Featured Coral Publications

Below is a sampling of publications generated by NOAA's coral ecosystem activities. Visit the Featured Archive to see a past list of highlighted publications. To access a complete list of NOAA coral ecosystem related publications, use the CoRIS Geoportal ( search tool.

New Tool to Assist With Assessing Coral Reef Impacts and Mitigation

Project applicants, proponents, permittees working in marine areas that support coral reefs and coral reef and coastal resource managers and regulators now have a new tool to assist them in understanding and avoiding and minimizing impacts to coral reefs and identifying potential options to compensate for unavoidable coral reef impacts. The Handbook on Coral Reef Impacts: Avoidance, Minimization, Compensatory Mitigation and Restoration is a product of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Coral Injury and Mitigation Working Group.

Adaptation Design Tool: Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning

The Adaptation Design Tool of the Corals & Climate Adaptation Planning (CCAP) project was created to help coral reef managers incorporate climate-smart design into their programs and projects at any stage of planning and implementation. The Adaptation Design Tool can be used to incorporate climate change adaptation into management plans using existing planned actions as a starting point, and also to guide development of additional climate-smart strategies as needed.

An Integrated Environmental Assessment of the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER)

This report represents the culmination of three years of research by NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA) and local partners, in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER) in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). The purpose of this work was to provide local resource managers with a spatially comprehensive characterization of stressors including chemical contaminants, nutrients, and sedimentation along with their effects, and a biological survey of the entire STEER.

Field Identification Guide to the Threatened Corals of the U.S. Pacific Islands

In September, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed 15 Indo-Pacific coral species as "threatened" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Many Indo-Pacific corals are quite difficult to identify to species, but identification is necessary for implementation of the listings. This guide is intended to help with identification of colonies of these species living on the coral reefs of U.S. Pacific areas, namely American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, and the U.S Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA).

Relative resilience potential and bleaching severity in the West Hawaii Habitat Focus Area in 2015

This report presents results from resilience and bleaching surveys conducted at two different depths along priority areas of South Kohala and North Kona in October of 2015. These surveys were conducted as a collaborative effort with the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), The Nature Conservancy, SymbioSeas, NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program, and community organizations.

Coral Reef Conservation Program Social Science Strategy: 2016-2021

The Coral Reef Conservation Program's (CRCP) Social Science Strategy provides new recommendations that address social science research needs to support coral reef conservation and management. This updated social science strategy presents recommendations and new priorities that will guide social science activities supported by the CRCP and its key partners (domestic and international) for the next five years.

This document is organized into three sections. It first addresses National level priorities for climate, fishing impacts, and land-based pollution impacts. Secondly, it presents U.S. state and territorial jurisdictional social science needs. Finally, it reviews recent international CRCP social science activities, and provides guidance for future work with CRCP's international partners by using the (currently under review) CRCP International Strategy (2009) as a guide.

Shade grown coffee certification system for Puerto Rico: 2015 Progress Report

The Shade Coffee Roundtable was created with the purpose to develop criteria for shade coffee certification for Puerto Rico; identify incentives for motivating coffee producers to continue to use historical agricultural practices that are sustainable and environmentally friendly; help create economic niches for the coffee produced in the shade that can be marketed separately and that results in greater profits for producers.

Honokōwai Water Quality Management Plan

This report characterizes the pollutant loading and restoration potential for the 46.4-acre study area of the Honokōwai Beach Park (HBP), which was identified in the Wahikuli-Honokōwai Watershed Management Plan (WHWMP) as a location for a stormwater improvement project. This study evaluates the Honokowai drainage area in order to develop a more detailed water quality improvement plan, focusing on stormwater impacts (i.e., not wastewater, groundwater, etc.). This effort included additional field investigations, site topographic survey, mapping of the drainage network (e.g., catch basins, pipes, manholes), and the identification of numerous structural and non-structural stormwater restoration alternatives on public and private property.

Deep Sea Research and Technology Program 2016 Report to Congress

This report describes the 2014 and 2015 research activities partially or fully funded by the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program to meet NOAA's mandate to identify, study, and monitor deep-sea coral areas. The report is supplemented by details of these activities available at The report also briefly describes progress during this period in Magnuson- Stevens Act-related management actions that contribute to protecting deep-sea coral areas.