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National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment


MEET: Mark Monaco

Acting Director, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment

I’m the acting director of the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment. I manage a staff of 53 federal and contract employees who conduct ecosystem-based science to support the management of marine resources.

Mark Monaco


What do you like most about working at NOS?

The tremendous opportunity to work on multiple scientific projects and to interact with talented people.

What is the hardest part of your job?

Balancing the demands of management requirements, conducting science, and ensuring that the staff is happy and productive.

What is your educational background?

I received a bachelor of science in fisheries and a master’s in environmental biology fromThe Ohio State University, and obtained a PhD in marine, estuarine and environmental science from the University of Maryland.

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

As a teenager, I spent summers along both the East and North Coasts, and I determined that “working at the beach and in the water” would be really cool.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

I started at NOAA in 1984 as a Sea Grant Fellow assigned to NOS’s Marine Pollution Program Office. I worked for many years in the NOS Office of Ocean Resources and Coastal Assessment (both of these offices evolved into other programs). Since 1999, I’ve been a branch chief in the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment, part of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and I recently became the Center’s acting director.

What advice do you have for young people wanting a career in the "ocean realm"?

You can have an impact on conserving and protecting our ocean resources. Study hard!