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Projects

An Economic Analysis of Shipping Costs Related to ...

Through an analysis of shipping costs, we provided scientific guidance to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) and other agencies, regarding the economic effects of potential management measures that ...

Analysis of Marine Ecological Information Gaps in ...

We compiled and analyzed biological and ecological data to identify information voids in support of the National Park Service’s (NPS) management of marine resources within its jurisdiction. The biological and ...

Analysis of the Distribution and Abundance of Grou...

We developed maps of occurrence and relative abundance for selected groundfish off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, within the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME). Our project supports ...

Applied Ecophysiology of Marine Aquaculture Specie...

Forecasting environmental interactions of marine aquaculture activities requires an in-depth understanding of the environment and the species farmed. We are investigating two promising candidates for marine aquaculture: red porgy and ...

Aquaculture and Eutrophication in Long Island Soun...

Eutrophication is the overabundance of nutrients in a body of water that results in harmful algal blooms, fish kills, and in some cases ecosystem collapse. We are investigating the feasibility ...

Aquaculture Mapping Atlas and FARM Model

We are integrating two tools commonly used to plan for and site aquaculture: the Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) Model and the Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas. This improved tool will ...

Aquaculture Opportunity Areas for Federal Waters o...

The increasing demand for American-grown seafood and improved technology to farm in the open ocean provides incentive for aquaculture expansion. A recent step toward domestic aquaculture development was the Presidential ...

Aquaculture Spatial Planning in Florida: A Pilot S...

The increasing demand for American-grown seafood and improved technology to farm in the open ocean provides an opportunity for domestic aquaculture expansion, increased protein production, reduced social conflict, and lower ...

AquaSpace – An Ecosystem Approach to Making Space ...

Aquaculture is a large and growing segment of seafood production because capture fisheries production continues to decline. A major challenge to the expansion of marine aquaculture in most nations is ...

Are Marine Protected Areas Working in the U.S. Vir...

We used a decade of underwater monitoring data to evaluate the effectiveness of no-take and partial-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) located in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the context of ...

News

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 ...

BOEM Finalizes Wind Energy Area in the Gulf of Mai...

Map of final Gulf of Maine Wind Energy Area. Credit: NCCOS, BOEM On March 15, 2024, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the final Wind Energy Area (WEA) ...

Marine Benthic Algae of Puerto Rico Part II Publis...

Credit: Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, Number 117. Smithsonian Scholarly Press. Part II of the Marine Benthic Algal Flora of Puerto Rico has been published and is partly based on NCCOS-supported ...

Deepwater Horizon 2023 Gulf of Mexico Deep Sea Exp...

In 2010, more than 770 square miles of mesophotic and deep-sea habitats were injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the ...

Sea Sponges Reveal Larger Impact of Climate Change...

A researcher sampling a sclerosponge in St. Croix. Photo credit: Doug Kesling A newly published study used an unlikely source—sea sponges—to determine a more accurate baseline for pre-industrial global temperature ...

Spatial Modeling Helps BOEM Identify Optimal Areas...

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) partnered with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to produce a video describing the process of offshore wind energy development along ...

Findings Published from Second Coral Reef Socioeco...

Coral reef along the coast of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Credit: Kathleen Neeley. Since 2014, the NOAA National Coral Reef Monitoring Program socioeconomic team, which includes NCCOS researchers, has collected data ...

Modeling Identifies Locations for Elkhorn Coral Re...

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). Credit: NOAA. NCCOS scientists and partners published research that predicts which locations along the Florida reef tract would be most conducive to the survival of nursery-reared ...

Spatial Modeling Informs Designation of Final Wind...

Map of the final Wind Energy Areas offshore of the Oregon Coast. Credit: BOEM. In a significant step toward achieving the Biden-Harris administration's ambitious renewable energy goals, the Bureau of ...

Products

Maps, Tools & Applications

The first effort in this location, we mapped the waters surrounding Palmyra Atoll to help researchers develop reef fish management strategies, optimize biological monitoring sampling design, and evaluate natural and man-made changes over time (e.g., climate change, invasive species eradication, and lagoon causeway mitigation).
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We conducted benthic habitat mapping of shallow-water coral reef areas off Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to inventory the coral reefs and related bottom types. Such an inventory is needed for successful coral reef ecosystem management. This represents the first U.S. coral reef area to be mapped under the purview of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.
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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

Since 2004, we have been conducting seafloor mapping of the U.S. Caribbean, to fill critical informational gaps to support improved management measures in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, targeting high priority sites identified by Jurisdictional managers. This project uses NOAA ship and aircraft to collect and provide detailed information from which we can produce maps of benthic habitats.
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We mapped the shallow-water benthic habitats of two areas off southwest Puerto Rico. This effort improves on previous NOAA benthic habitat maps by using more recent imagery, a smaller minimum mapping unit, and a refined classification scheme. The new maps will support ongoing conservation and management efforts in the region, including restoration of Guánica Bay.
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We developed benthic habitat maps for shallow areas (< 30 m) around St. John and moderate-depth areas (30–60 m) south of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. These maps are helping local managers develop place-based strategies to address and remedy specific threats to coral reefs inside Virgin Islands National Park and the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. Project PageView Product

The online Benthic Habitat Viewer (BHV) database, developed and managed by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), provides easy access to a large database of underwater imagery characterizing coral reef organisms and habitats. The database holds over 9000 underwater seafloor images, taken during mapping missions from 2004-2006 in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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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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This Data Explorer Map contains ecological and socioeconomic datasets including management boundaries, human use activities, fish and oyster surveys, and benthic habitats in the NOAA Choptank Habitat Focus Area (HFA) Ecosystem Assessment. The tool allows managers, stakeholders and the general public to visualize data that assists with decision-making about management of the ecosystem in the Choptank watershed.
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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 with Digital Coast, a product of the NOAA National Ocean Service Office of Coastal Management.
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Data & Publications

A new encrusting deep-water coral reef alga, Peyssonnelia incomposita (Peyssonneliaceae, Rhodophyta), from Puerto Rico, Caribbean Sea

A new Peyssonnelia species is described from deep-water habitats in Puerto Rico as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands. Peyssonnelia incomposita is distinctive when living due its background orange coloration with highly contrasting bright yellow highlights. Internally the thallus is ...

