Recent Submissions

  • Fish and habitat community assessments on North Carolina shipwrecks: potential sites for detecting climate change in the graveyard of the Atlantic

    Whitfield, Paula E.; Muñoz, Roldan C.; Buckell, Christine A.; Heesemann, Lauren M. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Office of National Marine SanctuarySilver Spring, MD, 2011)
    The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS) was the nation’s first sanctuary, originally established in 1975 to protect the famous civil war ironclad shipwreck, the USS Monitor. Since 2008, sanctuary sponsored archeological research has branched out to include historically significant U-boats and World War II shipwrecks within the larger Graveyard of the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina. These shipwrecks are not only important for their cultural value, but also as habitat for a wide diversity of fishes, invertebrates and algal species. Additionally, due to their unique location within an important area for biological productivity, the sanctuary and other culturally valuable shipwrecks within the Graveyard of the Atlantic are potential sites for examining community change. For this reason, from June 8-30, 2010, biological and ecological investigations were conducted at four World War II shipwrecks (Keshena, City of Atlanta, Dixie Arrow, EM Clark), as part of the MNMS 2010 Battle of the Atlantic (BOTA) research project. At each shipwreck site, fish community surveys were conducted and benthic photo-quadrats were collected to characterize the mobile conspicuous fish, smaller prey fish, and sessile invertebrate and algal communities. In addition, temperature sensors were placed at all four shipwrecks previously mentioned, as well as an additional shipwreck, the Manuela. The data, which establishes a baseline condition to use in future assessments, suggest strong differences in both the fish and benthic communities among the surveyed shipwrecks based on the oceanographic zone (depth). In order to establish these shipwrecks as sites for detecting community change it is suggested that a subset of locations across the shelf be selected and repeatedly sampled over time. In order to reduce variability within sites for both the benthic and fish communities, a significant number of surveys should be conducted at each location. This sampling strategy will account for the natural differences in community structure that exist across the shelf due to the oceanographic regime, and allow robust statistical analyses of community differences over time.
  • Preliminary comparison of natural versus model-predicted recovery of vessel-generated seagrass injuries in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

    Uhrin, Amy V.; Fonseca, Mark S.; Kenworthy, W. Judson (NOAA/National Ocean ServiceSilver Springs, MD, 2009)
    Each year, more than 500 motorized vessel groundings cause widespread damage to seagrasses in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). Under Section 312 of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), any party responsible for the loss, injury, or destruction of any Sanctuary resource, including seagrass, is liable to the United States for response costs and resulting damages. As part of the damage assessment process, a cellular automata model is utilized to forecast seagrass recovery rates. Field validation of these forecasts was accomplished by comparing model-predicted percent recovery to that which was observed to be occurring naturally for 30 documented vessel grounding sites. Model recovery forecasts for both Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme exceeded natural recovery estimates for 93.1% and 89.5% of the sites, respectively. For Halodule wrightii, the number of over- and under-predictions by the model was similar. However, where under-estimation occurred, it was often severe, reflecting the well-known extraordinary growth potential of this opportunistic species. These preliminary findings indicate that the recovery model is consistently generous to Responsible Parties in that the model forecasts a much faster recovery than was observed to occur naturally, particularly for T. testudinum, the dominant seagrass species in the region and the species most often affected. Environmental setting (i.e., location, wave exposure) influences local seagrass landscape pattern and may also play a role in the recovery dynamics for a particular injury site. An examination of the relationship between selected environmental factors and injury recovery dynamics is currently underway. (PDF file contains 20 pages.)
  • Multi-species and multi-interest management: An ecosystem approach to market squid (Loligo opalescens) harvest in California

