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Projects

A Geospatial Assessment of U.S. Atlantic and Gulf ...

Offshore sand resources, e.g., sand shoals, are increasingly being used for beach renourishment, barrier island restoration, and other uses to enhance resiliency of shorelines. However, the impact of sand dredging ...

A Global Review of Protected Species Interactions ...

As marine aquaculture expands to the open ocean in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, there is increased concern about how protected species may be affected. We have summarized the ...

A Marine Biogeographic Assessment of the Northwest...

We conducted a biogeographic assessment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the second largest marine protected area in the world. The effort was the most comprehensive view of the area’s oceanography, ...

A Pilot Assessment of Fish Habitat in Choptank Riv...

Fish and shellfish populations depend on healthy habitats. To help understand and manage these habitats in the Chesapeake Bay, we will develop a GIS-based analytical framework that might be used ...

Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements to Support Hab...

We are monitoring the movement and residence time of fish in several coastal ecosystems. Our objectives are to document habitat preferences of fish, the timing and scales of their mobility, and ...

An Assessment of Chemical Contaminants in Sediment...

We studied the coastal waters of southwest Puerto Rico to find out what kind and how much pollution (chemical contaminants) are in sediments and corals (Porites astreoides) and how that ...

An Assessment of Fisheries Species to Inform Time-...

Environmental windows or moratoria are used by federal and state regulators in resource management to temporarily reduce adverse environmental impacts associated with coastal development. Seasonal restrictions on construction activities can ...

An Ecological Assessment to Support NOAA’s Choptan...

The Choptank watershed is an ecologically and economically valuable resource and designated Habitat Focus Area. We are collecting and synthesizing biological, chemical, and physical data to characterize the condition of ...

An Ecological Characterization of the Marine Resou...

We studied the coastal waters of Vieques, Puerto Rico, looking at fish and bottom-dwelling animals, contaminants in sediments and corals, and nutrient levels in surface waters. We also mapped the ...

News

New Study Highlights Knowledge Clusters and Gaps o...

A restored reef off Kota Kinabalu, Borneo with a mix of concrete Reef Balls, an artificial reef structure, and a variety of out-planted natural corals. Credit: Curt Storlazzi (USGS). Shallow, ...

Successful Survivorship of Mesophotic Corals at Ho...

Kassidy Lange (NCCOS) at sea on the R/V Point Sur with ROV Mohawk (UNCW), the ROV that collected the corals for the growth study. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ...

Oregon Offshore Wind Updates: Proposed Sale Notice...

On April 30, in another step by the Biden-Harris Administration to support the growing momentum across America for a renewable energy economy, the Department of the Interior announced a proposal ...

Explore An Interactive Storymap on Offshore Wind E...

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) wind energy spatial planning team, in conjunction with partners at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), has released the latest communication ...

Study Identifies Potential Foraging Areas Used by ...

Adult leatherback turtle. Credit: NOAA. Scientists have identified locations likely used by leatherback turtles for feeding during their migration between nesting beaches in the Caribbean and food-rich waters off New ...

Help Scientists Restore Gulf of Mexico Habitats wi...

Photo of deep-sea reef community in Gulf of Mexico, collected as part of the research team’s restoration activities, 2022. Credit: NOAA. Vital seafloor habitats in the mesophotic and deep benthic ...

Report Details Coral Mapping Priorities for Guam, ...

Shallow water provides habitat for branching corals (Acropora sp.) on a reef flat in Guam.Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Jonathan Brown. A new NOAA publication identifies areas around Guam and the Commonwealth of ...

New Study Provides Insights into Marine Bird Distr...

To inform the sustainable development of offshore wind energy on the United States' Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), a recent study sheds light on the spatial and temporal distributions of ...

NOAA Engages Alaskan Communities in Aquaculture Op...

Chris Schillaci handles a piece of Nereocystis (Bull kelp), a key mariculture species for Alaska’s growing aquaculture industry. In February and March 2024, NCCOS and NOAA Fisheries conducted a series ...

