly supports the Blue Economy. They noted that biological observations and data are critical to inform integrated ecosystem evaluations and improved management of protected areas, and stressed the importance of building a community around common frameworks for biological observations and data. MBON strives to develop approaches and best practices that Federal and other partners can adopt to bring us towards a robust and integrated national biological ocean observing and data management capability.