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Benthic Habitats of Buck Island Reef National Monument

Author(s): Costa, B.M., S. Tormey, and T.A. Battista

NCCOS Center: CCMA (

Center Team: Biogeography

Name of Publisher: NOAA

Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD

Publication Type: NOAA Technical Memoranda

Date of Publication: 2012

Reference Information: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 142

Extent of Work: 64 pp.

Abstract: This report describes the creation and assessment of a shallow (0 =50 m), moderate (50 =1,000 m) and deep­ water (1,000 =1,830 m) benthic habitat map for the Buck Island Reef National Monument (BIRNM) north of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The objective of this effort, conducted by NOAA’s Center for Coastal Monitor­ ing and Assessment’s Biogeography Branch in partnership with the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), was to provide spatially-explicit information describing the benthic habitat types and live coral cover present in the full extent of BIRNM’s boundaries. The three resulting habitat maps, generated using a combination of semi-auto­ mated classi?cation and visual interpretation techniques, represent the ?rst digital maps of the moderate and deep-water areas inside the Monument. This report consists of three primary components: 1) a description of the classi?cation scheme used to catego­ rize the different sea?oor habitats, 2) a discussion of the techniques used to create the habitat map, and 3) an assessment of the shallow-water habitat map’s thematic accuracies. These habitat maps will be used by the U.S. National Park Service and other local partners for planning research and monitoring activities, and will support the management and conservation of St. Croix’s BIRNM.

Availability: Online.

Related Attachment: Download file (.pdf)