Products

Maps, Tools & Applications

BIOMappers let you interactively view data, aerial imagery, dive photography, underwater video and related publications developed for the benthic habitat mapping of many U.S. coral reefs. In addition to viewing benthic habitat data, you can examine the attributes of the data and show different thematic representations. Photos and videos taken during dive missions are linked to the location of the dives.
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North Carolina has some of the best conditions to support offshore wind energy in the Southeast U.S. Three wind energy areas (WEA) identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are being evaluated for potential commercial wind energy development: Wilmington-West and Wilmington-East near Cape Fear, and Kitty Hawk near the North Carolina-Virginia border.
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NCCOS produced a georeferenced, digital atlas of benthic habitat maps for the shallow-water (< 30m) coral ecosystem habitats around these U.S. Pacific Territories. The maps support a variety of management applications, including informing resource management decisions, ensuring safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.
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Benthic habitat maps for the Buck Island Reef National Monument, north of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands was developed. The bathymetry (depth) data we collected was used to update nautical charts in the area, and the related habitat maps we developed are being used by local managers to plan research projects and site-related infrastructure inside the monument, such as placing receivers for the acoustic tracking of fish and sea turtles.
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Deep-sea corals provide important habitats for many marine species, including commercial fish. This data will be used to target areas for deep-sea coral surveys and to develop a predictive model to identify where deep-sea corals are likely to occur. The information will help coastal managers conserve these fragile ecosystems.
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Benthic habitat maps were developed for shallow-water (< 40 meters) areas in and around Fish Bay, Coral Bay, and the St. Thomas East End Reserve in the U.S. Virgin Islands. These maps will help local managers and stakeholders develop place-based action strategies, providing road maps to address key threats to coral reefs in these areas. This effort marks the first time that high resolution depth imagery and digital maps describing over 85 percent of the seafloor are available to local managers.
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NOAA mapped the shallow-water (less than 25 meters deep) coral reef ecosystems of the Florida Keys to support research, conservation, and management activities of state and federal agencies, including the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program.
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In the Data Collection you will find data, maps, imagery and selected publications from the 2003 and 2007 phases of the Main Hawaiian Islands Benthic Habitat Mapping project.
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A benthic habitat map of coral reef ecosystems around Majuro, an atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands was developed. The maps were created from satellite images and depict coral reefs, seagrass, sand, reef flats, and other ecosystem features in the shallow waters of the atoll. Benthic maps are foundational tools for monitoring, conservation, development planning, stock assessments and other management actions.
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We developed benthic habitat maps for shallow (<30 meters) areas around the main islands of the Republic of Palau to help local managers and researchers develop reef fish management strategies, optimize biological monitoring sampling design, and develop place-based action strategies to address key issues and remedy specific threats to coral reefs. Project PageView Product

Data & Publications

2000 years of sustainable use of watersheds and coral reefs in Pacific Islands: A review for Palau

In Palau and everywhere in the world, coastal coral reefs are threatened by sedimentation resulting from land clearing in the watersheds. Palau's largest island of Babeldaob is particularly susceptible to significant erosion due to its steep topography, high rainfall, and ...

2012 Data Summary for the First Island-wide Fish and Coral Assessment in Shallow (1-100') Hardbottom Habitats of St. Croix, USVI

A collaborative research effort between the NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s (CCMA) Biogeography Branch (BB) and the National Park Service South Florida and Caribbean Network (NPS-SFCN) has been inventorying and assessing ...

2016 Hohonu Moana: Exploring the Deep Waters off Hawai‘i

New Frontiers in Ocean Exploration: The E/V Nautilus, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, and R/V Falkor 2016 Field Season is the seventh consecutive supplement on ocean exploration to accompany Oceanography. These booklets provide details about the innovative technologies deployed to investigate ...