    Hastings, Sean; MacWilliams, Sarah (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 1999)
    Market squid (Loligo opalescens) plays a vital role in the California ecosystem and serves as a major link in the food chain as both a predator and prey species. For over a century, market squid has also been harvested off the California coast from Monterey to San Pedro. Expandingglobal markets, coupled with a decline in squid product from other parts of the world, in recent years has fueled rapid expansion of the virtually unregulated California fishery. Lack of regulatory management, in combination with dramatic increases in fishing effort and landings, hasraised numerous concerns from the scientific, fishing, and regulatory communities.In an effort to address these concerns, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) hosted a paneldiscussion at the October 1997 California Cooperative Oceanic and Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Conference; it focused on ecosystem management implications for the burgeoning market squid fishery. Both panel and audience members addressed issues such as: the direct and indirect effects of commercial harvesting upon squid biomass; the effects of harvest and the role of squid in the broader marine community; the effects of environmental variation on squid population dynamics; the sustainability of the fishery from the point of view of both scientistsand the fishers themselves; and the conservation management options for what is currently an open access and unregulated fishery. Herein are the key points of the ecosystem management panel discussion in the form of a preface, an executive summary, and transcript. (PDF contains 33 pages.)
  • Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Area to be Avoided (ATBA) Education and Monitoring Program

    Galasso, George (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2000)
    The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1431, as amended) gives the Secretary of Commerce the authority to designate discrete areas of the marine environment asNational Marine Sanctuaries and provides the authority to promulgate regulations to provide for the conservation and management of these marine areas. The waters of the OuterWashington Coast were recognized for their high natural resource and human use values and placed on the National Marine Sanctuary Program Site Evaluation List in 1983. In 1988, Congress directed NOAA to designate the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (Pub. L. 100-627).The Sanctuary, designated in May 1994, worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to request the International Maritime Organization designate an Area to be Avoided (ATBA) on the Olympic Coast. The IMO defines an ATBA as "a routeing measure comprising an area within defined limits in which either navigation is particularly hazardous or it is exceptionally important to avoid casualties and which should be avoided by all ships, or certain classes ofships" (IMO, 1991). This ATBA was adopted in December 1994 by the Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO, “in order to reduce the risk of marine casualty and resultingpollution and damage to the environment of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary”, (IMO, 1994). The ATBA went into effect in June 1995 and advises operators of vessels carrying petroleum and/or hazardous materials to maintain a 25-mile buffer from the coast. Since that time, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS) has created an education and monitoring program with the goal of ensuring the successful implementation of the ATBA.The Sanctuary enlisted the aid of the U.S. and Canadian coast guards, and the marine industry to educate mariners about the ATBA and to use existing radar data to monitorcompliance. Sanctuary monitoring efforts have targeted education on tank vessels observed transiting the ATBA. OCNMS's monitoring efforts allow quantitative evaluation of this voluntary measure. Finally, the tools developed to monitor the ATBA are also used for the more general purpose of monitoring vessel traffic within the Sanctuary.While the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary does not currently regulate vessel traffic, such regulations are within the scope of the Sanctuary’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Management Plan. Sanctuary staff participate in ongoing maritime and environmental safety initiatives and continually seek opportunities to mitigate risks from marine shipping.(PDF contains 44 pages.)
  • The economic contribution of whalewatching to regional economies: Perspectives from two National Marine Sanctuaries

    Barr, Brad; Utech, Dan; Hoagland, Porter; Meeks, Andrew e. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2000)
    Whenever human beings have looked out on the sea, they have seen whales. First from the shore and later from ships when humanity entered the ocean realm as seafarers, we haveresponded to seeing these creatures with awe and wonder. Even when we hunted whales, a period well chronicled both in history and in literature, the sight of a whale brought an adrenaline rush that was not totally linked to potential economic gain. The first trips on boats specificallyto watch, rather than hunt, whales began around 45 years ago in Southern California where the migrating gray whales, seen in the distance from land, drew vessels out for a closer look. Since that time whalewatching has boomed, currently conducted in over 40 countries around the world,including Antarctica, and estimated by economists at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society to have a 1999 worldwide economic value of around $800 million USD. The economic contribution to local coastal communities is particularly significant in developing countries andthose where declining fish populations (and in some cases like the Japanese, international bans on whaling) have driven harvesters to look for viable alternatives. Clearly, whalewatching is now, in many places around the world, a small but thriving part of the regional economy. Like in thedays of whaling, we still get the rush, but for some, money is back contributing to the physiological response. (PDF contains 90 pages.)
  • Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary: A rapid assessment of coral, fish, and algae using the AGRRA Protocol

