While working as an educator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Jennifer Stock has had the opportunity to see hundreds of thousands of images taken by researchers and wildlife watchers that spent time either underwater or on the surface of this remote offshore sanctuary.
This exhibit showcases an assortment of invertebrate, fish, seabird, marine mammal, and beautiful rocky reef underwater images. Taken during sanctuary research and wildlife watching expeditions, these images have been compiled into a traveling photography exhibit to highlight the incredible biodiversity off California’s Marin/Sonoma coast. Explore this nationally recognized treasure without stepping foot on a boat!
About Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
This wild offshore sanctuary is a world above and below the ocean’s surface. Located west of the shores of Marin and southern Sonoma counties, the Cordell Bank is a mysterious place. Difficult to access, it is a thriving metropolis of ocean life above and below the water, and one of 14 of America’s Underwater Treasures administered by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.
Cordell Bank is a “hotspot” for highly migratory seabirds and mammals, traveling from as far away as Chile, New Zealand, the Arctic, and Antarctic to feed in the food-rich waters. On the seafloor, it provides oasis for thousands of species that compete for living space on the rocky surfaces. Swirling around this densely packed reef, over 40 species of rockfish take refuge in the waters and rocky features. Sanctuary staff carry out research, education and resource protection programs to best protect this thriving and diverse ecosystem.
Cordell Bank is not an easy place to visit. You need to get on a boat, charter out 20 miles and brave the highly dynamic and ever-changing sea conditions. The shallowest peak on Cordell Bank is 115 feet below the ocean surface, with depths within the sanctuary reaching over 9000 feet deep. The closest port is Bodega Bay, California.
The sanctuary has been investigating the dynamics of this amazing and unique marine protected area with underwater technology including submarines, remotely operated vehicles, high tech SCUBA divers, automated underwater vehicles and human observers. Photos have been one way to capture the rarely experienced beauty of the sanctuary, and images have improved through the years with digital advancement. Stock decided it was time to present them in a photo exhibit and use them as a tool to educate viewers about the incredible biodiversity that is out of sight for most.
To learn more about Cordell Bank visit www.cordellbank.noaa.gov
Photo credits: Top, Joe Hoyt/CBNMS/NOAA; middle, Matt Vieta; bottom, Webb/ONMS/PRBO. Featured image: Sophie Webb/ONMS/PRBO