Photo Credit: Cristine McConnell

The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans is a long-term ecosystem research and monitoring program established with the goals of:  

  • understanding dynamics of the coastal ocean ecosystem along the U.S. west coast
  • sharing that knowledge so ocean managers and policy makers can take science‐based decisions regarding coastal and marine stewardship
  • producing a new generation of scientists trained in interdisciplinary collaborative approaches

Over the last 10 years, PISCO has successfully built a unique research program that combines complementary disciplines to answer critical environmental questions and inform management and policy. Activities are conducted at the latitudinal scale of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem along the west coast of North America, but anchored around the dynamics of coastal, hardbottom habitats and the oceanography of the nearshore ocean – among the most productive and diverse components of this ecosystem. The program integrates studies of changes in the ocean environment through ecological monitoring and experiments. Scientists examine the causes and consequences of ecosystem changes over spatial scales that are the most relevant to marine species and management, but largely unstudied elsewhere.

Findings are linked to solutions through a growing portfolio of tools for policy and management decisions. The time from scientific discovery to policy change is greatly reduced by coordinated, efficient links between scientists and key decision makers.

Core elements of PISCO are:

Established in 1999 with funding from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, PISCO is led by scientists from core campuses Oregon State University (OSU); Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station; University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC); and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Collaborators from other institutions also contribute to leadership and development of PISCO programs.  As of 2005, core PISCO activities are funded by collaborative grants from The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Core support, along with additional funding from diverse public and private sources, make this unique partnership possible. 

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