St. Croix, USVI Land-sea characterization of East End Marine Park to evaluate zones and support management plan review: 2011 fish community assessment

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Metadata:


Identification_Information:
Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator:
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
Publication_Date: 20111219
Title:
St. Croix, USVI Land-sea characterization of East End Marine Park to evaluate zones and support management plan review: 2011 fish community assessment
Publication_Information:
Publication_Place: Silver Spring, MD
Publisher:
NOAA's Ocean Service, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS)
Online_Linkage: <http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coralreef/reef_fish/>
Description:
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. In October 2010, the regular St. Croix survey area was extended eastward and southward to encompass a more extensive area of East End Marine Park. The purpose of this modification was to collect information on the distribution and diversity of marine communities across the zones in the southern half of EEMP where presently very little information is available. The survey techniques used are compatible with those used for the northern portion of EEMP and neighboring Buck Island Reef National Monument to facilitate comparative analyses. In water surveys collected data on federally listed Acropora species, Nassau grouper and other fauna of special concern (i.e. conch, sea urchins, lobster and the invasive lionfish).

Purpose:
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. 6) to conduct a baseline characterization of fish and benthic communities in the southern portion of EEMP.
Supplemental_Information:
This work is being conducted in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and the University of the Virgin Islands.
Time_Period_of_Content:
Time_Period_Information:
Range_of_Dates/Times:
Beginning_Date: 20101030
Ending_Date: 20111110
Currentness_Reference: Ground Condition
Status:
Progress: Complete
Maintenance_and_Update_Frequency: two times only
Spatial_Domain:
Bounding_Coordinates:
West_Bounding_Coordinate: -64.67
East_Bounding_Coordinate: -64.56
North_Bounding_Coordinate: 17.81
South_Bounding_Coordinate: 17.75
Keywords:
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: NOS Data Explorer Topic Category
Theme_Keyword: Environmental Monitoring
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: CoRIS Discovery Thesaurus
Theme_Keyword: Numeric Data Sets > Fish Census
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: CoRIS Theme Thesaurus
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Belt transect
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Monitoring
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Animal association
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Linear transect
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Plants > Seagrass > Monitoring
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Ecological Dynamics > Species richness
Theme_Keyword:
EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish assemblages
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish Census
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: ISO 19115 Topic Category
Theme_Keyword: biota
Theme_Keyword: 002
Theme_Keyword: environment
Theme_Keyword: 007
Theme_Keyword: oceans
Theme_Keyword: 014
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: None
Theme_Keyword: coral reef fishes
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus: CoRIS Place Thesaurus
Place_Keyword:
COUNTRY/TERRITORY > United States of America > U. S. Virgin Islands > St. Croix > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
Place_Keyword:
OCEAN BASIN > Atlantic Ocean > Caribbean Sea > Virgin Islands > Virgin Islands > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus: CoRIS Region
Place_Keyword: USVI
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: Chris Jeffrey (chris.jeffrey@noaa.gov).
Point_of_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Organization_Primary:
Contact_Organization: NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
Contact_Position:
Land-sea characterization of East End Marine Park to evaluate zones and support management plan review
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Address: 1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
City: Silver Spring
State_or_Province: MD
Postal_Code: 20910
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 301-713-3028
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: chris.jeffrey@noaa.gov
Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00
Data_Set_Credit:
This is a cooperative effort between NOAA's Biogeography Branch, the National Park Service, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and the University of the Virgin Islands.

Data_Quality_Information:
Logical_Consistency_Report: Not applicable
Completeness_Report:
This data consists of multiple fish community surveys across all nearshore marine habitats around St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Sites were randomly selected and stratified across by habitat types using NOAA's benthic habitat maps of St. Croix, USVI.
Lineage:
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
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) A small subset of sites were resampled during each mission through June 2002 in Puerto Rico and October 2002 in St. Croix. These station names contain the letter 'P' indicating they are permanent stations. 3) The sample area in St. Croix has increased over time. Initially, samples were collected within historic Buck Island National Monument boundaries as well as outside up to a distance of 0.5 km from those boundaries. In February 2002 the sampling effort was increased to include the entire expanded monument boundaries. Finally in April 2003 the effort was increased again to include areas outside of the Monument for control sites. This area is now almost entirely enclosed within the East End Marine Park of St. Croix. 4) The habitat map utilized to stratify the samples in St. Croix was changed from the original habitat map created with a 1 acre minimum mapping unit to one with a 100m2 minimum mapping unit beginning with the April 2003 mission. 5) The spring St. Croix mission was cancelled in 2007, therefore only one mission was conducted that year. 6) Beginning in 2010, missions to St. Croix were reduced from twice per year (March/April and October) to once per year (October only).

Process Date: 201112

Process_Date: Not Complete

Spatial_Reference_Information:
Horizontal_Coordinate_System_Definition:
Geographic:
Latitude_Resolution: 0.00001
Longitude_Resolution: 0.00001
Geographic_Coordinate_Units: Decimal Degrees

Entity_and_Attribute_Information:
Overview_Description:
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

Distribution_Information:
Distributor:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Organization_Primary:
Contact_Organization: NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
Contact_Position: Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Database Manager
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Address: 1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
City: Silver Spring
State_or_Province: MD
Postal_Code: 20910
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 301-713-3028
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: tom.mcgrath@noaa.gov
Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00
Resource_Description: Downloadable data
Distribution_Liability:
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.
Standard_Order_Process:
Digital_Form:
Digital_Transfer_Information:
Format_Name: tab delimited text file
Digital_Transfer_Option:
Online_Option:
Computer_Contact_Information:
Network_Address:
Network_Resource_Name: <http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/biogeo_public/query_fish.aspx>
Digital_Form:
Digital_Transfer_Information:
Format_Name: .jpg
Digital_Transfer_Option:
Online_Option:
Computer_Contact_Information:
Network_Address:
Network_Resource_Name: <http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/biogeo_public/reef_photos.aspx>
Fees: None

Metadata_Reference_Information:
Metadata_Date: 20121220
Metadata_Review_Date: 20120216
Metadata_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Organization_Primary:
Contact_Organization: NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
Contact_Position: Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Manager
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Address: 1305 East-West Hwy. (SSMC4, N/SCI-1)
City: Silver Spring
State_or_Province: MD
Postal_Code: 20910
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: 301-713-3028
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: chris.jeffrey@noaa.gov
Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00
Metadata_Standard_Name: Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata
Metadata_Standard_Version: FGDC-STD-001-1998

CoRIS:
CoRIS_ID: 20120216073853
CoRIS_Children: None
CoRIS_Beginning_Date: 20101030
CoRIS_Ending_Date: 20111110
CoRIS_Metadata_Link:
<http://www.coris.noaa.gov/metadata/records/html/stc_landsea_fish_metadata_1211.html>
CoRIS_Tracking_ID: 6464

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