NCCOS St. Croix, USVI Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) and Monitoring Data (2001 - Present)

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Frequently anticipated questions:


What does this data set describe?

Title:
NCCOS St. Croix, USVI Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) and Monitoring Data (2001 - Present)
Abstract:
This metadata record refers to habitat assessment data collected as part of a larger effort described below. The intent of this work is five fold: 1) To spatially characterize and monitor the distribution, abundance, and size of both reef fishes and macro-invertebrates (conch, lobster, Diadema); 2) To relate this information to in-situ data collected on water quality and associated habitat parameters; 3) To use this information to establish the knowledge base necessary for enacting management decisions in a spatial setting; 4) To establish the efficacy of those management decisions; and 5) To work with the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program to develop data collection standards and easily implemented methodologies for transference to other agencies and to work toward standardizing data collection throughout the US states and territories. Toward this end, the Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Team (BT) has been conducting research in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands since 2000 and 2001, respectively. It is critical, with recent changes in management at both locations (e.g. implementation of MPAs) as well as proposed changes (e.g. zoning to manage multiple human uses) that action is taken now to accurately describe and characterize the fish/macro-invertebrate populations in these areas. It is also important that BT work closely with the individuals responsible for recommending and implementing these management strategies. Recognizing this, BT has been collaborating with partners at the University of Puerto Rico, National Park Service, US Geological Survey and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources. To quantify patterns of spatial distribution and make meaningful interpretations, we must first have knowledge of the underlying variables determining species distribution. The basis for this work therefore, is the nearshore benthic habitats maps (less than 100 ft depth) created by NOAA's Biogeography Program in 2001 and NOS' bathymetry models. Using ArcView GIS software, the digitized habitat maps are stratified to select sampling stations. Sites are randomly selected within these strata to ensure coverage of the entire study region and not just a particular reef or seagrass area. At each site, fish, macro-invertebrates, and associated water quality and habitat information is then quantified following standardized protocols. By relating the data collected in the field back to the habitat maps and bathymetric models, BT is able to model and map species level and community level information. These protocols are standardized throughout the US Caribbean to enable quantification and comparison of reef fish abundance and distribution trends between locations. Armed with the knowledge of where "hot spots" of species richness and diversity are likely to occur in the seascape, the BT is in a unique position to answer questions about the efficacy of marine zoning strategies (e.g. placement of no fishing, anchoring, or snorkeling locations), and what locations are most suitable for establishing MPAs. Knowledge of the current status of fish/macro-invertebrate communities coupled with longer term monitoring will enable evaluation of management efficacy, thus it is essential to future management actions.
Supplemental_Information:
This work is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, National Park Service, US Geological Survey, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
  1. How should this data set be cited?

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)/National Ocean Service (NOS)/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)/Center for Coastal Ocean Science (CCMA)/Biogeography Team, 200402, NCCOS St. Croix, USVI Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) and Monitoring Data (2001 - Present): NOAA's Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Silver Spring, MD.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?

    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -64.67
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -64.56
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 17.81
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 17.75

  3. What does it look like?

  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?

    Beginning_Date: Feb-2001
    Ending_Date: present
    Currentness_Reference: Ground Condition

  5. What is the general form of this data set?

  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?

    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?

    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?

      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.

  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?

    Entity_and_Attribute_Overview:
    We supply percent cover, relative abundance, size, and composition of benthic communities at the lowest possible taxonomic level. This information is collected across all nearshore habitat types. In addition, we provide photographs of many of the taxa. For specific information please see the data dictionary available on the database website.
    Entity_and_Attribute_Detail_Citation: NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Team


Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)

  2. Who also contributed to the data set?

    This is a cooperative effort between NOAA's Biogeography Team and the University of Puerto Rico

  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?

    NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Team
    Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Project Manager
    1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    USA

    301-713-3028 (voice)
    chris.caldow@noaa.gov

    Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00


Why was the data set created?

1) To spatially characterize and monitor the distribution, abundance, and size of both reef fishes and macro-invertebrates (conch, lobster, Diadema); 2) To relate this information to in-situ data collected on water quality and associated habitat parameters; 3) To use this information to establish the knowledge base necessary for enacting management decisions in a spatial setting; 4) To establish the efficacy of those management decisions; and 5) To work with the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program to develop data collection standards and easily implemented methodologies for transference to other agencies and to work toward standardizing data collection throughout the US states and territories.


How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?

  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?

    Date: Jul-2001 (process 1 of 1)
    Rapid Habitat Assessment (RHA) - This habitat survey is modified from a detailed (microscale) habitat assessment used to characterize nearshore habitats and was utilized to characterize areas of St. Croix, USVI north and west of Buck Island in Buck Island Reef National Monument (BUIS). The RHA survey has the advantage of reducing dive time at greater depths (i.e., sites below 80 ft). Site selection began by using NOAA's nearshore benthic habitat maps with monument boundaries. ArcGIS was then employed to randomly select sites within the hardbottom strata and depths between 80 -105 ft inside BUIS. Using a handheld GPS unit, the boat captain navigates to the previously selected sites. Once on site, two divers are deployed, a fish transect diver and a fish point-count/habitat diver. The habitat measurements are collected by the point-count diver for the area within his/her cylinder and those measurements are assumed representative of the habitat along the transect. The following information is recorded: 1) Dive logistics - name of the diver, station ID, date, and the start time of the survey. 2) Habitat structure - the dive site is categorized based on the hierarchical classifaction used to produce the benthic habitat maps. 3) Depth - minimum and maximum depth of the survey area, to provide an estimate of bottom slope. 4) Rugosity (low, medium, or high) - based on the height of the tallest hardbottom structure. 5) Abiotic footprint - an estimate of percent cover (within 5 percent) of hardbottom, sand, and rubble in the 15-m cylinder. The sum of percent cover in the abiotic footprint must total 100 percent. 6) Biotic footprint - an estimate of the percent cover (within 5 percent) of live coral, gorgonians, sponges, macro algae, and uncolonized substrate in the 15-m cylinder. The sum of percent cover (including uncolonized substrate) in the biotic footprint must total 100 percent. 7) Photography - photos to maintain an anecdotal and permanent visual description of the sites that were sampled.

  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?


How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?

  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?

  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?

  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?

    This data consists of multiple fish community surveys across hardbottom nearshore marine habitats around St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Sites were randomly selected and stratified by habitat types using NOAA's benthic habitat maps of St. Croix, USVI.

  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?

    Not applicable


How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?

Access_Constraints: None
Use_Constraints:
Please reference NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Team when utilizing this 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 this data supply this information to the Program Manager: Chris Caldow (email: chris.caldow@noaa.gov).

  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)

    NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Team
    Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Database Manager
    1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    USA

    301-713-3028 (voice)
    tom.mcgrath@noaa.gov

    Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?

    Downloadable data

  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?

    These data were prepared by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. Any views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Although all data have been used by NOAA, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA as to the accuracy of the data and/or related materials. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by NOAA in the use of these data or related materials.

  4. How can I download or order the data?


Who wrote the metadata?

Dates:
Last modified: 20-Dec-2012
Metadata author:
NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Team
Tropical Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Project Manager
1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
USA

301-713-3028 (voice)
chris.caldow@noaa.gov

Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00
Metadata standard:
FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)


Generated by mp version 2.9.13 on Sun Apr 20 10:40:35 2014