Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

Summer 6-15-2007

Abstract

It is recognized that ocean and coastal areas of the United States contribute significantly to our nation’s overall economy. What is not completely understood is the extent to and manner in which our economy benefits from the wide range of marine and coastal activities. One area of the ocean economy that has not been collectively measured or examined is the contribution of marine research and education institutions. The goal of the project was to create a prototype strategy at a local level for collecting data at a national level, in order to create an economic sector of these institutions and activities that would be equivalent to other economic sectors for which the federal government already collects data such as tourism and agriculture. The purposes of this project were

(1) to select the key indicators that could demonstrate the value of these institutions, and

(2) to determine the economic contribution of these institutions to the local, state and national economies. In order to achieve these purposes, I constructed a survey tested it at MBARI, and then distributed it to the marine research and education institutions of Monterey Bay Crescent as a beta test for the entire state and possibly the nation. The results of the survey are presented as aggregate information that detail important economic contributions to the region such as: employment figures, annual earned wages, annual budgets, sources of funding, and distribution of research spending. A summary of the results shows that the combined annual budgets of the marine research and education institutions in Monterey Bay Crescent is $209,496,619. There are 1,726 employees within those institutions with wages totaling more than $77,703,833. There are also 861 students. I also discovered that the federal government funds 46% and foundations 35% of the overall monies that support these institutions. Furthermore the results of this project indicate that projects with a primary focus on coastal processes and on biodiversity research have the greatest amount of funding, while climate change and marine policy have the least. The implications of these results are of great importance in filling the void of economic data and contribution of marine research and education institutions to our economy. This project, conducted in Monterey Bay Crescent, serves as a beta-test in order to improve upon a survey that may be used throughout the U.S. In order to achieve this, broader application, I considered problems and limitations that lead to possible changes in the survey.

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