    Pattengill-Semmens, Christy; Gittings, Stephen R.; Shyka, Thomas (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2000)
    The Flower Garden Banks are topographic features on the edge of the continental shelf in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. These banks are approximately 175 km southeast of Galveston, Texas at 28° north latitude and support the northernmost coral reefs on the North Americancontinental shelf. The East and West Flower Garden Banks (EFG and WFG) and Stetson Bank, a smaller sandstone bank approximately 110 km offshore, are managed and protected as the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS). As part of a region-wide initiative to assess coral reef condition, the benthic and fish communities of the EFG and WFG were assessed using the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA) protocol. The AGRRA survey was conducted during a week-long cruise in August 1999 that was jointlysponsored by the FGBNMS and the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). A total of 25 coral transects, 132 algal quadrats, 24 fish transects, and 26 Roving Diver (REEF) surveys were conducted. These surveys revealed reefs with high coral cover, dominated by large, healthycorals, little macroalgae, and healthy fish populations. The percent live coral cover was 53.9 and 48.8 at the WFG and EFG, respectively, and the average colony diameter was 93 and 81 cm. Fish diversity was lower than most Caribbean reefs, but large abundances and size of many species reflected the low fishing pressure on the banks. The benthic and fish assemblages at the EFG and WFG were similar. Due to its near pristine conditions, the FGB data will prove to be a valuable component in the AGRRA database and its resulting scale of reef condition for the region. (PDF contains 22 pages.)
  • Distribution and sighting frequency of reef fishes in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

    Jeffrey, C. F. G.; Pattengill-Semmens, C.; Gittings, S.; Monaco, M. E. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2001)
    This study analyzed species richness, distribution, and sighting frequency of selected reef fishes to describe species assemblage composition, abundance, and spatial distribution patterns among sites and regions (Upper Keys, Middle Keys, Lower Keys, and Dry Tortugas) within theFlorida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) barrier reef ecosystem. Data were obtained from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) Fish Survey Project, a volunteerfish-monitoring program. A total of 4,324 visual fish surveys conducted at 112 sites throughout the FKNMS were used in these analyses. The data set contained sighting information on 341 fish species comprising 68 families. Species richness was generally highest in the Upper Keys sites (maximum was 220 species at Molasses Reef) and lowest in the Dry Tortugas sites. Encounter rates differed among regions, with the Dry Tortugas having the highest rate, potentially a result of differences in the evenness in fishes and the lower diversity of habitat types in the DryTortugas region. Geographic coverage maps were developed for 29 frequently observed species. Fourteen of these species showed significant regional variation in mean sighting frequency (%SF). Six species had significantly lower mean %SF and eight species had significantly highermean %SF in the Dry Tortugas compared with other regions. Hierarchical clustering based on species composition (presence-absence) and species % SF revealed interesting patterns of similarities among sites that varied across spatial scales. Results presented here indicate thatphenomena affecting reef fish composition in the FKNMS operate at multiple spatial scales, including a biogeographic scale that defines the character of the region as a whole, a reef scale (~50-100 km) that include meso-scale physical oceanographic processes and regional variation in reef structure and associated reef habitats, and a local scale that includes level of protection,cross-shelf location and a suite of physical characteristics of a given reef. It is likely that at bothregional and local scales, species habitat requirements strongly influence the patterns revealed in this study, and are particularly limiting for species that are less frequently observed in the Dry Tortugas. The results of this report serve as a benchmark for the current status of the reef fishes in the FKNMS. In addition, these data provide the basis for analyses on reserve effects and thebiogeographic coupling of benthic habitats and fish assemblages that are currently underway. (PDF contains 61 pages.)
  • A review of marine zones in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

