New Seafloor Data Enable Mapping of Shallow-Water Coral Ecosystems to Support Local Coastal Resource Managers
Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, in collaboration with the National Weather Service, National Geophysical Data Center, and Office of Coast Survey, completed airborne digital mapping of shallow-water coral ecosystems of southwest Puerto Rico. In addition to measuring ocean depth, innovative new processing techniques were developed to also discern seafloor habitat composition (e.g., feature hardness and roughness) providing a new capability to map shallow-water coral ecosystems. Data were collected to 50 meters water depth encompassing 265 square nautical miles. These data were collected for NOAA by Tenix LADS, Corporation using an airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) system. The data can be accessed at http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/products/biogeography/lidar_pr/.
Significance: These data were collected under the purview of NOAA’s commitment to Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping in which a single data collection can be used to simultaneously support multiple mission requirements. Data collected from this mission meet NOAA’s nautical charting requirements, enhance NOAA