Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Monitoring Project

Center for Integrated Marine Technologies: Wind to Whales

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Don Croll
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Gary Griggs
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Margaret McManus
    University of Hawai'i at Manoa
  • Raphael Kudela
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Ken Bruland
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Mary Silver
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Dan Costa
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Baldo Marinovic
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Chris Edwards
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Jeff Paduan
    Navy Postgraduate School
  • Leslie Rosenfeld
    Navy Postgraduate School
  • Francisco Chavez
    Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Jim Harvey
    Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University
  • Andrew DeVogelaere
    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Steve Lonhart
    Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Scott Benson
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Yi Chao
    California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Labs
  • Chris Clark
    Cornell University
  • Mark Carr
    University of California, Santa Cruz
  • John Largier
    University of California, Davis


  • NOAA
Start Date: May 01, 1997
End Date: July 31, 2008

The Center for Integrated Marine Technologies (CIMT) has sought to develop the resources and technologies needed to: 1) develop an integrated, sustainable system to measure core Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) environmental variables over the long-term, 2) archive and access these data products using IOOS Data Management and Communication Subcommittee (DMAC) data management guidelines, 3) use data products in the development of predictive models to facilitate prognostication of change in the coastal environment with time, 4) identify a broad community of users for measured data products, and 5) create integrated data products that are accessible and understandable to community users.

CIMT seeks to explicitly link new technologies and data industry, education, research, and recreation. CIMT combines emerging technological and data integration approaches to determine the process underlying the dynamics of coastal upwelling ecosystems and to investigate the critical linkages between:
  • Detailed physical oceanographic measurements of upwelling intensity and surface currents with

  • Assessment of the availability of critical nutrients, to determine the extent to which these may be used to predict

  • The distribution, abundance and species composition of phytoplankton, zooplankton, harmful algal species, and

  • The distribution, abundance and species composition of top-level, commercially important consumers including fish, sea lions, seabirds, sea turtles, and whales

  • By using a multi-disciplinary approach, CIMT promises to deliver relevant physical, chemical, and biological ocean information to a diverse array of stakeholders. A well-integrated interdisciplinary approach offers the best prospect of providing predictions regarding present and future effects on human activities on marine ecosystems. We have assembled a group of physical, biological, and geochemical oceanographers; ecologists, resources managers, and remote sensing experts, together with instrumentation and networking engineers who are working synergistically to develop an integrated technological approach to overcome these limitations. Our unified goal is to provide novel insights and critical data about the functioning of the California coastal upwelling ecosystem.

    CIMT efforts are focused on the Monterey Bay region of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS)-from Pt. Año Nuevo on the North to Pt. Lobos on the South out to 122° 05’ west longitude.

    CIMT developed out of the 1996 Wind to Whales Program. Starting in 2002, the Coastal Observation Technology System (COTS) project funded CIMT to develop one of several model demonstrations of regional coastal ocean observing systems based on combined knowledge, expertise, and efforts. CIMT was funded under NOAA award #NA16OC2936 from July 2002 to July 2005.

    In 2006 funding was provided from August 2006 - July 31, 2007 through NOAA COTS award #NA16OC2936. During 2005 CIMT received funding from the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) Coordination Grant NOAA award #NA05NOS4731123 as well as financial support for the M0 mooring through a cooperative ocean observing system program from the Center for Integrative Coastal Observation Research and Education (CICORE).

    Summary to Date

    The Center for Integrative Marine Technologies (Wind to Whales Program) is accomplishing its mission by actively pursuing four main activities: 1) create an interdisciplinary team to monitor and identify the needs and technological solutions to understand Monterey Bay’s upwelling ecosystem, 2) develop new technologies to fill important gaps in understanding the coupling between physical and biological processes in the coastal upwelling ecosystem, 3) integrate data across platforms (mooring, ship-based, satellite) and across temporal and spatial scales and create data products, 4) identify a broad community of users for measured data products and develop strong linkages between CIMT researchers and product end users.

    Study Parameters

    • Habitat association
    • Trophic association
    • Biomass
    • Abundance
    • Distribution
    • Density
    • Migration/movement patterns
    • Tagging
    • Temperature
    • Optical properties
    • Currents
    • Density
    • Salinity
    • Wind
    • Turbidity
    • Upwelling/downwelling
    • Waves
    • Chl A
    • Fe
    • N

    Study Methods

    Ship surveys are conducted in Monterey Bay in January, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. Surveys consist of seven transect lines approximately 10km long from the 50 meter isobath out to 122° 05’ degrees West. Eleven hydrographic stations are monitored during each survey. Each hydrographic station includes a zooplankton net tow, a phytoplankton net tow, iron sampling, a CTD cast, water column sampling for chl a, micro and macro nutrients, and domoic acid. Along each of the transect lines hydroacoustic data is collected along with temperature, salinity, and flourescense. Marine mammal, sea turtle, and sea bird sightings are recorded along each transect line.

    The Mooring and Remote Sensing groups provide near-real time data via a mooring, satellites, and four HF Radar stations located in Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, Monterey, and Granite Canyon. Another component of oceanographic instrumentation includes bioacoustic pop-up buoys that provide data approximately every three months of low frequency sound in the Bay.

    The Apex Predator Tagging group uses tagged (elephant seals, sea lions, fin, blue, and humpback whales) marine mammals to provide temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, and depth profiles of the animals. Tagging marine mammals also provides an understanding of an animal’s movement, migratory patterns, and prey composition.

    From 2002-2205 CIMT had a database group that began development on a data archive and retrieval system for the purpose of acquiring and archiving historical and real-time datasets collected from oceanographic surveys and autonomous instrumentation.

    The Modeling group is utilizing observational and historical data sets to generate accurate predictive models to forecast change in the physical and biological components of the central California upwelling system.

    The Outreach group is developing strong linkages between CIMT researchers and product end users by improving upon the dissemination of data sets and the creation of effective research and education tools.

    Figures and Images

    Figure 1. Two blue whales feeding on surface swarms of krill. Photo: Newton

    Figure 2. Spatial distribution of survey track lines within Monterey Bay, CA. CIMT surveys along each of these lines on a regular basis.

    Figure 3. Blue, humpback, and fin/rorqual sightings compared to krill abundance for CIMT 2004 ship surveys. Data provided by: Croll 2004.

    Figure 4. Blue whale equipped with a dive recorder as part of the Center for Integrated Marine Technologies program (upper image). Dive profile of tagged whale (yellow line) in relation to krill swarms (red areas) near the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon (green line labeled sea floor)(lower image). The whale repeatedly dove between 240 and 280 m deep, targeting dense swarms of krill to feed on, and dive duration was between 8 and 9 minutes.

    Figure 5. Dr. Baldo Marinovic holds a graduated cylinder packed full of krill, an important prey item of whales and sea birds. Photo: Rondi Robison, August 2004.

    Figure 6. Sample from station 407 during the July 2004 CIMT ship surveys shows a monoculture of the diatomChaetoceros concavicornis, an oceanic species and signifies a shift in the hydrographic conditions of the bay. Photo: Susan Cole, July 2004.