In October, NOAA scientists and partners collected seafloor photos and videos from over 355 locations around the St. Thomas East End Reserve, and in the Virgin Islands National Park and Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument. These new data will support management practices such as permitting, restoration, fisheries, climate change and scientific research; the depth measurements will refine nautical charts for the area.
Combining seafloor depth and images of seafloor composition, scientists will integrate the data they collected to create a new, high resolution map that details the distribution, quantity and type of seafloor habitats inside the reserve and parts of the park and national monument.
These habitat and depth measurements will also fill information gaps about the seafloor in priority areas identified by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, and support fisheries-related performance measures identified by the islands' representatives to the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force'sCoral Reef Mapping and Information Working Group.
The partnership included investigators from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the National Park Service, and The Nature Conservancy, using equipmentoperated by the U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA and Fugro LADS.