Baseline assessment of fish and benthic communities of the Flower Garden Banks (2010 - present) using remotely operated vehicle (ROV) survey methods: 2011

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Frequently anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

Baseline assessment of fish and benthic communities of the Flower Garden Banks (2010 - present) using remotely operated vehicle (ROV) survey methods: 2011
The proposed work develop baseline information on fish and benthic communities within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). Surveys will employ diving, technical diving, ROV, and hydroacoustics technologies for a comprehensive assessment of the fish and benthic habitat communities of the East and West Bank. The FGBNMS represents the northernmost tropical western Atlantic coral reef on the continental shelf and support the most highly developed offshore hard bank community in the region. The complexity of habitats supports a diverse assemblage of organisms including approximately 250 species of fish, 23 species of coral, and 80 species of algae in addition to large sponge communities. Understanding and monitoring these resources is critical to both sanctuary inventory and management activities. During the course of the sanctuary's management plan review process, the impact of fishing was identified as a priority issue, and the concept of a research only area was suggested. The purpose of this project will be to provide baseline data for all benthic habitats and communities.
This work is being conducted in collaboration with the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS), Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research (CCFHR), NOAA's Center for Coastal Environment and Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR), NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT).
  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 Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA)/Biogeography Branch, 201009, Baseline assessment of fish and benthic communities of the Flower Garden Banks (2010 - present) using remotely operated vehicle (ROV) survey methods: 2011: 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: -93.82
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -93.59
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 27.92
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 27.87

  3. What does it look like?

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

    Beginning_Date: May-2010
    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?

    We supply abundance and size information of fish species at the lowest possible taxonomic level across all habitats within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). 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 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/NCCOS/CCMA Biogeography Branch, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research (CCFHR), NOAA's Center for Coastal Environment and Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR), NOAA's Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research and Technology (CIOERT) and NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Program

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

    NOAA/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch
    Flower Garden Banks Project Principle Investigator
    Building 1100, Suite 101
    Stennis Space Center, MS 39529

    228-688-3735 (voice)

    Hours_of_Service: 9:00 - 5:00

Why was the data set created?

1) To design an appropriate sampling and monitoring strategies for fish and benthic community sampling, as well as data collection, during the first year funding, 2) during subsequent years, focus on refinement of the sampling strategies and continuing to build on the baseline dataset, 3) groundtruthing and collection of underwater imagery and video to improve existing map products, 4) the banks begin at 150m depth and reach to within 17m of the water's surface, therefore multiple survey techniques will need to be employed using a random stratified sampling design. An ROV will be utilized to survey the deeper water communities, a combination of divers and technical divers will survey the banks down to ~50m, and ship-based hydroacoustics will be utilized to survey fish densities over the entire depth range; and 5) to analyze the information gathered to help guide sanctuary resource management decisions.

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: Sep-2010 (process 1 of 1)
    A stratified random sampling design was employed to sample fish and benthic communities with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in the sanctuary at depths greater than 150 feet. A sample frame consisting of mutually-exclusive 200m X 200m grid cells was produced and overlaid on the existing benthic habitat map to exhaustively cover all habitats. Each grid cell was considered a sample unit and units were divided into eight strata. Strata were defined using benthic habitat, and location (East or West Bank). Benthic habitats include: coralline algal reef, deep reef, algal nodule, and soft bottom. Data were collected within 100m2 transects. Transects radiated from the centroid of each sample unit at a random bearing. Once in the field, the boat captain navigated to previously selected sites and the ROV was launched. The ROV has GPS positioning so it can be deployed on a site and navigate to other sites without having to be brought back aboard the vessel. Once deployed, high resolution video cameras are continuously running. Once the station has been reached, the ROV slows to approximately 1 knot and attempts to run along a predetermined heading. If currents are too strong,the transect is run into the current to maintain stability. If the current is too strong the transect is aborted . The video is fed into the vessel and scientists take notes about fish and benthic communities as the ROV conducts the transect. Every 30 seconds the ROV slows and hovers approximately 3 m off the bottom. A digital still photograph is taken of the bottom, then the transect continues. Fish and benthic analysis are conducted back in the lab upon the completion of the cruise. Data were collected on the following: 1) Logistic information - date, time of survey, site code, transect bearing, depth. 2) Abundance & size - Fish were identified to the lowest possible taxon possible and 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.

  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?

    These data consist of multiple fish community surveys across all diveable portions of the coral caps within the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). Sites were randomly selected within strata (East and West Bank, low and high relief coral and depth).

  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
Please reference NOAA/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 these data supply this information to the Principle Investigator: Randy Clark (email:

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

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

    301-713-3028 (voice)

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

    Offline 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. NOAA makes no warranty regarding these data, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty. NOAA can not assume liability for and damages caused by any errors or omissions in these data, nor as a result of the failure of these data to function on a particular system.

  4. How can I download or order the data?

  5. Is there some other way to get the data?

    Contact Emma Hickerson at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary to request data. or 409-621-5151

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 20-Jun-2018
Last Reviewed: 11-Jun-2014
Metadata author:
Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
4700 Avenue U. Building 216
Galveston, TX 77551

409-621-5151 ext. 111 (voice)

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 Sun Nov 18 09:46:17 2018