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$10M gift helps kick start Smithsonian marine effort

The Smithsonian is launching a new initiative to study coastal waters and create the first global network monitoring climate change and human impacts on ocean life with a $10 million gift.

Los Angeles hedge fund manager Michael Tennenbaum is announcing the donation Thursday. He says long-term data is needed to raise the level of dialogue about climate change and biodiversity.

The project will begin with five marine observatories, studying plants and animals in the Chesapeake Bay, Fort Pierce, Fla., and sites in Belize and Panama. The Smithsonian plans to add 10 more stations within a decade, using federal money, partners and fundraising.

Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough says coastal ecosystems are highly affected by humans. He says the Smithsonian will foster long-term study, while universities and others depend on short-term grants.