Benthic Habitat Mapping of Coral Reefs in Florida, Caribbean, and the Pacific
Project Status: This project began in January 1999 and is Ongoing
We are producing benthic seafloor habitat maps to help coastal managers assess, protect, and preserve the condition of coral reef ecosystems.
Why We Care
Coral reef ecosystems are enormously valuable culturally, ecologically, and economically, but they are declining because of human influences. Our ability to better understand, protect, and improve their condition relies on ongoing assessments, and mapping is an important component of those efforts. Maps provide not only past and present data on the condition of our coral reefs, they also reveal the effectiveness of coral reef conservation over time, which areas need further protection, and which need alternate management measures.
What We’re Doing
We’re producing the benthic (seafloor) habitat maps using high-resolution satellite, LiDAR (light detection and ranging), and acoustic SONAR (sound navigation and ranging) imaging. Seafloor features are identified visually, and the resulting maps are made available to users in a digital format. We’re also making available all of the associated original and derived data compiled and used in the mapping products.
We have successfully mapped most of the US shallow-water coral reef ecosystems and next will focus on mapping high-priority sites at finer spatial scales. Our efforts to map deeper water coral reef ecosystems using ship-based acoustic SONARS also continue.
Related Regions of Study: Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean - Eastern, Pacific Ocean - Western, Florida, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands
Primary Contacts: Chris Caldow, Tim Battista
Science for Coastal Ecosystem Management (Seafloor Mapping, Coral)
Related NCCOS Center: CCMA
Websites and Data Pages
- Benthic Habitat Mapping off Southwest Puerto Rico
- Benthic Habitat Mapping for Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping for National Park Service, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping off St. John, USVI National Park and Virgin Islands Reef National Monument
- Benthic Habitats of Fish Bay, Coral Bay, and the St. Thomas East End Reserve in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Support Coral Reef Conservation
- Benthic Habitat Mapping in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping of Florida Coral Reef Ecosystems
- Benthic Habitat Mapping of Main Hawaiian Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping in American Samoa, Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping for Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands
- Benthic Habitat Mapping of the Republic of Palau
- Benthic Habitat Mapping of Palmyra Atoll