CREWS/Bahamas deployment

Jim Hendee hendee at
Tue May 29 10:14:33 EDT 2001


    It is our great pleasure to announce that the first CREWS (Coral Reef
Early Warning System) station has been installed near Rainbow Gardens
Reef, just north of the Caribbean Marine Research Center (CMRC, on Lee
Stocking Island, Bahamas), with funding (via NOAA/NOS and NOAA/NMFS) for
NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program (NOAA/OAR and NOAA/NESDIS collaborative).  
The station was cooperatively deployed by NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic
and Meteorological Laboratory, CMRC (a NOAA/National Undersea Research
Program affiliate), the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO), the
University of South Florida (Dep. Marine Science), and Captain Skeet Perry
of Miami, Florida.  This station is the first of many to be deployed in
the years to come, and is patterned after the SEAKEYS network of the
Florida Keys, originally developed and currently maintained by FIO.  The
CREWS network of stations is being developed in response to the U.S. Coral
Reef Task Force Monitoring Group's recommendation and goal to monitor all
major U.S. coral reefs by 2007.  Other coral reef areas will be monitored
by CREWS stations wherever possible.

    The station is currently monitoring wind speed, wind direction, air
temperature, barometric pressure, sea temperature, salinity,
photosynthetically active radiation (PAR, above and 1 m below water), and
ultraviolet-B (UV-B, above and 1 m below water).  The data are collected
at six minute intervals, averaged, and sent on the hour, every hour, via
a GOES satellite to a processing workstation, then posted on the Web
(see, then click on "Hourly
raw data report" near the bottom).  These data are provisional at this
time, due to some inevitable debugging, calibration and instrumentation
problems for this very recent deployment. Further information will be
posted at the Web site in the near future.

    This initial station has several purposes.  First, it will model
conditions thought to be conducive to coral bleaching, utilizing uniquely
developed marine environmental monitoring software (for further
explanation, see  It will
also serve as a sea temperature ground-truthing station for the
NOAA/NESDIS HotSpot algorithms.  Additionally, it will serve as a
"test-bed" station for the development and eventual deployment of other
oceanographic instruments useful in monitoring coral reef ecosystem
dynamics (e.g., carbon dioxide, transmissometry and fluorometry).
Finally, through its continuous monitoring of a pristine coral reef
environment, it will serve as a physical environmental information
infrastructure for current and future coral reef studies at Rainbow
Gardens Reef (see

    The first coral bleaching conditions to be monitored and modeled
will be high sea temperature alone vs. high sea temperature plus light
(UV-B, PAR).  This experiment will be conducted in cooperation with
Michael Lesser of the University of New Hampshire, Ray Berkelmans of the
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of
Marine Science, Peter Glynn of the University of Miami, and other coral
reef scientists.

For further information, please see these Web links:

NOAA's Coral Reef Watch Program

Caribbean Marine Research Center

CMRC Study Sites



    Jim Hendee (jim.hendee at
    Coral Health and Monitoring Program

    John Marr (jmarr at, Director
    Caribbean Marine Research Center

    Al Strong (alan.e.strong at
    Office of Research and Applications

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