The project benefits listed corals by providing a historic inventory of where these corals were found in the past to guide recovery planning efforts toward better defining critical habitat areas and priority sites for recovery. In addition, the project will benefit USVI and Puerto Rico management actions to restrict coastal development in areas identified as priorities for recovery, including restrictions on in-water construction and impacts such as sediment transport. The data will also provide useful for siting of monitoring activities and the establishment of regulatory or management initiatives.
Interviews - GEOS Environmental, Inc. conducted interviews with divers from dive shops around Puerto Rico and USVI. During the interviews, divers were asked to mark the approximate positions of reefs they frequented on printed. Interviewers recorded the coral species viewed at each location, as well as the approximate depth and coral condition. This information was then used to create a separate spreadsheet with data only from dive shop interviews.
Data Analysis - All of the coral species of interest identified during the literature search were entered in a searchable database by location in order to track the distribution of coral species based on available data. The database created by GEOS Environmental, Inc. was converted to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for use and distribution by NMFS. Two files were generated by GEOS Environmental, Inc. One contained all the literature review results in two worksheets: 1) MainMenu, with macros created by GEOS Environmental, Inc. to generate data tables based on location and/or coral species; and 2) ReportData, which contains the data compiled by GEOS Environmental, Inc. in the following columns: Region (location around each of the main islands), Location Name (Municipality or offshore island name for Puerto Rico, one of the three main islands for USVI), Reef Name, Reef or Colony Based (identifies whether reference targeted research on a reef or by coral colonies), Latitude DMS (degrees minutes seconds), Longitude DMS (degrees minutes seconds), LATD (latitude degrees), LATM (latitude minutes), LATS (latitude seconds), Latitude (calculated as decimal degrees from the degrees minutes seconds), LOND (longitude degrees), LONM (longitude minutes), LONS (longitude seconds), Longitude (calculated as decimal degrees from the degrees minutes seconds), Latitude DD (latitude in decimal degrees), Longitude DD (longitude in decimal degrees), LocDesc (notes with details on location description as well as any identified issues with location data from the reference), LocVer (identifies how the location data were verified using GPS in the field as noted in the reference, using Google Earth to map the approximate location based on maps in the reference, etc.), Boulder star coral (Montastraea annularis), Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata), Elliptical star coral (Dichocoenia stokesii), Lamarcks sheet coral (Agaricia lamarcki), Mountainous star coral (Montastraea faveolata), Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus), Rough cactus coral (Mycetophyllia ferox), Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis), Undifferentiated coral 1 (Montastraea species undifferentiated), Undifferentiated coral 2 (Agaricia species undifferentiated), Corals (7 species) (identifies which of the 7 species of corals undergoing a status review were identified in the reference), Listed Corals (identifies which of the 2 listed corals were identified in the reference), Depth (identifies the depth at which the studies were completed, if included in the reference), Total Coverage per Transect (identifies the total coverage of each of the 9 coral species present, if available in the reference), Total % Coral Coverage (identifies the total percent cover by corals in the study area, if available in the reference for comparison to the coverage by one or more of the 9 species of interest), Condition (includes notes from the reference regarding the health and condition of the corals, if available), Diseases (lists whether and from what diseases the corals are suffering, if available in the reference), Source Title (full title of the reference), Source Author, Source Year (year of publication), Source Location (where the reference was found when doing the literature search), Source Type (whether reference is in hard copy or electronic format and, if electronic, type of file), Source Obtained (indicates whether or not GEOS Environmental, Inc. were able to obtain a copy of the reference), Source Review (indicates whether source document was reviewed or not), Survey Type (survey method used to collect data), Survey Year (year study reported on in reference was conducted), Contract (whether work was done under NOAA contract for USVI or for Puerto Rico), Notes (additional notes from the reference). The other file contains data from the dive shop interviews. The fields in the worksheet are Dive Shop (identifying which dive shop provided the data), Municipality (where divers visit particular reefs), Location (name of the reef visited by divers), Species (identification of which of the 9 coral species have been observed at the reef), Observation (qualitative observations of the condition of the corals by the divers), LATD (latitude degrees), LATM (latitude minutes), LATS (latitude seconds), Latitude (in decimal degrees), LOND (longitude degrees), LONM (longitude minutes, LONS (longitude seconds), and Longitude. Note that divers identified approximate reef locations on hard copy maps during interviews and GEOS Environmental, Inc. used Google Earth to generate approximate locations for sites in Puerto Rico.