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Final Field Phase of Palau Benthic Habitat Mapping Project Complete

NCCOS conducted the final field phase of a project designed to provide resource managers and scientists in the Republic of Palau with digital maps and information about the Republic’s shallow-water habitat, for use in resource planning and management activities. During the field operations, February 5-23, 2006, scientists validated maps produced from satellite imagery by assessing habitat percentages by type from information gathered via underwater habitat camera surveys and visual observations. They also conducted training to transfer mapping technologies and protocols to local resource managers and coral reef and fish ecologists. In May, 2007, NCCOS will hold a workshop in Palau to enable experts to review the maps and provide input, then will produce a CD-ROM and website with the maps and data. This NOAA project is being conducted in partnership with the Palau International Coral Reef Institute, the University of Hawaii, and Analytical Labs of Hawaii, and supports NOAA’s commitment to meet the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force recommendation to map all U.S. and Freely Associated States shallow-water coral reef ecosystems.

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