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Our Research Areas


      Researchers capture and count grass shrimp every month at Shipyard Creek, Charleston, South
      Carolina. Keeping tabs on their numbers helps assess the health of salt-marsh ecosystems.
Researchers capture and count grass shrimp every month at Shipyard Creek, Charleston, South Carolina. Keeping tabs on their numbers helps assess the health of salt-marsh ecosystems.

Our research is used by coastal communities to protect themselves from harmful algae, water contamination, and climate impacts. We also provide the research necessary for communities to develop effective and sustainable management of their resources. We work with the NOS Coastal Ocean Science Board identify and prioritize science and research supporting NOAA's National Ocean Service, coastal stakeholders, and statutory mandates.

Research underpins NOAA's ability to predict and prepare for natural events and their impacts. The Harmful Algal Bloom forecasts we develop build on over ten years of research to identify HABs and their toxins, understand their causes and consequences, and detect and monitor them.

Research enables faster and more accurate and efficient coastal mapping and monitoring. We developed new ways to map coral reef ecosystems, using satellite imagery instead of divers. This allowed us to map all US reefs in less than 10 years and within budget.

Research Helps us Assess Risk. Which of the thousands of chemicals introduced into the marketplace each year are accumulating in coastal areas? Which are toxic? By developing early warning systems and sub-lethal indicators we are helping communities and agencies assess risk and target their resources.

Research Produces Information. Solving environmental problems requires knowledge and power. Decision-makers have power, but may lack in-depth knowledge of complex problems. NCCOS works directly with managers, industry, regulators, and scientists to deliver relevant, timely, and accurate scientific information.

Our Primary Research Areas