Benthic Habitat Mapping Effort of Puerto Rican Conservation Areas will Assist Resource Management
Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science conducted a joint scientific research mission to develop the first comprehensive benthic habitat maps of Conservation Areas, high priority marine protected areas on Puerto Rico’s western coast. The Caribbean Fishery Management Council and University of Puerto Rico participated in the effort on board the NOAA ship NANCY FOSTER from April 14 to April 24, 2007 to help collect data for the maps needed to advance management of these areas. The mission explored and characterized grouper spawning grounds and high density coral reef habitats. High resolution multibeam sonar data were collected at Bajo de Cico, Abrir La Sierra Bank, and Mona Island, and underwater video of the seafloor was collected at 84 sites. For more information including data availability (near future) see http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/products/biogeography/usvi_nps/.