    Brown, Jennifer A. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, Maryland, 2001)
    This report reviews marine zoning in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). The 72 zoned areas in the MBNMS are of 13 different zone types. Each marine zone type has associated regulations that restrict or promote specific activities. For example, recreationalactivities such as boating, fishing, tidepooling, snorkeling, and SCUBA diving are limited in some zones. Scientific research is allowed at all sites, with appropriate permits, and is specifically promoted in a few sites. In addition, motorized personal watercraft use, dredge material disposal, large vessel traffic, jade collection, and aircraft overflight are allowed only inspecific zones. The effectiveness of the marine zoning in the MBNMS is difficult to determine for two reasons. Firstly, many of the zones lack a clearly stated purpose or have confusing regulations. Secondly, the majority of the zones have not been evaluated formally by the managing agencies. Of the zones that have been evaluated, such as Dredge Material Disposal zones, Big Creek MRPA Ecological Reserve, and Pt. Lobos State/Ecological Reserve, themajority appear to be achieving their mandated purpose to some extent.Many of the zones in the MBNMS fall under the title "marine reserve." Marine reserves have recently received significant attention internationally, nationally, and in California due to their potential for: improving the status of exploited species; protecting marine habitats andecosystems from degradation; facilitating scientific research and fisheries management; and increasing ecotourism. However, reserves must be well designed and managed to reach this potential. A well designed and managed reserve will have clearly defined goals, scientifically-based design, proper enforcement of regulations, rigorous evaluation of the reserve'seffectiveness, and adaptive management. Based on these criteria, the majority of the marine reserves in California are not well designed or managed. However, the State of California has recognized this problem and is in the process of re-evaluating the California system of marinemanaged areas. (PDF contains 137 pages.)
  • Workshop on marine mammal research & monitoring in the National Marine Sanctuaries, Wailea, Maui, Hawaii, 28 November 1999

    Fangman, Sarah; Roletto, Jan (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, Maryland, 2001)
    The Second National Workshop on Marine Mammal Research and Monitoring in the National Marine Sanctuaries was held on 28 November 1999 in Maui, Hawaii. The workshop preceded the Thirteenth Biennial Conference on the Biology of MarineMammals, and provided an opportunity to review and promote marine mammal research and monitoring in the National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS). The purpose of the workshopwas to bring together researchers and sanctuary staff and to improve marine mammal research and monitoring throughout the sanctuaries. Discussion topics included: potential multi-sanctuary projects, sources of funding for multi-sanctuary projects, services and equipment for researchers through the sanctuaries, consolidating small levelsof funding, help in funding and support for writing up data, publishing documents in Technical Memoranda, and letters of support. Representatives from the NMS nationaloffice and nine sanctuaries provided participants with overviews of marine mammal research within the sanctuaries. Presentations were also given by representatives fromthe National Marine Fisheries Service’s Permits and Health and Stranding programs.During the breakout working groups, there were several comments and suggestions consistent among each of the groups to improve marine mammal research. Each group emphasized the need to improve communication among researchers and to better share data. These suggestions included web-based information networks, advisory panels, and workshops. Regionally based research projects were also emphasized. In order to best study marine mammal populations, collaborative studies must take placethroughout multiple sanctuaries. In order to achieve these large scale studies, funding and staffing must be directed towards these studies and distributed among each of thesanctuaries so that they may all be able to have the staffing, equipment, and vessels necessary to achieve a collaborative, ecosystem-based, regional marine mammalmonitoring program.It will take several years to achieve all of the suggestions from the workshop, but thanks to the workshop participants, the National Marine Sanctuary Program has begun to direct marine mammal research and monitoring in order to achieve the goals of the workshop.This document provides a summary of the workshop with a focus on key points/main issues. We have included contact information intended to encourage continued collaboration among the individuals and organizations represented at the 1999 Marine Mammal Research and Monitoring in the National Marine Sanctuaries Workshop. (PDF contains 71 pages.)
  • Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: Proceedings of the 1998 Research Workshop, Seattle, Washington

    Bowlby, C. Edward; Blackie, Barbara A.; Parrish, Julia K. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, Maryland, 2001)
    The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS or Sanctuary) planned and organized the 1998 Research Workshop as part of its mission to protect and improve understanding of its marine resources through research and education programs. The Sanctuary is also mandated to coordinate and facilitate information exchanges and sponsors periodicresearch workshops to that end.The goals of the 1998 Research Workshop were as follows:A. Highlight and prioritize research needs for the Sanctuary relative to the development of a framework for a five-year research plan;B. Build on results from the Olympic Coast Marine Research Workshop of 1996;C. Present recent/ongoing research;D. Share multi-disciplinary information;E. Select priority sites for multi-disciplinary studies; andF. Promote student participation and research. (PDF contains 93 pages.)
  • A review of the ecological effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California, Part II: Summary of existing marine reserves in Central California and their potential benefits

    Starr, Richard M.; Carr, Mark H.; Caselle, Jennifer; Estes, James A.; Syms, Craig; VenTresca, David A.; Yoklavich, Mary M. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2004)
    In Central California, and elsewhere around the world, a great deal of discussion is occurring about the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a tool to help manage marine resources. This discussion is taking place because there is growing evidence that humans have depleted marine resources in many parts of the world, often despite strong regulatory efforts. Moreover, there is also mounting evidence that the degradation of marine resources began longago, and we do not fully realize how much humans have altered “natural” environments. This uncertainty has led people to discuss the use of MPAs as a precautionary tool to prevent depletion or extinction of marine resources, and as a means of redressing past damages.The discussion about the use of marine reserves is increasing in intensity in California because several resource management agencies are considering reserves as they create or revise management plans. Often, the discussions surrounding this important public policy debate lead to questions about the biological or ecological value of existing marine protected areas. More than 100 MPAs exist along the coast of California. Many of these were established arbitrarily and lack specific purposes. Some California marine protected areas also have co-occurring oroverlapping boundaries, have conflicting designations for use, and have conflicting rules and regulations. Because few of the existing marine protected areas have clearly articulated goals or objectives, however, it is difficult or impossible to evaluate their ecological effectiveness. (PDF contains 18 pages.)
  • A review of the ecological effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California, Part I: Synopsis of scientific investigations

    Starr, Richard M.; Carr, Mark H.; Caselle, Jennifer; Estes, James A.; Pomeroy, Caroline; Syms, Craig; VenTresca, David A.; Yoklavich, Mary M. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2004)
    Marine reserves, often referred to as no-take MPAs, are defined as areas within which human activities that can result in the removal or alteration of biotic and abiotic components of an ecosystem are prohibited or greatly restricted (NRC 2001). Activities typically curtailedwithin a marine reserve are extraction of organisms (e.g., commercial and recreational fishing, kelp harvesting, commercial collecting), mariculture, and those activities that can alter oceanographic or geologic attributes of the habitat (e.g., mining, shore-based industrial-relatedintake and discharges of seawater and effluent). Usually, marine reserves are established to conserve biodiversity or enhance nearby fishery resources. Thus, goals and objectives of marine reserves can be inferred, even if they are not specifically articulated at the time of reserveformation.In this report, we review information about the effectiveness of the three marine reserves in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Hopkins Marine Life Refuge, Point Lobos Ecological Reserve, Big Creek Ecological Reserve), and the one in the Channel Islands NationalMarine Sanctuary (the natural area on the north side of East Anacapa Island). Our efforts to objectively evaluate reserves in Central California relative to reserve theory were greatly hampered for four primary reasons; (1) few of the existing marine reserves were created with clearly articulated goals or objectives, (2) relatively few studies of the ecological consequences of existing reserves have been conducted, (3) no studies to date encompass the spatial and temporal scope needed to identify ecosystem-wide effects of reserve protection, and (4) there arealmost no studies that describe the social and economic consequences of existing reserves.To overcome these obstacles, we used several methods to evaluate the effectiveness of subtidal marine reserves in Central California. We first conducted a literature review to find out what research has been conducted in all marine reserves in Central California (Appendix 1). We then reviewed the scientific literature that relates to marine reserve theory to help define criteria to use as benchmarks for evaluation. A recent National Research Council (2001) report summarized expected reserve benefits and provided the criteria we used for evaluation of effectiveness. The next step was to identify the research projects in this region that collected information in a way that enabled us to evaluate reserve theory relative to marine reserves inCentral California. Chapters 1-4 in this report provide summaries of those research projects. Contained within these chapters are evaluations of reserve effectiveness for meeting specific objectives. As few studies exist that pertain to reserve theory in Central California, we reviewedstudies of marine reserves in other temperate and tropical ecosystems to determine if there were lessons to be learned from other parts of the world (Chapter 5). We also included a discussion of social and economic considerations germane to the public policy decision-making processes associated with marine reserves (Chapter 6). After reviewing all of these resources, we provided a summary of the ecological benefits that could be expected from existing reserves in Central California. The summary is presented in Part II of this report. (PDF contains 133 pages.)
  • Pre-construction coral survey of the M/V Wellwood Grounding Site: April 23-24, 2002

