Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment

The Center for Coast Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA) is a center within NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS).  Acronyms aside, CCMA is structured in three branches: Biogeography (BB), Coastal Ocean Assessment, Status, and Trends (COAST), and Research Coordination and Administrative Support (RCAS). The Biogeo and COAST branches explore different aspects of the ocean, ocean floor, coast, animals, and water chemistry, while RCAS oversees administrative support and coordination of research projects. From mapping the sea floor to finding the levels of contaminants in the water, our researchers are constantly expanding our knowledge of our oceans and great lakes. Our research is conducted on a regional and national scale, and is consistently used to advise policy and management practices.

CCMA Leadership

Mark Monaco, CCMA Director

As Director of CCMA, Mark Monaco leads and manages 60 staff that conducts research, monitoring, and assessment on the distribution and quality of habitats and the ecology of living marine resources to support marine spatial planning along the Nation’s coastlines.  From 1979-1983 Dr. Monaco conducted and directed Great Lakes research at OSU’s Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie.  He joined NOAA’s Biogeography team in 1984, after which he was promoted to Branch Chief. Dr. Monaco has been CCMA director since 2009. Currently, his primary research interests are focused on coral reef ecosystem ecology, the mapping of coastal habitats mapping using remote sensing technologies, defining marine protected area boundaries, and evaluating the efficacy of spatial management actions. Dr. Monaco earned a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, an M.S. in Environmental Biology from Ohio State University, and a B.S. in Fisheries Management from Ohio State University.

Chris Caldow, CCMA Biogeography Branch Chief

Chris Caldow SCUBA divingFor more than a decade, Chris Caldow has played an integral role in developing coral reef and reef fish monitoring protocols throughout the U.S. Caribbean, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico. He has published peer-reviewed research, NOAA technical memoranda and book chapters on a wide range of topics, including reef fish habitat unitization patterns and coral reef ecology.  Specific to research on coral reefs and associated fish populations, he has coordinated research in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Panama, Belize, Bali, Hawaii, American Samoa, Baja California and the Galapagos Islands. Mr. Caldow earned an M.S. in Biology from the University of Houston, and a B.S. in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Greg Piniak, CCMA COAST Branch Chief

Dr. Greg Piniak

Greg Piniak became the COAST branch chief in March 2012.  He is an ecologist by training, and his main research interests are in how human activities in the environment affect coastal ecosystems.  He has primarily worked in coral reef ecosystems, working in Florida, Hawaii, American Samoa, Navassa, and other locations to evaluate sediment impacts and marine protected area effectiveness.  Other research projects have included impacts of oil spills to seagrass and wave dynamics in salt marshes.  Prior to joining COAST, Greg was the Research Coordination and Administrative Support branch chief and deputy director at the NCCOS Center in Beaufort, NC.  He is an alumnus of NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program. Greg earned his Ph.D. in ecology from Duke University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame.

Terry McTigue, CCMA RCAS Branch Chief

Terry McTigue’s federal career began in 1987 at the NOAA Fisheries Laboratory in Galveston, TX, where she conducted research on penaeid shrimp and wetland trophic ecology. In 1993, she moved to Lafayette, LA, to open a one person NOAA office on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she managed coastal restoration projects across the central and western regions of South Louisiana. Dr. McTigue was detailed in 1999 to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Global Environment Facility, an organization jointly operated by the World Bank and the UNEP, to assist on coastal restoration and wetland-related issues.  After these details, she joined the Office of Response and Restoration and then moved to NCCOS in 2001.   At NCCOS headquarters, Terry co-authored and edited volumes on the monitoring of coastal restoration projects. In 2004, she came to her present position within CCMA, where she works in the management of the Center and participates in and helps to coordinate a wide range of research and monitoring efforts. Dr. McTigue earned a Ph.D. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, an M.S. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, and a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

For more information about CCMA and its branches, visit the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA), Biogeography Branch, and/or the Coastal Ocean Assessment, Status, and Trends (COAST) Branch websites directly.

For more information about NCCOS, visit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s