Science Research

The ODFW Marine Reserves Program is studying both the ecology and the human dimensions of the reserves. For instance, how do marine reserve protections — no fishing and no ocean development — affect marine species and habitats over time? How do these protections affect people and communities? How do people value and depend on the ocean? What else can we learn about Oregon’s nearshore marine ecosystem?

This is a long-term research and monitoring program. What we’re learning from these living laboratories is being used to support the management of marine reserves, sustainable nearshore ocean resources, and coastal communities here in Oregon.

For a state famous for exploration, we’ve only skimmed the surface of our coastal waters.


Each Site is Unique

Magnifying glassEach of Oregon’s marine reserves is unique. They are different shapes and sizes. They have distinct habitats and biological characteristics. They each experienced different types and levels of fishing before closure. And, the demographics of the coastal towns and communities most closely tied to each site are different.

These unique features mean we will likely see different conservation outcomes and different impacts to people and communities at each site.



Our Partners

Through partnerships we are able to expand the research and monitoring being conducted in Oregon’s marine reserves. Our partners provide advice, lend different expertise, provide additional personnel, and help us expand our research and monitoring programs. We work with academia, other state and federal agencies, non-government organizations, the fishing industry, community groups, as well as volunteers. Meet some of Our Partners.

Learning and Adapting

Marine reserves are a relatively new management tool here in Oregon. Based on what we’re learning, our scientific research is evolving and adapting over time to produce the best possible data. We continue to ask questions about the ability of our research tools to generate robust, valid, and unbiased data and new research studies are being added over time. Our goal is to continually seek to improve our scientific research, based on the best-available science.

Sharing What We Learn

Our goal is to clearly communicate and make accessible the work being carried out by the ODFW Marine Reserves Program. We currently have a variety of ways in which folks can track our monitoring progress. Visit our Resource Library to see our latest monitoring plans, research reports, journal publications and more. See our Photos & Videos. Or check out our Oregon Marine Reserves News stories featuring the science being conducted by ODFW and our research partners. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter to receive periodic news updates directly to your email.

Human Dimensions Research

Our research focuses on understanding the different ways that people and communities may be affected by the reserves. We use multiple social scientific methods including economics, sociology, and anthropology to help us understand impacts of conservation and management decisions.

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Ecological Monitoring

Our monitoring focuses on tracking and understanding ocean changes occurring inside and outside of the reserves. These “living laboratories” are giving us a better understanding of Oregon’s nearshore ocean to support management decisions and our understanding of emerging ocean issues.

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