Viewed from shore, the ocean might seem like an endless blue-grey expanse stretching into the horizon - one monolithic pool of salt water and sea foam. But beneath the murky surface lies underwater terrain as varied and complex as the land itself, with waters teeming with biological diversity that tests the bounds of imagination.
To understand the complex marine environment and to ensure it is healthy and sustainable for the future, TNC has conducted various regional assessments and research projects to map the resources and processes existing across our region. With this knowledge, we gain understanding on how these systems change. It also informs efforts to conserve and sustain these ecosystems.
Explore the links below to learn about each of these projects or go directly to download data and specific project pages.
With regional assessments, scientists map seafloor habitats and coastal ecosystems, identify key areas for the conservation of marine fish, marine mammals, and sea turtles, and map the varied human uses of the ocean. All this information is then combined to find a balance between resource use and conservation of natural diversity through Marine Spatial Planning.
We organized these assessments into three regions that correspond to the U.S. regional planning areas:
-Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecoregional Assessment (NAMERA), visit page
-Long-Island Sound Ecoregional Assessment (LISEA), visit page
-Delaware River Basin Conservation Initiative, visit page
-Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecoregional Assessment (NAMERA shared with NW region), visit page
-Long-Island Sound Ecoregional Assessment (LISEA shared with NW region), visit page
-South Atlantic Bight Marine Assessment (SABMA), visit page
While not related to regional assessments, TNC has also conducted or managed projects in the Atlantic that provide more information various aspects of these complex ecosystems. These projects include:
- What is beneath the waves? Data mining from Georges Bank to the Chesapeake (SMAST)
- Exploration of climate-induced shifts in historical and future distributions of marine species on the U.S. Northeast Shelf (NEFSC)
- Chesapeake Bay Habitat Restoration project
- The Oyster Goals Project
- Application of Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) to the Northwest Atlantic