**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>

Welcome, everyone, to the next step in the evolution of OceanSpaces! We’re thrilled to release an updated and improved site to better serve your needs as California’s ocean community. Our transformation was sparked and guided by you. We’d like to thank everyone who joined the community, those who gave us feedback, and our partners who enabled our growth. It has been an exciting year, and we’re grateful for the time and effort devoted by so many to get us here today.   

OceanSpaces is driven by a mission to provide an online space where people from a wide range of backgrounds can learn, share information, and work together toward a shared vision of healthy California oceans. This is what makes OceanSpaces unique. It is a distinct place where scientists, fishermen, policymakers, resource managers, nonprofits, and citizens from across the state can convene together around science and the common interest of California’s oceans and ocean management. 

We’ve been live and online for over a year, and in that time welcomed more than 600 community members. We take that as a sign of an interest and need for a community space for scientific information. But, while reflecting on our initial success, we also knew we could offer a better space for you – our members. 

Now, with an improved platform, we have laid the foundation for future adaptations and improvements, made it easier to join, and expanded the information on the site. Our refreshed content now offers new topic coverage – from fisheries to ocean acidification – drawing on the foundation of our statewide network of marine protected areas. We hope new and existing members will share your stories on our blog, create community group pages, and give your organization a presence in the OceanSpaces community.  

Three years ago, the idea of OceanSpaces began to take shape – a technology platform that represents the broader mission of the Ocean Science Trust:  to work across traditional boundaries among governments, scientists, and citizens, empowering everyone with the rigorous science that can be the foundation of decisions that affect the future of our oceans. It was and continues to be an effort made possible by our partners and collaborators who took a risk and explored a new idea with us. As we look forward, we know there is still room for improvement – and we welcome continued feedback and new ideas. 

Those of you who have been a part of the community, we thank you and invite you to explore the new OceanSpaces and help us grow a diverse, inclusive community. If you are new to our community, we warmly welcome you. We hope that our new features enhance everyone’s ability to share, exchange, and learn as a part of California’s ocean community.