NOAA project: Benthic habitat mapping & assoc. reef fish utilization

Gill_Tracy tracy.gill at
Wed Jun 14 07:51:50 EDT 2000

  NOAA Coral Reef Initiative: Mapping Reef Fish Utilization of Benthic
Habitats off
  Southwest Puerto Rico and St John, USVI

   Mark Monaco, Matt Kendall and John Christensen of the NOAA/CCMA
Biogeography Team and John
   Burke, Craig Bonn and Mark Fonseca of NOAA/CMER just completed a
two-week survey of fish habitat
   utilization off southwest Puerto Rico. Visual census counts by divers
and netting were used to
   define patterns in fish habitat utilization, and underwater video and
GPS were used to document
   areas of habitat.  The survey work complements the development of
CCMA's  benthic habitat maps
   via expert interpretation of aerial photographs.  This work is part
of a larger study that began in
   1999 and includes developing regional benthic habitat classification
guides, maps of benthic habitat
   and species distributions,  and determining the strength of spatial
correlation between species and
   habitat types. This work will be used to determine if there is
significant essential fish habitat (EFH)
   as defined by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council  to consider
these areas for designation as
   Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Similar work will be conducted by
Biogeography Program staff
   off St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands during the June 17-July 1 time
period. For more information
   contact Dr. Mark Monaco (301-713-3028, ext. 160 or
Mark.Monaco at
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