National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Benthic Cover Derived from Analysis of Benthic Images Collected during Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) across the Hawaiian Archipelago since 2013

The data described here result from benthic photo-quadrat surveys conducted along transects at stratified random sites across the Hawaiian archipelago since 2013 as a part of Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) surveys for corals and fish. Benthic habitat imagery were quantitatively analyzed using the Coral Point Count with Excel extensions (CPCe; Kohler and Gill, 2006) software from 2010-2014 and using the web-based annotation tool CoralNet (Beijbom et al. 2016) from 2015 to present. In general, images are analyzed to produce three functional group levels of benthic cover: Tier 1 (e.g., hard coral, soft coral, macroalgae, turf algae, etc.), Tier 2 (e.g., Hard Coral = massive, branching, foliose, encrusting, etc.; Macroalgae = upright macroalgae, encrusting macroalgae, bluegreen macroalgae, and Halimeda, etc.), and Tier 3 (e.g., Hard Coral = Astreopora sp, Favia sp, Pocillopora, etc.; Macroalgae = Caulerpa sp, Dictyosphaeria sp, Padina sp, etc.).

A stratified random sampling (StRS) design was employed to survey the coral reef ecosystems throughout the U.S. Pacific regions. The survey domain encompassed the majority of the mapped area of reef and hard bottom habitats in the 0-30 m depth range. The stratification scheme included island, reef zone, and depth in all regions, as well as habitat structure type in the Main Hawaiian Islands. Sampling effort was allocated based on strata area and sites were randomly located within strata. Sites were surveyed using photo-quadrats along transects to collect benthic imagery to ultimately produce estimates of relative abundance (percent cover), frequency of occurrence, benthic community taxonomic composition and relative generic richness.

The StRS design effectively reduces estimate variance through stratification using environmental covariates and by sampling more sites rather than sampling more transects at a site. Therefore, site-level estimates and site to site comparisons should be used with caution.

The data from the benthic cover surveys can be accessed online via the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Ocean Archive.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated June 22, 2019, 00:27
Created June 10, 2017, 17:58
access_constraints ["Access Constraints: None | Use Constraints: Please cite NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) when using the data.\n\nExample:\n\nCoral Reef Ecosystem Program; Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (2016). National Coral Reef Monitoring Program: Benthic Cover Derived from Analysis of Benthic Images Collected during Stratified Random Surveys (StRS) across the Hawaiian Archipelago in 2013. NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information, | Distribution Liability: While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty."]
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