2018: a shift in focus in deep-sea explorations

In 2017, the Campaign to Address Pacific Monument Science, Technology and Ocean Needs (CAPSTONE), completed its successful three-year effort to explore deep-sea habitats across the central and western Pacific Ocean. In 2018, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer will shift its geographic ...

A Benthic Terrain Classification Scheme for American Samoa

Coral reef ecosystems, the most varied on earth, continually face destruction from anthropogenic and natural threats. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force seeks to characterize and map priority coral reef ecosystems in the U.S./Trust Territories by 2009. Building upon NOAA ...

A biogeographic assessment of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: A review of boundary expansion concepts for NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program

This biogeographic assessment represents the continuation of an ongoing partnership between the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS). The purpose of this collaboration is to provide sanctuary managers with basic information on ...

A Biogeographic Assessment off North/Central California: In Support of the National Marine Sanctuaries of Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay. Phase II Environmental Setting and Update to Marine Birds and Mammals

This document is Phase II of a biogeographic assessment completed in 2004, described below. In the spring of 2001, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) launched a project to assess biogeographic patterns ...

A comparison of seafloor habitats and associated benthic fauna in areas open and closed to bottom trawling along the central California continental shelf

A number of studies have shown that mobile, bottom-contact fishing gear (such as otter trawls) can alter seafloor habitats and associated biota. Considerably less is known about the recovery of these resources following such disturbances, though this information is critical ...

A comprehensive investigation of mesophotic coral ecosystems in the Hawaiian Archipelago

Although the existence of coral-reef habitats at depths to 165 m in tropical regions has been known for decades, the richness, diversity, and ecological importance of mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) has only recently become widely acknowledged. During an interdisciplinary effort ...

A guide to monitoring reef fish in the National Park Service's South Florida/Caribbean Network

The goal of this guide is to provide the framework for park managers and researchers to create or enhance a reef fish monitoring program within areas monitored by the SFCN. The framework is expected to be applicable to other areas ...

General Pages

Aquaculture

NCCOS Aquaculture provides high quality science, guidance, and technical support to coastal managers to grow sustainable aquaculture while maintaining and improving ecosystem health.We work with local, state, and federal agencies ...

Biogeographic Assessments

Biogeographic assessments involve the compilation and integration of diverse types of data for the purpose of better understanding current and changing conditions in coastal and estuarine areas. Integration of these ...

Blue Economy Support

Ocean and coastal science empowers innovation and sustains growth of U.S. ocean industries. Exploring and understanding ocean neighborhoods, including the ocean floor, habitats, chemistry, and other uses, is critical to ...

Coastal and Marine Planning

Coastal and marine planning science analyzes and supports the allocation of the spatial and temporal distribution of human uses in coastal and marine areas to balance social-economic and ecological objectives ...

Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal (CAPP)

The Coastal Aquaculture Planning Portal (CAPP) is a toolbox of coastal planning tools designed to assist managers, planners, and industry with sustainable aquaculture development. This toolbox was developed in partnership ...

Coastal Aquaculture Siting and Sustainability

Developing spatial products and services to support aquaculture siting and coastal managementConducting research to understand the interactions between aquaculture and the surrounding environmentExploring how aquaculture can grow waterfront communities, improve ...

Conservation

NCCOS is a nationally recognized leader in conducting management-driven ecosystem science in the nation’s oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, including National Marine Sanctuaries, National Estuarine Research Reserves, and coastal National ...

Coral Ecosystem

NCCOS research helps shed light on corals and their understudied communities, restoration science, the ecological role they play, and their potential to help replenish degraded reef populations. NCCOS coral research ...

Deep-Sea Corals

Deep-sea corals, like their warm-water cousins, are actually colonies of small animals that build a common skeleton, which grows into many shapes and colors. Unlike tropical reefs, they live from ...

Environmental Interactions

NCCOS research helps us understand interactions between aquaculture and the environment to determine how aquaculture can grow waterfront communities, improve ecosystem health, and provide a sustainable seafood supply. As marine ...
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NOAA Internship Opportunities

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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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