St. John, USVI fish assessment and monitoring data (2001 - Present): 2011 (NODC Accession 0088018)

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Frequently anticipated questions:


What does this data set describe?

Title:
St. John, USVI fish assessment and monitoring data (2001 - Present): 2011 (NODC Accession 0088018)
Abstract:
This fish and benthic composition database is the result of a multifaceted 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 associated benthic composition 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 Branch (BB) 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 BB work closely with the individuals responsible for recommending and implementing these management strategies. Recognizing this, BB 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 benthic composition information is then quantified following standardized protocols. By relating the data collected in the field back to the habitat maps and bathymetric models, BB 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 BB 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 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 Branch, 20111219, St. John, USVI fish assessment and monitoring data (2001 - Present): 2011 (NODC Accession 0088018): 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: -64.84
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -64.66
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 18.38
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 18.23

  3. What does it look like?

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

    Beginning_Date: Jul-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 abundance and size information of fish species 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/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch


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, the National Park Service, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources

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

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

    301-713-3028 (voice)
    kimberly.roberson@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-invertebrate (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: Not Complete (process 1 of 1)
    Once in the field, the boat captain navigates to previously selected sites using a handheld GPS unit. On-site, divers are deployed and maintain contact with each other throughout the entire census. One diver is responsible for collecting data on the fish communities utilizing the belt-transect visual census technique over an area of 100m2 (25m length X 4m width). The belt-transect diver obtains a random compass heading for the transect prior to entering the water and records the compass bearing (0-360o) on the data sheet. Visibility at each site must be sufficient to allow for identification of fish at a minimum of 2m away. Once reasonable visibility is ascertained, the diver attaches a tape measure to the substrate and allows it to roll out for 25m while they are collecting data.

    Although the habitat should not be altered in any manner by lifting or moving structure, the observer should record fish seen in holes, under ledges and in the water column. To identify, enumerate, or locate new individuals, divers may move off the centerline of the transect as long as they stay within the 4m transect width and do not look back along area already covered. The diver is allowed to look forward toward the end of the transect for the distance remaining (i.e. if the diver is at meter 15, he can look 10 meters distant, but if he is at meter 23, he can only look 2 meters ahead).

    On-site, no attempt to avoid structural features within a habitat such as a sand patch or an anchor should be made as these features affect fish communities and are "real" component of the habitats. The only two instances where the transect should deviate from the designated path is to stay above 110 ft (limitations imposed by diving) or while surveying mangrove habitats. In mangrove areas, the diver swims close to the prop roots and looks as far into the mangroves as possible; up to 2m and then out to the edge of the mangrove overhang such that the total area surveyed is still 100m2. In this case, some of the survey may necessarily fall on seagrass habitat. This is allowed as the mangrove habitat is defined as a transition zone habitat. The transect should take 15 minutes regardless of habitat type or number of animals present. This allows more mobile animals the opportunity to swim through the transect, and standardizes the samples collected to allow for comparisons.

    Data are 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.

    Data Caveats: Overtime, some changes were made to the stratified random site selection process as follows: 1) Habitat strata initially consisted of hard bottom, sand, and seagrass. Sand and seagrass strata were subsequently combined into one soft bottom strata at all three locations (Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and St. John). This action was taken after the February 2002 mission to Puerto Rico. 2) During the first mission to St. John samples were also stratified by depth (less than or equal to 40 ft or greater than 40 ft).

    Process Date: 200107 - Present

  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 all nearshore marine habitats around St. John, US Virgin Islands. Sites were randomly selected and stratified across by habitat types using NOAA's benthic habitat maps of St. John, 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/NOS/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 this data supply this information to the Program Manager: Kimberly Roberson (Kimberly.roberson@noaa.gov).

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

    NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
    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
Last Reviewed: 16-Feb-2012
Metadata author:
NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Manager
1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
Silver Spring, MD 20910
USA

301-713-3028 (voice)
kimberly.roberson@noaa.gov

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


Generated by mp version 2.9.13 on Wed Oct 1 10:47:23 2014