Scientific research at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary involves a variety of activities such as mapping the seafloor, conducting marine wildlife and habitat surveys, monitoring changing ocean conditions along the coast, assessing climate vulnerability of habitats and species, and recording underwater sound. Sanctuary staff also participate in studies to understand human connections, socioeconomics and ‘ecosystem services’ or benefits the sanctuary provides to coastal communities.

The sanctuary partners with numerous organizations in order to maximize the impact of research in the sanctuary. These include staff from Washington state agencies, NOAA and other federal agencies, Coastal Treaty Tribes in Washington, and non-governmental organizations, as well as students and academic researchers from a variety of educational institutions.