The United States has been endowed with a tremendous asset: our ocean and coastal resources. The facts are incontrovertible. Coastal counties contribute over $6.6 trillion to our nation’s gross domestic product, which is nearly 50 percent of national output. Approximately 40 percent of U.S. citizens live in these counties, attracted by both the natural beauty of the coasts and plentiful employment opportunities. It is here that Americans live, work, recreate, and seek to reconnect with nature.

With such a concentration of human activity, there exists the potential for conflict between various uses of these resources. In addition, the coastal environment is a dynamic place; sea levels change, natural resources shift, patterns of human use vary, and industries wax and wane. Officials at the local, state, tribal, and federal level, along with those in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, must use the best available information to make decisions that affect livelihoods, property values, human health, preparedness for disasters, management of our natural resources, and protection of special places for future generations.

Our role is to conduct the research and provide the information necessary to address these complex coastal challenges. The mission of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) is to deliver ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies. Explore our research categories below.