Dr. Mark E. Monaco is the Senior Scientist in NOAA/NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). The Senior Scientist supports critical functions of NCCOS’s mission to deliver ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the Nation’s ocean and coastal resources in direct support of NOAA/NOS priorities, offices, and partners to sustain thriving coastal communities and ecosystems. Dr. Monaco has been a practicing scientist and manager in the field of coastal and marine spatial ecology in support of ecosystem-based management (EBM) for over 40 years. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University in Fisheries Management (B.S.) and in Environmental Biology (M.S.) and his doctorate in Marine and Estuarine Ecology from the University of Maryland in 1995.
Previous positions include serving as the Director of NCCOS’s Center for Coastal Monitoring & Assessment (2009-2016) and the Chief of the Marine Spatial Ecology Division (2017-2023). In those roles he led over 100 staff that conducted research, monitoring, and assessment on the distribution and quality of coastal habitats and the ecology of living marine resources to define and understand how habitats are changing in quantity and quality over space and time. The Division's efforts to support EBM focused on the coupling of natural and social sciences with governance structures. Dr. Monaco's current research interests address coral reef ecosystem ecology, ecological connectivity, the mapping of coastal habitats, defining and evaluating marine protected area boundaries, fish ecology, and integrated ecosystem assessments. In addition, his research portfolio includes evaluating the efficacy of marine protected areas and supporting the Federal agencies, US States, and Jurisdictions in developing marine spatial plans with emphasis on the siting of marine protected areas and ocean industries.