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New Coral Area Discovered in 2014 in the Gulf of Mexico is Two Times Larger than Previously Thought

Preliminary results from the fourth and final Coral Ecosystem Connectivity expedition (22 August – 4 September 2015) to Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) show the new coral area discovered in 2014 is two times larger than previously thought. Pulley Ridge, the deepest photosynthetic reef off the continental U.S., is one of the […]

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Why Nutrient-Enriched Waters Favor Large Single-Cell Algae

Ecological studies show that bottom-up (e.g., nutrient input) and top-down (e.g., grazing/predation) pressures may change the structure of aquatic ecosystems with “cascading” effects throughout the food chain. Recent research supports that zooplankton grazing in high-nutrient waters promotes the growth of larger phytoplankton over smaller species, creating a higher abundance of these larger single celled algae within the food web. Using samples […]

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NCCOS Helps Prioritize Future Mapping Efforts in Southern California Bight

Staff from NCCOS and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary have developed an inventory of existing spatial data sets depicting seafloor and habitats off the Southern California Bight to set priorities for future mapping efforts in the region. Last month, the team presented the information at a meeting of state, federal, and academic experts working toward consensus about where […]

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NCCOS Data and Expertise Inform Washington’s Marine Spatial Plan

NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science have developed species distribution maps and a seafloor mapping inventory to help guide marine spatial planning in the state of Washington. Marine spatial planning is a process that brings together multiple users of the ocean—including energy, industry, government, conservation, and recreation—to make informed and coordinated decisions about marine […]

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NOAA Embarks on Final Expedition to Investigate Coral Ecosystem Connectivity in Gulf of Mexico

Last week, a NOAA-funded investigation of the relatively healthy deep reefs of Pulley Ridge (off the southwest coast of Florida) began its fourth and final expedition. During the two-week mission, the team will launch a remotely operated vehicle from the University of Miami’s R/V F.G. Walton Smith to photograph benthic and fish communities and collect fish […]

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NCCOS Trains Washington State Scientists in Improved Seafloor Mapping Methods

Scientists within NCCOS’ Biogeography Branch develop extensive seafloor maps and depict benthic habitats that better inform policy makers and resource management decisions. But NCCOS also aims to provide guidance for coastal states in conducting their own mapping, data collection and analysis in the future. Increasing state and federal scientific collaboration also supports regional marine spatial […]

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New Recruits Comprise most of Coral Area Found in 2014

A completed analysis from the 2014 expedition to Pulley Ridge based on remotely operated vehicle (ROV) observations revealed significant areas of new coral growth. The findings were compiled from a total of 24 ROV dives to characterize the mesophotic coral reef ecosystems off the southwest coast of Florida and the Tortugas, and determined over 56.5 percent […]

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Regional Water Management Practices Reduce Biscayne Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation

In subtropical Biscayne Bay, Florida, NCCOS research reveals decades of water management practices reduce freshwater flow, negatively impacting abundance and composition of the bay’s nearshore submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) communities, fish, and crustaceans. Over the last 50 years, a massive water management system modified the hydrology of the South Florida watershed by altering the quantity, […]

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