    Gittings, Steve (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2003)
    This report documents abundance and cover for selected elements of the benthic coral reef assemblage at the site of the 1984 grounding of the M/V Wellwood on Molasses Reef,Florida Keys. The purpose of the effort was to establish a pre-construction baseline before the installation of reef modules at the site. The installation process is intended to stabilize fractured substrates that were recently exposed by storm impacts, and to provide three-dimensional relief in order to enhance reef community recovery. It is hoped that the restoration effort will result in a biological assemblage with the character of the transition community that would exist there had the incident not occurred. To date, the assemblage has developed the character of a comparatively featureless hard ground similar in composition to hard ground areas and transitionzones surrounding the grounding site. These data will allow scientists and resource managers to better track the trajectory of recovery following the installation of modules. Direct counts of scleractinian and gorgonian corals, hydrocorals of the genus Millepora, and zoanthids of the genus Palythoa were made in three areas within and around the grounding site. The site is poorly developed with respect to scleractinian colony size and cover compared to surrounding areas. Key scleractinian species necessary for the development of topographic relief in the area denuded by the grounding are not well represented in the current community. Though gorgonian cover and richness is similar in all study areas, gorgonian community recovery in the damaged area is not complete. Unlike surrounding areas, one species, Pseudopterogorgia americana, accounts for over half of all corals at the grounding site, over 80% of all gorgonians, and nearly all the coral cover. Based on these findings and other observations made in the 18 years since the grounding, recommendations are made that should be considered in the course of human intervention targeted at stabilizing and enhancing the site. (PDF contains 24 pages.)
  • Biogeographic analysis of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve: Examining the refuge effect following reserve establishment

