Home > news > NCCOS Helps Update National Database of Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges

NCCOS Helps Update National Database of Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges

Published on: 08/27/2020
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology / Coral
Primary Contact(s): peter.etnoyer@noaa.gov

A partial view of the NOAA Deep-Sea Coral & Sponge Map Portal. Credit NOAA DSCRTP.

NOAA has released a report detailing the first major update of a deep-sea database since its online debut in 2015. The database is the most comprehensive, quality-assured, national-scale data portal for deep-sea corals and sponges available.

A thorny tinselfish swimming above a dense aggregation of deep-sea corals 1,627 feet deep on the West Florida Slope. Credit NOAA and Pelagic Research Services.

Hosting 740,000+ records of deep-sea corals and sponges world-wide, in datasets from 73 data providers, the database fulfills NOAA’s requirements under the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to identify and map locations of deep-sea corals, and to submit this information for use by regional fishery management councils. The database is an essential and trusted resource for ocean planning, resource management, and conservation activities for fishery management councils and other ocean resource agencies.

The effort was led by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program and the NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service National Centers of Environmental Information, working in collaboration with NCCOS’ Marine Spatial Ecology Division (MSE). MSE’s Biogeography branch is a major contributor to the database, and a primary user as well, employing these data to develop cutting edge habitat suitability models for deep-sea corals in nearly every coastal region of the USA.

Citation: McGuinn, Robert P., Thomas F. Hourigan, Scott L. Cross, L. Matthew Dornback, Peter J. Etnoyer, David E. Sallis and Heather M.Coleman. 2020. NOAA’s National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges: 2020 Status Update. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OHC-007, Silver Spring, MD. 56 pp.

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