A new species of Atergopedia (Copepoda: Harpacticoida: Novocriniidae) from a Caribbean mesophotic reef

Coordinated research efforts in mesophotic coral reefs are only a decade old, but have already produced exciting findings in ecology, physiology, geomorphology, population genetics, biodiversity, and taxonomy. In this taxonomic contribution, we describe both sexes of a new copepod species ...

A new species of Longipedia Claus, 1863 (Copepoda: Harpacticoida: Longipediidae) from Caribbean mesophotic reefs with remarks on the phylogenetic affinities of Polyarthra

Mesophotic coral reefs are largely unexplored nearshore habitats. We present illustrations of both sexes of a new copepod species of the family Longipediidae Sars, 1903 collected via scuba-diving with tri-mix rebreathers from mesophotic coral reefs in Puerto Rico as an ...

A pilot study to determine the movements of buoy line used in the crab pot fishery to assess bottlenose dolphin entanglement

A pilot study on the characteristics of crab pot buoy line movements to assess bottlenose dolphin entanglement was conducted from 19 September to 30 September 2005 in the Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina. The objectives of this study were to ...

A Pilot Survey of Deepwater Coral/Sponge Assemblages and their Susceptibility to Fishing/Harvest Impacts at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS): Cruise Report for NOAA Ship McARTHUR II Cruise AR-04-04 Leg 2

The offshore shelf and canyon habitats of the OCNMS (Fig. 1) are areas of high primary productivity and biodiversity that support extensive groundfish fisheries. Recent acoustic surveys conducted in these waters have indicated the presence of hard-bottom substrates believed to ...

A surveillance strategy for invasive species of concern in deepwater habitats of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

This document provides strategies to detect deepwater invasive species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) in support of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM). The strategies use technical diving to conduct visual surveys and focus on two invasive species of ...

Acoustic tracking of reef fishes to elucidate habitat utilization patterns and residence times inside and outside marine protected areas around the island of St. John, USVI

This technical memorandum describes a developing project under the direction of NOAA's Biogeography Branch in consultation with the National Park Service and US Geological Survey to understand and quantify spatial patterns and habitat affinities of reef fishes in the US ...

Advancing Coastal Science 2017-2021

Advancing Coastal Science lays out four priorities developed as a result of a lengthy stakeholder engagement process. These priorities will be our driving force over the next five years, and will guide NCCOS’s science and competitive research investments. NCCOS will ...

An Analysis of Chemical Contaminants in Sediments and Fish from Cocos Lagoon, Guam

As part of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) jurisdictional priority gathering, local agencies in Guam identified Cocos Lagoon as an area potentially impacted by land-based sources of pollution. The US Coast Guard operated a Long Range Navigation (LORAN) ...

An assessment of chemical contaminants detected in passive water samplers deployed in the St. Thomas east end reserves (STEER)

This report is the second in a series from a project to assess land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and effects in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) in St. Thomas, USVI, and is the result of a collaborative effort ...

General Pages

Habitat Mapping and Characterization

Maps that depict and characterize the physical features and arrangement of seafloor habitats are the foundation forcoastal management and decision-making. NCCOS habitat mapping provides cutting-edge spatial data and modelson seafloor ...

Image Analysis, Artificial Intelligence, and Deep Learning

NCCOS analyzes imagery to characterize underwater habitats, from the species and substrate level, to large-scale ecological community. Imagery may be collected from remote sensing platforms such as uncrewed systems payloads, ...

Mapping Coordination and Spatial Prioritization

Providing accurate geospatial map products to clients is one of NCCOS's principal objectives, but doing so requires having a thorough understanding of the target users' mapping requirements, and strong coordination ...

Mapping Data Visualizations and Online Tools

NCCOS specializes in developing multiple types of visualizations, ranging from static products to those that are interactive. Static products like maps, figures, or infographics synthesize information into discrete, understandable, and ...

Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems

Imagine a coral reef. Chances are you are thinking about those corals that live in the top 100 feet (30 m) of the ocean. In tropical and subtropical waters, light-dependent ...

NCCOS Monitoring and Assessments

Coastal and inland communities rely on NCCOS for an understanding of threats to their environmental resources. Our products and services help communities ensure the security of their water supplies, the ...

Offshore Wind Energy

The need for offshore wind energy in U.S. waters has expanded in recent years and is critical in mitigating climate change and growing the New Blue Economy. In support of ...

Predictive Habitat Modeling

Predictive habitat modeling is the process by which relationships are mathematically defined between habitats (e.g., sand with seagrass) and associated environmental or geographic variables (e.g., depth, slope, distance to the ...

Remote Sensing and Signal Processing

Maps showing the depth, shape, and texture of seabeds or lakebeds provide the first indicators of the geological types and biological composition of benthic habitats. NCCOS adopts NOAA and international ...

Shallow Water Corals

Coral reefs are living, three-dimensional, underwater structures that provide habitat to algae, fish, crustaceans, and other organisms. Reefs provide ecosystem services—or benefits to humans—including food and shoreline protection while supporting ...

NOAA Internship Opportunities

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