Projects Explorer

The NCCOS Project Explorer provides a snapshot of our official, discrete lines of research. Filter by research category, region or contact.

A Baseline Chemical Contaminants Study of Marine Sediments in Nu’uuli Pala Lagoon, American Samoa

We are assessing the scope and extent of land-based sources of chemical contaminants in the marine sediments of Nu’uuli Pala Lagoon in American Samoa. Currently, there are no contaminant data for the lagoon, and there are only limited data for one of the streams that empties into the lagoon. We ...
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A Chemical Contaminant Characterization of Waters Surrounding Cocos Island, Guam, using Polyethylene Devices

We are assessing the scope and extent of land-based sources of chemical contaminants in the marine waters surrounding Cocos Island, Guam. Previous NCCOS studies identified a gap in polychlorinated biphenyls data, which this project will fill to better inform management decisions about the island and its marine waters. NOAA’s Coral ...
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A Management Tool to Reduce Sea Turtle Bycatch in the US Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico Fisheries

Along with our partners, we developed a geographic information system (GIS) tool to help coastal managers work toward reducing the bycatch of sea turtles in U.S. fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The system factors in sea turtle distribution, commercial fishing activity, observed takes (bycatch) of sea ...
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A Marine Biogeographic Assessment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

We conducted a biogeographic assessment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the second largest marine protected area in the world. The effort was the most comprehensive view of the area’s oceanography, seafloor habitats, and the presence, distribution, and connectivity of the area’s marine resources. It was used to support protection measures ...
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Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements in Two Coral Reef Ecosystems in the U.S. Virgin Islands

We are monitoring the movement and residence time of reef fish among habitats in two underwater parks under different management strategies in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our objectives are to document the condition of the fish and their habitat preferences and establish how the habitats are linked through fish movements ...
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Aggression is a Symptom of Domoic Acid Poisoning in California Sea Lions

To gain a better understanding of symptoms experienced by California sea lions caused by the toxin domoic acid, we are studying the relationship between aggression and seizure behavior in laboratory rats exposed to domoic acid. Our results have shown increased aggression can be a symptom of domoic acid poisoning whether ...
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An Assessment of Chemical Contaminants in Sediment and Corals in Southwest Puerto Rico

We studied the coastal waters of southwest Puerto Rico to find out what kind and how much pollution (chemical contaminants) are in sediments and corals (Porites astreoides) and how that pollution affects the health of the coral reef. For the most part, concentrations of the pollutants analyzed were similar to ...
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An Early Warning System for Pseudo-nitzschia Harmful Algal Blooms on Pacific Northwest Outer-Coast Beaches

Blooms of some species of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia produce a neurotoxin that accumulates in shellfish, which can cause illness and even death in humans who eat them. Shellfish managers monitor these toxins and close affected fisheries to protect public health, but these sudden closures can disrupt coastal economies. Using predictive ...
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An Ecological Assessment to Support NOAA’s Choptank Complex Habitat Focus Area – Phase I

We synthesized biological, chemical, and physical data from six watersheds in the Chesapeake Bay to assess impacts of land use on aquatic ecosystem health. The findings from this study are being used to inform the sampling design for an ecological assessment of NOAA’s Choptank Complex Habitat Focus (HFA) Area. We ...
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An Ecological Assessment to Support NOAA’s Choptank Complex Habitat Focus Area – Phase II

The Choptank watershed is an ecologically and economically valuable resource and designated Habitat Focus Area. We are collecting and synthesizing biological, chemical, and physical data to characterize the condition of the watershed and identify land use impacts on the environment. This project provides baseline information to assess management actions to ...
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An Ecological Characterization of the Marine Resources of Vieques, Puerto Rico

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 ocean floor surrounding the island. We confirmed the area was safe for the residents to return by determining that the ...
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An Economic Analysis of Shipping Costs Related to Potential Measures to Manage the Co-Occurrence of Maritime Vessel Traffic and Whales in the Channel Islands Region

Through an analysis of shipping costs, we provided scientific guidance to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) and other agencies, regarding the economic effects of potential management measures that balance commerce, conservation, and recreational uses within the Sanctuary. Why We Care The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) encompasses 1,110 square ...
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Analysis of Marine Ecological Information Gaps in National Parks

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 ecological information included fish surveys, sea floor habitat maps, water quality monitoring, and coastal development tracking. The database also identified ...
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Analysis of the Distribution and Abundance of Groundfishes to Support the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment

We developed maps of occurrence and relative abundance for selected groundfish off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, within the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME). Our project supports NOAA’s Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) of this area. We analyzed fish distribution and abundance information, to improve our understanding of ...
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Applied Ecophysiology of Marine Aquaculture Species to Understand Environmental Interactions

Forecasting environmental interactions of marine aquaculture activities requires an in-depth understanding of the environment and the species farmed. We are investigating two promising candidates for marine aquaculture: red porgy and vermilion snapper. Like many fish within the Snapper–Grouper Complex of the South Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, these two ...
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Aquaculture and Eutrophication in Long Island Sound and Great Bay – Piscataqua Estuary

Eutrophication is the overabundance of nutrients in a body of water that results in harmful algal blooms, fish kills, and in some cases ecosystem collapse. We are investigating the feasibility of using shellfish to filter out excessive nutrients in the Piscataqua estuary. Using models, field data, and input from stakeholders, ...
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Aquaculture Mapping Atlas and FARM Model

We are integrating two tools commonly used to plan for and site aquaculture: the Farm Aquaculture Resource Management (FARM) Model and the Connecticut Aquaculture Mapping Atlas. This improved tool will help identify the places where aquaculture is compatible with other human uses and where adverse effects on wild species, habitat, ...
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AquaSpace – An Ecosystem Approach to Making Space for Sustainable Aquaculture

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 siting and subsequent expansion of aquaculture operations. We are developing tools to address spatial planning issues relating to aquaculture in ...
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Are Marine Protected Areas Working in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

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 US Virgin Islands in the context of differing levels of enforcement and compliance. Results will provide managers with a status report that can guide management actions and ...
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Assessing Biogeography, Conditions, and Marine Protected Area Efficacy in the Dry Tortugas

In 2001, state and federal agencies established the Tortugas Ecological Reserve to protect extensive unspoiled shallow-water coral reefs that support a wide variety of marine life off the Florida Keys. The objectives of our project were to assess: the seafloor habitat and reef fishes of the reserve, the effectiveness of ...
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Assessing Coral Bleaching in Four U.S. Caribbean Managed Areas

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 monitor the effects of bleaching on coral reef ecosystems in four managed areas of the Caribbean. Why We Care Coral ...
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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources, in direct support of NOS priorities, offices, and customers, and to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
1305 East West Highway, Rm 8110
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (240) 533-0300 / Fax: (301) 713-4353
Email: nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov