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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 ...
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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 ...
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Assessing the Ecological Function of Shipwrecks, A...

Increased calls for enhancing ocean habitats through artificial reefs and proposals for increasing offshore energy development require science to understand the impact and habitat value of these artificial structures on ...
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Assessment of Dredged Material Created Habitat in ...

Summary: We characterized the habitat formed by dredge material disposed in sites designated by the EPA offshore of Fernandina Beach, FL using SCUBA assessments, multibeam mapping, and hydroacoustic sampling of ...
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Baseline Assessment of Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico in...

We completed a baseline assessment of the environmental conditions in Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico, to help coastal managers identify the most appropriate restoration projects, and their effectiveness, in support of ...
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Benthic Habitat Characterization and Climate Chang...

Cordell Bank, Greater Farallones and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuaries harbor diverse communities of deep-water fish, corals and sponges. Corals and sponges associated with groundfish habitat face many threats, including ...
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Benthic Habitat Mapping for Buck Island Reef Natio...

Summary: We developed benthic habitat maps for the Buck Island Reef National Monument, north of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The bathymetry (depth) data we collected was used ...
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Benthic Habitat Mapping in American Samoa, Guam, a...

NCCOS produced a georeferenced, digital atlas of benthic habitat maps for the shallow-water (< 30m) coral ecosystem habitats around the U.S. Pacific Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and Commonwealth of ...
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Benthic Habitat Mapping in Puerto Rico and the U.S...

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. Before this project, ...
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News

Researchers Survey Living Shoreline at NCCOS Lab i...

A riprap-sill "living shoreline" on Pivers Island in Beaufort, North Carolina, home of the NCCOS Beaufort Lab and the Duke University Marine Lab. Credit: Carolyn Currin, NOAA NCCOS. NCCOS scientists, ...
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Living Shipwrecks 3D: Virtually Explore North Caro...

Scores of ships from the Civil War, World War I, post World War I, and World War II eras rest on the North Carolina seafloor. While these shipwrecks represent our ...
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Collaborative Analysis Helps Identify Mapping Prio...

A sanctuary archaeologist explores the wreck of the wooden steam barge Shamrock, lost in Thunder Bay in 1905. Credit: Jennifer Idol. NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and ...
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NOAA Study Finds Artificial Reefs Enhance Fish Com...

Structures, such as vessels, concrete pipes, and bridge pieces, are intentionally placed on the seafloor as artificial reefs. These artificial reefs can be effective tools for enhancing fish communities, but ...
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NOAA, BOEM Develop New Tool to Reduce Dredging Imp...

As part of a recently completed two-year study funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA's Office for Coastal Management ...
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NCCOS Science Supports Creation of New Maps for Al...

Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) contributed data to the Allen Coral Atlas project to support development of new, sea bottom maps for western Micronesia, as ...
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NOAA and USGS Release Follow-up Report on the Deve...

NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the RESTORE Council have released the second of seven reports ...
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Spatial Analysis Completed to Prioritize U.S. Cari...

NCCOS recently completed the spatial analysis that will guide the prioritization of future seafloor mapping, research, and exploration in the U.S. Caribbean. With input from regional stakeholders, the research team ...
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NCCOS Supports 20-year Plan to Restore Seven Coral...

In collaboration with state and local partners, NOAA has announced a bold strategy to restore and preserve seven coral reef sites in the Florida Keys, part of an unprecedented, decades-long ...
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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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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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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

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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Data & Publications

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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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An ecological characterization of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary region: Oceanographic, biogeographic, and contaminants assessment

This ecological characterization represents the continuation of an ongoing partnership between the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) and the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA). The purpose of this collaboration is to ...
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An evaluation of marine mammal surveys to support Washington State’s Marine Spatial Planning process

The objective of this report is to identify and evaluate existing datasets related to the distribution of marine mammals along the Northwest coast of the United States which can support Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) by the State of Washington. In ...
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An introduction to NOAA’s National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges

NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP) is compiling a national database of the locations of deep-sea corals and sponges, beginning in U.S. waters. The DSCRTP will make this information accessible to resource managers, the scientific community, and ...
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Application of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) to Deep-Sea Benthic Surveys in the Northeast Pacific: Lessons from Field Tests in 2015

The Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) is a comprehensive, standard terminology published in 2014. The standard is intended to unify habitat classification efforts, in order to allow for broader integration and comparison of data. The standard is well-developed, ...
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Assessment of dredged material created habitat in the South Atlantic Bight – Fernandina Beach Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site (ODMDS)

The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) collaborated with EPA Region 4 Water Protection Division of Coastal and Marine Resources and Wetland Enforcement Section to assess Ocean Dredge Material Dump Sites (ODMDS) as essential fish habitat off the coast ...
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Azooxanthellate? Most Hawaiian black corals contain Symbiodinium

The ecological success of shallow-water reef-building corals (Hexacorallia: Scleractinia) is framed by their intimate endosymbiosis with photosynthetic dinoflagellates in the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). In contrast, the closely related black corals (Hexacorallia: Anthipatharia) are described as azooxanthellate (lacking Symbiodinium), a trait ...
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General Pages

Marine Spatial Ecology

Marine Spatial EcologyEcological and Biogeographic AssessmentsStewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources is one of the primary purposes of the National Ocean Service, and NCCOS’s nationally-recognized ecological and biogeographic ...
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NOAA Internship Opportunities

(Science) Investigating animal presence throughout...

Intern will assist in data management and processing for several on-going sanctuary research projects, including acoustic telemetry downloads and identifications. Expected product may include some analyses of acoustic telemetry data, ...
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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov

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