Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Science section includes Seafloor Mapping, Oceanography, Deep Sea Coral and Sponges, Wildlife Research, Coastal Habitats, Citizen Science, Ecosystem Processes, Research Surveys, and Research Assets

Oceanographic Moorings

This picture shows an orange OCNMS mooring float and a 6 ft vertical pole and radar reflector on the surface of the ocean.
OCNMS moorings can be seen on the surface of the water by an orange float connected to a flagged 6 ft. pole with a radar reflector.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary collects a variety of basic oceanographic data to monitor water quality, plankton blooms (including harmful algal blooms or "HABs"), upwelling, and low oxygen events. Variation of these conditions directly affects fish and other marine life, wildlife abundances, and human health in the region, and data collected are useful for both monitoring and predicting the status of the coastal environment.

The primary tools used by the sanctuary to monitor oceanographic conditions are instrumented research moorings. The sanctuary first deployed moorings in 2000, and is currently maintaining The sanctuary first deployed moorings in 2000, and is currently maintaining 10 at these locations. The moorings are a lightweight design and are deployed from the sanctuary's research vessel, R/V Tatoosh, in the spring and recovered in the fall. Several times during the summer, each mooring is pulled out of the water for cleaning, servicing, and data downloaded before being re-deployed.

A 'rosette' shown in this picture is a round frame that holds a suite of instruments used for measuring oceanographic parameters
Mooring instrumentation that collects data on water quality is mounted on a "rosette" and deployed throughout the summer season along the Washington coast.
Instrumentation is mounted at various altitudes on the moorings. All moorings measure temperature and some measure salinity, water velocity and direction, chlorophyll concentration, water turbidity, and oxygen levels. See our instrumentation page for details on mooring design, instrumentation and historic deployment summaries. Brief summaries of recent years' mooring work can be found on our Surveys and Cruises page .

Data from these instruments are used by a variety of sanctuary partners including: Fishermen:

You are the most likely group of boaters to encounter our moorings in the water. The moorings hold delicate and expensive equipment that collects valuable data. Please try to stay at least 100 yards away from moorings to avoid accidental entanglement or damage to your vessel and the instrumentation. Current mooring locations are listed here. If you have concerns or suggestions, or would like more information about the moorings, please contact Kathy Hough. If you have "caught" any of our equipment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can recover valuable data and equipment.

Beachgoers:

Did you find something odd or that looks like it might be a piece of oceanographic equipment? Does it have "OCNMS" identified on it? If you have found mooring components (see the instrumentation page) drifting or on the beach please notify Kathy Hough. Even damaged instrumentation may still contain important data, and we would like to retrieve any loose equipment. We greatly appreciate your help, and we will make every effort to retrieve this equipment from you.

See a map of our oceanographic moorings sites.



Contact for page content: Kathy Hough
photo of a buoy on the ocean
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