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Methods Used to Map the Benthic Habitats of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Author(s): Kendall, M.S., M.E. Monaco, K.R. Buja, J.D. Christensen, C.R. Kruer, and M. Finkbeiner, R.A. Warner

NCCOS Center: CCMA (

Center Team: Biogeography

Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD

Publication Type: Abstract

Date of Publication: 2001

Reference Information: Puerto Rico, USVI

Abstract: The Biogeography Branch of NOAA/NOS/NCCOS acquired aerial photographs for the nearshore waters of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999. These images were used to create maps of the region’s coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests, and other important habitats. A primary product of this project is a benthic habitat map. This document describes the specific methods used to create this map. Twenty-six distinct benthic habitat types within nine zones were mapped directly into a geographic information system (GIS) using visual interpretation of orthorectified aerial photographs. To supplement the maps, digital scans of the original aerial photographs, georeferenced mosaics, a GIS mapping tool for use with ArcView, and supporting data sets were also created. To see or download this information, visit

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