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Projects

A Study of Gambierdiscus ‘Super Bugs’ ...

Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is the most common algal-borne illness worldwide. It is a debilitating syndrome caused by consumption of fish contaminated with ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by the dinoflagellate Gambierdiscus ...
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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 ...
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Analysis of Marine Ecological Information Gaps in ...

We compiled and analyzed biological and ecological data to identify information voids in support of the National Park Service’s (NPS) management of marine resources within its jurisdiction. The biological and ...
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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 ...
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Assessing Coral Bleaching in Four U.S. Caribbean M...

In 2005, high sea temperatures caused coral bleaching in the Caribbean. The goals of this this project were to characterize the spatial extent of coral bleaching and recovery and to ...
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Assessing Societal Impacts of Harmful Macroalgae B...

We will examine how Sargassum seaweed blooms and their mitigation in the Caribbean affect multiple dimensions of social resilience, including economic impacts, human well-being, local ecological knowledge, and individual attitudes, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 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

New Publication Shows Distribution of Threatened C...

A new modeling study by NOAA scientists and others at University of the Virgin Islands and Louisiana State University predicts the distribution of Orbicella corals in shallow and mesophotic reef ...
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NCCOS Releases Priorities for U.S. Caribbean Seafl...

Results of the mapping prioritization effort are now published. Credit NOAA NCCOS. NCCOS scientists teamed with 15 participants from Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands local, federal, territory, and academic ...
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Coral Assessment and Restoration Results Released ...

In September 2017, major hurricanes Irma and Maria impacted Puerto Rico (PR) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) and caused considerable damage to shallow coral reefs. A newly released NOAA ...
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New Report Evaluates Health of U.S. Coral Reefs

Cover page of Coral Reef Condition: A Status Report for U.S. Coral Reefs. Credit NOAA. NCCOS scientists contributed to the newly released national status report on U.S. coral reefs. Drawing ...
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New Research Shows Potential Impacts of Climate Ch...

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata). Credit: Lee Richter, National Park Service. A new modeling study by NOAA scientists predicts the future geographic range and population structure of threatened elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) ...
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Study: Fish Biodiversity in a Caribbean Mangrove B...

A new NCCOS study finds biodiversity in a U.S. Virgin Islands mangrove bay is 30-50% lower than 25 years ago. With partners from the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and ...
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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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Highlights of the Southeast Deep Coral Initiative ...

Andrew Shuler (NCCOS) collects samples from the Mohawk ROV bio box during NF1901 as ROV operator, Eric Glidden, looks on. Credit NOAA NCCOS. The Southeast Deep Coral Initiative (SEDCI) completed ...
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Products

Maps, Tools & Applications

Benthic habitat maps for the Buck Island Reef National Monument, north of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands was developed. The bathymetry (depth) data we collected was used to update nautical charts in the area, and the related habitat maps we developed are being used by local managers to plan research projects and site-related infrastructure inside the monument, such as placing receivers for the acoustic tracking of fish and sea turtles.
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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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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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Since 2004, we have been conducting seafloor mapping of the U.S. Caribbean, to fill critical informational gaps to support improved management measures in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, targeting high priority sites identified by Jurisdictional managers. This project uses NOAA ship and aircraft to collect and provide detailed information from which we can produce maps of benthic habitats.
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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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This page provides access to NOAA aerial digital photos (1999 and older) from Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
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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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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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We gathered a time series of aerial photographs, mapped coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, and summarized previous ecological studies into a descriptive report for use by scientists and resource managers.
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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 ...
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A guide to monitoring reef fish in the National Park Service’s South Florida/Caribbean Network

The goal of this guide is to provide the framework for park managers and researchers to create or enhance a reef fish monitoring program within areas monitored by the SFCN. The framework is expected to be applicable to other areas ...
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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 assessment of chemical contaminants detected in passive water samplers deployed in the St. Thomas east end reserves (STEER)

This report is the second in a series from a project to assess land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and effects in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) in St. Thomas, USVI, and is the result of a collaborative effort ...
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An assessment of chemical contaminants, toxicity and benthic infauna in sediments from the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

This report contains a chemical and biological characterization of sediments from the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). The STEER Management Plan (published in 2011) identified chemical contaminants and habitat loss as high ...
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An assessment of contaminant body burdens in the coral (Porites astreoides) and Queen conch (Strombus gigas) from the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

As part of the joint effort between the US Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the NOAA Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science (NCCOS), to conduct a Reserves-wide impact assessment of land-based sources of pollution and effects ...
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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 ...
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An Assessment of Tributyltin and Metals in Sediment Cores From the St. Thomas East End Reserves

This is the sixth report in a series from a project to assess land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and their effects, and to characterize the biological community within the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) in St. Thomas, USVI. Here ...
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An ecological characterization of the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, U.S. Virgin Islands

The diverse ecosystem within [the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, U.S. Virgin Islands] includes a large mangrove forest, a submarine canyon, coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal forests, and many other natural and developed landscape elements. ...
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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 , ...
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