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For Immediate Release: October 29, 2009
Contact: Diana Kenney, 508-289-7139; dkenney@mbl.edu

Linda Deegan
Linda Deegan. Click for high-resolution image. Photo credit: Tom Kleindinst
MBL Plays Key Role in National Initiative To Develop a Scientific Basis for Stewardship of our Oceans and Coasts

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL’s) Ecosystems Center have joined forces with national agencies to form the Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization (CAMEO) program, which will assess ocean and coastal resources and provide scientific information critical to managing them.

The MBL’s collaborators in the program are scientists from NOAA Fisheries, the National Science Foundation Division of Ocean Sciences, and universities around the nation.

MBL senior Ecosystems Center scientist Linda Deegan is the CAMEO program office director.

“Studying the whole ecosystem is critical to sensible management of our ocean resources,” Deegan says. “NOAA is charged with managing fisheries, and protecting endangered species and habitats. To do this, we need to understand the relationships among these components. It’s an ecosystems approach to management that will allow us understand the current and future status [of our marine resources] and to balance the trade-offs between different uses.”

CAMEO is funded at $6 million per year and is expected to increase in scope over the next decade. This funding will be awarded in the form of project grants to develop the science that underlies ecosystems-based management of living marine resources.

A decadal scientific plan for CAMEO has been defined that emphasizes comparing ocean and coastal ecosystems on the East and West Coasts. The goal is to study the interactions of human impacts and natural systems by studying as many aspects of ecosystems health as possible, including:

  • productivity of animals species, particularly fish and shellfish
  • connectivity of populations and habitats
  • impacts of climate variation and commercial fisheries

Research currently funded will assess North Pacific sardine systems, compare Texas estuaries, compare key predator-prey interactions in the Bearing Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, and support two workshops in ecosystems modeling.

“Climate change and fisheries impacts are the two dominant challenges to managing our oceans,” Deegan says. “The Ecosystems Center is a national leader in understanding the impacts of climate change on how ecosystems function and we look forward to applying this knowledge to the ocean realm.”


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Americas. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu.