National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)/National Ocean Service (NOS)/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)/Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA)/Biogeography Branch, 201306, Baseline assessment of fish and benthic communities of the Flower Garden Banks (NODC Accession 0104344): NOAA's Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Silver Spring, MD.
Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 0.00001. Longitudes are given to the nearest 0.00001. Latitude and longitude values are specified in Decimal degrees.
This is a cooperative effort between NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA Biogeography Branch, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Program and Texas A&M Galveston
1) To design an appropriate sampling and monitoring strategies for fish and benthic community sampling, as well as data collection, during the first year funding, 2) during subsequent years, focus on refinement of the sampling strategies and continuing to build on the baseline dataset, 3) groundtruthing and collection of underwater imagery and video to improve existing map products, 4) the banks begin at 150m depth and reach to within 17m of the water's surface, therefore multiple survey techniques will need to be employed using a random stratified sampling design. An ROV will be utilized to survey the deeper water communities, a combination of divers and technical divers will survey the banks down to ~50m, and ship-based hydroacoustics will be utilized to survey fish densities over the entire depth range; and 5) to analyze the information gathered to help guide sanctuary resource management decisions.
Data were collected on the following:
1) Logistic information - diver name, dive buddy, date, time of survey, site code, transect bearing.
2) Taxa presence - as the tape roles out at a relatively constant speed, the diver records all fish species to the lowest taxonomic level possible that come within 2m of either side of the transect. To decrease the total time spent writing, four letter codes are used that consist of the first two letters of the genus name followed by the first two letters of the species name. In the rare case that two species have the same four-letter code, alternate four-letter codes are used to distinguish between the species. These alternate codes contain the first two letters of the genus, the first letter of the species and then the first letter in the species name that differs from the other code. If the fish can only be identified to the family or genus level then this is all that is recorded. If the fish cannot be identified to the family level then no entry is necessary.
3) Abundance & size - the number of individuals per species is tallied in 5cm size class increments up to 35cm using visual estimation of fork length. If an individual is greater than 35cm, then an estimate of the actual fork length is recorded.
4) Photos - individuals too difficult to identify or unique in some manner may be photographed for later clarification.
These data consist of multiple fish community surveys across all diveable portions of the coral caps within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). Sites were randomly selected within strata (East and West Bank, low and high relief coral and depth).
Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
- Access_Constraints: None
- Please reference NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch when utilizing these data in a report or peer reviewed publication. Additionally, knowledge of how this dataset has been of use and which organizations are utilizing it is of great benefit for ensuring this information continues to meet the needs of the management and research communities. Therefore, it is requested but not mandatory, that any user of these data supply this information to the Principle Investigator: Randy Clark (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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