PIBHMC, CRED, PIFSC, NOAA, NCCOS, CCMA, JIMAR and HMRG
This dataset describes the predicted distribution of Leptoseris in the Au'au Channel region in the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). Leptoseris are mesophotic hard corals, which are light-dependent corals adapted to the low light conditions at approximately 30 to 150 m in depth. Several physical factors potentially influence their spatial distribution, including aragonite saturation, alkalinity, pH, currents, water temperature, hard substrate availability and the availability of light at depth. Mesophotic corals and mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCEs) have increasingly been the subject of scientific study because they are being threatened by a growing number of anthropogenic stressors. They are the focus of this spatial modeling effort because the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) is exploring the expansion of its scope beyond the protection of the North Pacific Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) to include the conservation and management of these ecosystem components. The present study helps to address this need by examining the distribution of mesophotic corals in the Au'au Channel region.
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