Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary is a catalyst for research. Universities, aquaria, state and federal researchers conduct studies inside and outside the sanctuary, utilizing the sanctuary's research area.

Gray's Reef is a representative area of natural, live-bottom habitat commonly found in the coastal southeast. Studies on coral growth, research on loggerhead sea turtles, and the long-term monitoring of fish populations help make informed management decisions to ensure adequate protection of sanctuary resources.

A group of people move a yellow torpedo-shaped piece of equipment from a boat dock
								onto a boat.

Research Projects

Even before the designation of Gray's Reef, scientific researchers found value in the live-bottom habitats.

graphic of a fish and soundwaves


Sound plays a key role in the lives of many marine animals. Scientists study the sounds made by fishes, whales, and other animals (including humans) to learn more about the sanctuary's residents and seasonal visitors.

Two scuba divers sit on the gunwale of a boat on the ocean indicating they're ready to dive.

Research Area

The southern third of the sanctuary is reserved for scientific research, which gives a unique opportunity to study the marine ecosystem without impacts from fishing or diving.

A yellow ocean buoy floats on the ocean.


Uncrewed sensors like gliders and buoys can do what people cannot一study the ocean continuously both day and night.

A white ship passes by a yellow ocean buoy.


Multi-day expeditions on the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster give research partners the ability to study the sanctuary around the clock.

A spotted fish with a small, yellow stick in its top fin.

Publications and Reports

View the publications, reports, and proceedings related to Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.