The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program (Coral Program) invests approximately $5 million of its annual operating budget to support the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) for biological, climate, and socioeconomic monitoring throughout the U.S. Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico coral reef areas. The monitoring program is unique for its national scale across a vast geographic area as well as its progressive inclusion of social science integrated with biophysical science. The effort provides a consistent flow of information about the status and trends of environmental conditions, natural resources, and the people and processes that interact with coral reef ecosystems. The overarching goal is to collect the scientific data needed to evaluate changing conditions of U.S. coral reef ecosystems, which are among the most biologically diverse and economically valuable ecosystems on earth, providing billions of dollars in food, jobs, recreational opportunities, coastal protection, and other important ecosystem services. The program focuses on four monitoring themes: benthic community structure, fish community structure, climate impacts, and socioeconomic condition. Within the benthic theme, the core indicators include: coral species abundance and size structure, coral diversity, coral condition, benthic percent cover, key coral and mobile invertebrate species, and reef rugosity. Data provided here include hard coral species percent cover. The line point intercept method provides a measure of percent cover of biotic and abiotic components of the benthos in a stratified random sampling design in hardbottom and coral reef habitats. Individual data collections: Gulf of Mexico: https://doi.org/10.7289/v5vd6wts Florida: https://doi.org/10.7289/v5xw4h4z Puerto Rico: https://doi.org/10.7289/v5pg1q23 US Virgin Islands: https://doi.org/10.7289/v5ww7fqk
The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 11,941 records.
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How to cite
Researchers should cite this work as follows:
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) (2023): NOAA National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Coral Benthic Assessment Data. v1.6. United States Geological Survey. Dataset/Occurrence. https://www1.usgs.gov/obis-usa/ipt/resource?r=noaa_ncrmp_benthic_assessment&v=1.6
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This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 6ce70eba-ffd8-48e3-ae1a-5e38b6da6b93. United States Geological Survey publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.
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Portions of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
|Bounding Coordinates||South West [17.637, -93.823], North East [27.922, -64.431]|
|Start Date / End Date||2013-07-08 / 2021-12-24|
Coral reefs are among the most valuable ecosystems on earth, providing people with goods and services that include food, storm protection, and recreational opportunities. Despite their importance, coral reef ecosystems are in decline from a myriad of man-made and natural threats. In response, the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program established an integrated and focused monitoring effort with partners across the U.S.—the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). This program is a strategic framework for conducting sustained observations of biological, climatic, and socioeconomic indicators in U.S. states and territories. The resulting data provide a robust picture of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and the communities connected to them.
|Title||NOAA'S NATIONAL CORAL REEF MONITORING PROGRAM|
|Funding||NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program|
|Study Area Description||Coral reef ecosystems in U.S. states and territories.|
|Design Description||The goals of NCRMP monitoring are to: (1) develop consistent and comparable methods and standard operating procedures (SOPs), which detail specific field, laboratory, and/or analytical procedures and best practices, for all indicators (with periodic updates to reflect new technologies or logistical considerations); (2) develop and maintain strong partnerships with federal, state/territory, and academic partners; (3) collect scientifically sound, geographically comprehensive biological, climate, and socioeconomic data in U.S. coral reef areas; (4) deliver high‐quality data, data products, and tools to the coral reef conservation community provide context for interpreting results of localized monitoring; (5) provide periodic assessments of the status and trends of the nation’s coral reef ecosystems.|
The personnel involved in the project:
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Data collection occurs at stratified random sites where the sampling domain for each region (e.g., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary [FGBNMS]) is partitioned by habitat type and depth, sub-regional location (e.g., along-shelf position) and management zone. NCRMP will provide broader geographic context to supplement local monitoring efforts and studies of tropical reef ecosystems. Line point-intercept (LPI) sampling provides benthic cover estimates for ecologically important cover types/groups (e.g., macroalgae, turf algae, crustose coralline algae, corals, sponges, sand/sediment, etc.). This method is complementary to the NCRMP coral demographics sampling method that collects detailed information on scleractinian corals, including density, size and condition (percent mortality and bleaching) measurements. The goal of these surveys is to provide a quantification of percent cover of biotic and abiotic benthic components, using the LPI method in a stratified random sampling design in hardbottom and coral reef habitats in the U.S. Caribbean (U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico) and FGBNMS. Surveys are concurrent with and along the same transect as fish surveys.
|Study Extent||The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) provides a biennial ecological characterization at a broad spatial scale of general reef condition for reef fishes, corals and benthic habitat (i.e., fish species composition/density/size, benthic cover, and coral density/size/condition).|
|Quality Control||For details see the Line Point-Intercept (LPI) Survey Protocol for the U.S. Caribbean and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/archive/arc0091/0151818/2.2/data/0-data/NCRMP_FGB_2013-2015_Benthics/Data_Documentation/Protocols/NCRMP_Caribbean-GoM_Protocols_2015/NCRMP_LinePointIntercept_Protocol_Caribbean_FINAL_June_2015.pdf|
Method step description:
- For details see the Line Point-Intercept (LPI) Survey Protocol for the U.S. Caribbean and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/archive/arc0091/0151818/2.2/data/0-data/NCRMP_FGB_2013-2015_Benthics/Data_Documentation/Protocols/NCRMP_Caribbean-GoM_Protocols_2015/NCRMP_LinePointIntercept_Protocol_Caribbean_FINAL_June_2015.pdf
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