    Burke, John S.; Burton, Michael L.; Currin, Carolyn A.; Field, Donald W.; Fonseca, Mark S.; Hare, Jonathan A.; Kenworthy, W. Judson; Uhrin, Amy V. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2004)
    Almost 120 days at sea aboard three NOAA research vessels and one fishing vessel over the past three years have supported biogeographic characterization of Tortugas Ecological Reserve (TER). This work initiated measurement of post-implementation effects of TER as a refuge for exploited species. In Tortugas South, seafloor transect surveys were conducted using divers, towed operated vehicles (TOV), remotely operated vehicles (ROV), various sonar platforms, and the Deepworker manned submersible.ARGOS drifter releases, satellite imagery, ichthyoplankton surveys, sea surface temperature, and diver census were combined to elucidate potential dispersal of fish spawning in this environment. Surveys are being compiled into a GIS to allow resource managers to gauge benthic resource status and distribution. Drifter studies have determined that within the ~ 30 days of larval life stage for fishes spawning at Tortugas South, larvae could reach as far downstream as Tampa Bay on the west Florida coast and CapeCanaveral on the east coast. Together with actual fish surveys and water mass delineation, this work demonstrates that the refuge status of this area endows it with tremendous downstream spillover and larval export potential for Florida reef habitats and promotes the maintenance of their fish communities.In Tortugas North, 30 randomly selected, permanent stations were established. Five stations were assigned to each of the following six areas: within Dry Tortugas National Park, falling north of the prevailing currents (Park North); within Dry Tortugas National Park, falling south of the prevailing currents (Park South); within the Ecological Reserve falling north of the prevailing currents (ReserveNorth); within the Ecological Reserve falling south of the prevailing currents (Reserve South); within areas immediately adjacent to these two strata, falling north of the prevailing currents (Out North); and within areas immediately adjacent to these two strata, falling south of the prevailing currents (Out South). Intensive characterization of these sites was conducted using multiple sonar techniques, TOV, ROV, diver-based digital video collection, diver-based fish census, towed fish capture, sediment particle-size, benthic chlorophyll analyses, and stable isotope analyses of primary producers, fish, and, shellfish. In order to complement and extend information from studies focused on the coral reef, we havetargeted the ecotone between the reef and adjacent, non-reef habitats as these areas are well-known in ecology for indicating changes in trophic relationships at the ecosystem scale. Such trophic changes are hypothesized to occur as top-down control of the system grows with protection of piscivorous fishes. Preliminary isotope data, in conjunction with our prior results from the west Florida shelf, suggest that the shallow water benthic habitats surrounding the coral reefs of TER will prove to be the source of a significant amount of the primary production ultimately fueling fish production throughout TER anddownstream throughout the range of larval fish dispersal. Therefore, the status and influence of the previously neglected, non-reef habitat within the refuge (comprising ~70% of TER) appears to be intimately tied to the health of the coral reef community proper.These data, collected in a biogeographic context, employing an integrated Before-After Control Impact design at multiple spatial scales, leave us poised to document and quantify the postimplementation effects of TER. Combined with the work at Tortugas South, this project represents amulti-disciplinary effort of sometimes disparate disciplines (fishery oceanography, benthic ecology, foodweb analysis, remote sensing/geography/landscape ecology, and resource management) and approaches (physical, biological, ecological). We expect the continuation of this effort to yield critical information for the management of TER and the evaluation of protected areas as a refuge for exploited species. (PDF contains 32 pages.)
  • Noise levels and sources in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the St. Lawrence River Estuary

    Scheifele, Peter M.; Darre, Michael (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2005)
    Although ambient (background) noise in the ocean is a topic that has been widely studied since pre-World War II, the effects of noise on marine organisms has only been afocus of concern for the last 25 years. The main point of concern has been the potential of noise to affect the health and behavior of marine mammals. The Stellwagen BankNational Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) is a site where the degradation of habitat due to increasing noise levels is a concern because it is a feeding ground and summer haven fornumerous species of marine mammals. Ambient noise in the ocean is defined as “the part of the total noise background observed with an omnidirectional hydrophone.” It isan inherent characteristic of the medium having no specific point source. Ambient noise is comprised of a number of components that contribute to the “noise level” in varyingdegrees depending on where the noise is being measured. This report describes the current understanding of ambient noise and existing levels in the Stellwagen BankNational Marine Sanctuary. (PDF contains 32 pages.)
  • An annotated bibliography of diet studies of fish of the southeast United States and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary

    Marancik, Katrin E.; Hare, Jonathan A. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2005)
    One goal of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) is to protect the unique community found within the Sanctuary’s boundaries. An understanding of the ecologicalinteractions, including trophic structure, among these organisms is necessary to realize this goal. Therefore, diet information for 184 fish species was summarized from 113 published studies. Among the fish included are 84 fish species currently known to reside in Gray’s Reef NMS. Thelocations of these studies ranged from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the northeast United States to northern Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. All of the species described in this bibliography occur in the southeast United States and are, therefore, current or potential residents of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Each entry includes the objectives, briefmethods, and conclusions of the article. The bibliography is also indexed by species. (PDF contains 64 pages.)
  • The impacts of coastal protection structures in California’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

