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New version of Google Earth features California's marine protected areas

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) You don't have to get wet, or seasick, to find out what is going on in Marine Protected Areas worldwide. Just tune in through your computer.

This morning at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, Ocean in Google Earth available to computers everywhere was launched at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Scientists at UC Santa Barbara are involved in the project.

"The Marine Science Institute at UCSB played a key role in providing scientific guidance, intriguing content, and innovative web-based graphics for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) layer of Ocean in Google Earth," said Steven Gaines, director of the Marine Science Institute (MSI). MSI worked as part of a group called the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO).

Gaines explained that through Google, with contributions from many leading conservation organizations, scientists hope to inform a broad audience about important scientific research on Marine Protected Areas and fully protected, no-take marine reserves.

Information, imagery, and stories on more than 4,500 Marine Protected Areas around the world are available through the newest version of Ocean in Google Earth, which enables users to dive beneath the surface of the sea and explore the world's oceans.

The new Google Earth feature also contains content from Protect Planet Ocean, a Web site that is coordinated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and found at

These exciting new Internet resources will draw a global audience, and will highlight research, conservation efforts, and policy processes occurring in California, according to Sarah Lester, project scientist at MSI.

The Marine Protected Area layer of Ocean in Google Earth includes an animation showing the effect of reserve protection on fish populations in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Protect Planet Ocean, the web portal, features case studies on the Marine Life Protection Act process that established a statewide network of Marine Protected Areas in California waters. Results can be found featuring the scientific monitoring conducted in the marine reserve at Anacapa Island.


Contact: Gail Gallessich
University of California - Santa Barbara

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New version of Google Earth features California's marine protected areas
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