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Projects

Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements to Support Hab...

We are monitoring the movement and residence time of fish in several coastal ecosystems. Our objectives are to document habitat preferences of fish, the timing and scales of their mobility, and ...

An Ecological Characterization of the Marine Resou...

We studied the coastal waters of Vieques, Puerto Rico, looking at fish and bottom-dwelling animals, contaminants in sediments and corals, and nutrient levels in surface waters. We also mapped the ...

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 ...

Assessment of Chemical Contaminants in Sediments f...

At the request of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the U.S. National Park Service, NCCOS conducted an assessment of chemical contaminants in the ...

Assessment of Hurricane Impacts to Coral Reefs in ...

In 2017, major hurricanes impacted coral reefs in both Florida and Puerto Rico. We quantified these impacts using diver-based surveys, and our information was used to guide targeted emergency stabilization ...

Baseline Assessment of Contaminants and Ecological...

We studied the water contaminant levels in the bay and the coral reef ecosystems just outside to develop a baseline environmental assessment of water quality and living marine resources of ...

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 ...

Baseline Environmental Assessment off St. John, U....

Watershed restoration projects are being conducted on St. John, USVI, to improve the health of coral reef ecosystems, create jobs, improve island infrastructure, and obtain a better understanding of the ...

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, ...

News

New Study Highlights Knowledge Clusters and Gaps o...

A restored reef off Kota Kinabalu, Borneo with a mix of concrete Reef Balls, an artificial reef structure, and a variety of out-planted natural corals. Credit: Curt Storlazzi (USGS). Shallow, ...

Study Identifies Potential Foraging Areas Used by ...

Adult leatherback turtle. Credit: NOAA. Scientists have identified locations likely used by leatherback turtles for feeding during their migration between nesting beaches in the Caribbean and food-rich waters off New ...

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 ...

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 ...

2023 Caribbean National Coral Reef Monitoring Prog...

NOAA Divers Kimberly Edwards and Sophie Cook conducts Benthic Assessment and Coral Demographic surveys for NCRMP. A team of NOAA divers supporting NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) recently ...

Marine Mammals off U.S. East Coast Highly Vulnerab...

Among the 108 stocks assessed, several stocks of the iconic common bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico were among the most highly vulnerable to climate change. Credit: Wayne Hoggard/NOAA ...

Study Finds Community Structure of Mesophotic Cora...

NCCOS-supported researchers documented that mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) at depths of 50 and 70 m in southwest Puerto Rico experienced significant interannual changes in community composition, demonstrating that caution should ...

Scientists Explore Mesoamerican Reef’s Deep-sea Co...

The scientists used the Idabel shore-based submersible to explore deepwater sites off Isla de Roatán, Honduras. Credit: Annick McIntosh. An NCCOS-led research team published the first detailed report of living ...

NOAA Completes Multi-year Study of Deep-sea Corals...

NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program completed its multi-year effort to explore and characterize deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems in U.S. waters of the South Atlantic, Gulf of ...

Marine Benthic Algae of Puerto Rico Part I Publish...

Credit Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, Number 114. Smithsonian Scholarly Press. A new taxonomic study, “The Marine Benthic Algal Flora of Puerto Rico Part I” published by the Smithsonian Institution is ...

Products

Maps, Tools & Applications

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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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 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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The Sampling Design Tool for ArcGIS randomly selects people, animals, objects, or places in a GIS environment to infer status or change. The tool was developed to create and implement a sampling design based on randomized sampling and test different sampling designs to see which is most precise and least costly.
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Data & Publications

2012 Data Summary for the First Island-wide Fish and Coral Assessment in Shallow (1-100') Hardbottom Habitats of St. Croix, USVI

A collaborative research effort between the NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s (CCMA) Biogeography Branch (BB) and the National Park Service South Florida and Caribbean Network (NPS-SFCN) has been inventorying and assessing ...

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 ...

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 ...

An assessment of nutrients, sedimentation, and total suspended solids (TSS) in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

This is the fifth report from a project to assess land-based sources of pollution (LSBPs) and their effects, and to characterize the biological community with the St. Thomas East End Reserves (Steer) in St. Thomas, USVI. Here we summarize the ...

An integrated environmental assessment of the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

The St. Thomas East End Reserves, or STEER, is a collection of Marine Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries (MRWS) located on the southeastern end of the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. With an area of approximately 9.6 km2 , ...

Benthic habitat and fish community assessment, La Parguera and Guanica, Puerto Rico, 2011-2012 (NODC Accession 0104343)

These data were collected in order to 1) To spatially characterize and monitor the distribution, abundance, and size of both reef fishes and macro-invertebrates (conch, lobster, Diadema); 2) To relate this information to in-situ data collected on associated benthic composition ...

Benthic habitat and fish community assessment, U.S. Virgin Islands, 2011-2012 (NODC Accession 0088018)

These data were collected 2011-2012 from select locations on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John (U.S. VI) in order to 1) to spatially characterize and monitor the distribution, abundance, and size of both reef fishes and macro-invertebrates (conch, lobster, ...

Benthic Habitat Maps for the Insular Shelf South of St. Thomas and St. John

The insular shelf south of St. Thomas and St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) is an expansive geomorphologic feature with extensive mesophotic coral reefs occurring at 30 to 150 meter depths. These mesophotic reefs are part of a ...

Benthic habitats of Fish Bay, Coral Bay and the St. Thomas East End Reserve

This report describes the development and assessment of shallow (0-40 m) benthic habitat maps for Fish Bay, Coral Bay and the St. Thomas East End Reserve (STEER) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The objective of this effort, conducted by NOAA's ...

Best Management Practices for Marine Cage Culture Operations in the U.S. Caribbean

These Best Management Practices will be useful to many stakeholders. Farm owners and operators can apply them to guide siting and farm management practices. Coastal managers and community planners can use this information to make environmentally responsible decisions about the ...

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