    Stamski, Rebecca (NOAA/National Ocean Servic/ Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2005)
    This report outlines the potential impacts of coastal protection structures on the resources of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. At least 15 miles of the Sanctuary’s 300-mile shoreline are currently armored with seawalls and riprap revetments. Most of these coastalprotection structures are placed above the mean high tide line, the official boundary of the Sanctuary, yet some influences of armoring impinge on the marine realm and on recreational use. In addition, continued sea level rise and accompanying coastal retreat will force many of thesestructures below the high tide line over time. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary staff has recognized the significance of coastal armoring, identifying it as a critical issue in the Coastal Armoring Action Plan of the draft Joint Management Plan.This summary is intended to provide general background information for Sanctuary policies on coastal armoring. The impacts discussed include: aesthetic depreciation, beach loss due to placement, access restriction, loss of sand supply from eroding cliffs, passive erosion, and activeerosion. In addition, the potential biological impacts are explored. Finally, an appraisal of how differing armor types compare in relation to impacts, expense and engineering is presented. While the literature cited in this report focus predominantly on the California coast, theframework for this discussion could have implications for other actively eroding coastlines. (PDF contains 26 pages.)
  • Movement of yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus Block 1790) and black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci Poey 1860) in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as determined by acoustic telemetry

    Lindholm, James; Kaufman, Les; Miller, Steven; Wagschal, Adam; Newville, Melinda (NOAA/National Ocean Service/ Marine Sanctuaries DivisionSilver Spring, MD, 2005)
    We tagged a total of 14 yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus Bloch 1790) and black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci Poey 1860) inside the Conch Reef Research Only Area (a no-take marine reserve) in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in November 2001. Both species are heavily exploited in the region. Our objective was to characterize site fidelity and movement behavior along the reef tract to the north and south of the release point. Fishes were collected by baited hook and line from the surface, surgically-tagged with coded-acoustic transmitters, and returned to the reef by snorkelers. Tracking of fish movement behavior was conducted by five acoustic receivers deployed on the seafloor from Davis Reef in the south to Pickles Reef in the north. Fishes were tracked for up to eight months. Results indicated that themajority of signal detections for individual fish from both species were recorded at the two Conch Reef receivers. Limited movement from Conch Reef to Davis Reef was recorded, but no signal detections were recorded at the two sites to the north of Conch Reef. These results suggestthat both species show site fidelity to Conch Reef. Future studies will seek to characterize this site fidelity with increased temporal and spatial resolution at Conch Reef. (PDF contains 25 pages.)
  • Channel Islands Deep Water Monitoring Plan Development Workshop Report April 26-27, 2005 University of California, Santa Barbara

    Fangman, Sarah; Gittings, Steve; Dalton, Kathy; McFall, Greg; Lott, Dave (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Office of National Marine SanctuarySilver Spring, MD, 2005)
    In 2003, twelve marine protected areas were established in state waters (0-3 nmi) surrounding the Channel Islands. NOAA is considering extending this network (3-6 nmi) into deeper waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS). In order for effective long-termmanagement of the deep water reserves to occur, a well-structured monitoring program is required to assess effectiveness. The CINMS and the National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) hosted a 2-day workshop in April 2005 to develop a monitoring plan for the proposed federal marine reserves in that sanctuary. Conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara, participants included scientists from academic, state, federal, and private research institutions. Workshop participants developed project ideas that could answer priority questionsposed by the NMSP. This workshop report will be used to develop a monitoring plan for the reserves. (PDF contains 47 pages.)
  • Benthic habitat mapping in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: Classification of side scan sonar data from survey HMPR-108-2002-01: Version I

    Intelmann, Steven S.; Cochrane, G. R. (NOAA/National Ocean Service/Office of National Marine SanctuariesSilver Spring, MD, 2006)
    In September 2002, side scan sonar was used to image a portion of the sea floor in the northern OCNMS and was mosaiced at 1-meter pixel resolution using 100 kHz datacollected at 300-meter range scale. Video from a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), bathymetry data, sedimentary samples, and sonar mapping have been integrated todescribe geological and biological aspects of habitat and polygon features have been created and attributed with a hierarchical deep-water marine benthic classificationscheme (Greene et al. 1999). The data can be used with geographic information system (GIS) software for display, query, and analysis. Textural analysis of the sonar imagesprovided a relatively automated method for delineating substrate into three broad classes representing soft, mixed sediment, and hard bottom. Microhabitat and presence ofcertain biologic attributes were also populated into the polygon features, but strictly limited to areas where video groundtruthing occurred. Further groundtruthing work inspecific areas would improve confidence in the classified habitat map. (PDF contains 22 pages.)

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