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Short Citation:
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 2022: Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (less than 30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI., https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/inport/item/39571.

Item Identification

Title: Fish Community Characterization on Shallow (less than 30m) Hardbottom Shelf Habitats in St. Croix, USVI. A preliminary field survey to assess operational and logistical approaches to implement the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) in the USVI.
Short Name: stc_ncrmp_fish_metadata_022613
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2012-10-25
Abstract:

Reef fish populations are a conspicuous and essential component of USVI coral reef ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, striking population and community level changes have occurred in the recent past due to fishing pressure and habitat degradation. The monitoring methodologies described in this document are necessary for understanding how natural and anthropogenic stressors are changing reef fish populations and communities and will be critical for their sustainable management. A collaborative research effort between the NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment's Biogeography Branch (BB) and the National Park Service (NPS) has been used to inventory and assess reef fish populations in reef and reef-associated habitats in the northeast region of St. Croix from 2001-2011. The survey method previously used has been refined to enable broader region-wide coverage at the scale of the USVI yet maintains high precision at the Marine Protected Area (MPA) spatial level. Region-wide population metric estimates are required to effectively manage reef fisheries but are also imperative for spatial management and understanding ecosystem-level processes. For example, the ability to place protected fish resources in the context of the greater region not only allows for the evaluation of management actions but it also provides the ability to determine the ecological role of an MPA in the greater ecosystem. The monitoring method previously used by the Biogeography Branch and other partners in St. Croix and other regions within the USVI and Puerto Rico will be used to characterize and establish baseline data for future monitoring. St. Croix was chosen to serve as the first area to implement the protocol and to evaluate the logistics necessary to implement a long term monitoring program. Characterization and monitoring of fish communities requires a quantitative measure of the spatial distribution and variation of those communities. These measures will enable managers to make targeted management decisions (e.g. where to allow mooring or where to allow recreational activities such as snorkeling and SCUBA diving). Additionally, the spatial setting, both within and outside protected regions allows managers to assess the impact, if any, of a change in regulation such as the prohibition of fishing. It also enables analysis of any differential effect (i.e. the effect may be the same throughout the region or it may be more effective toward an edge or center of a management area). To quantify patterns of spatial distribution and make meaningful interpretations, we must first have knowledge of the underlying variables determining species distribution. The basis for this work therefore, is the nearshore benthic habitats maps (less than 100 ft depth) created by NOAA's Biogeography Program in 2001 and NOS' bathymetry models. The sampling domain includes all hardbottom habitats around St. Croix at depths less than 30m. The benthic habitat map and a habitat classification scheme were used to create a sample frame constructed with 50 x 50 m grids. Grids were stratified based on three variables: Hardbottom habitat type, depth zone, and region/management area. Habitat within these grids was stratified into 5 habitat categories (scattered coral/ rock, pavement, bedrock, patch reef and linear reef) each with two depth classifications (shallow (0-11.9 m) and deep (12- 30m)). Further stratification was assigned based on management zones and region of the island. There are three managed areas in St. Croix. Two federal marine protected areas are managed by the Department of Interior's National Park Service: Buck Island Reef National Monument and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Reserve. The St. Croix East End Marine Park is a territorial marine protected area managed by the USVI Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Other strata include specific regions of St. Croix: North, East, West, and South shores. Overall there were 70 possible strata: 5 habitat types, 2 depth zones and 8 management areas/regions. The monitoring objectives of this protocol are to determine status, trends, and variability in exploited reef fish species and communities within the USVI region and inside vs. outside different management zones, using measures such as relative abundance (density), spatial distribution, size structure and diversity. The survey design is optimized for nine economically and ecologically important species in the USVI: blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus). queen triggerfish (Balistes vetula), coney (Cephalopholis fulva), red hind (Epinephelus guttatus), foureye butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus), French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum), yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus), stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride) and threespot damselfish (Stegastes planifrons). These species were chosen to include a broad range of life history traits as well as a variety of habitat utilization patterns. The sample design is optimized with the respect to these species, but because all fish species are recorded, monitoring efforts also obtain important information about many non-targeted species, the overall trophic structure, and form the scientific basis for effective management actions. As such, the sample allocation for this mission is based upon the existing community metrics and the above species specific distribution from the northeast region of St. Croix. It was determined that 250 samples among the various strata would be sufficient to characterize hard bottom habitats around the island and have comparable coefficient of variation (CV) to values observed in the northeast region of St. Croix. The goal was to survey as many of the 250 sites as possible in a two week time period. We organized a strong science field team and completed 286 fish and benthic surveys around the island.

Purpose:

To determine status, trends, and variability in exploited reef fish species, and fish and benthic communities within the USVI region and inside vs. outside different management zones, using measures such as relative abundance (density), spatial distribution, size structure and diversity.

Notes:

860

Supplemental Information:

This work is being conducted in collaboration with the NOAA's Biogeography Branch, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Department of Interior National Park Service, Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of Miami.

Keywords

Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
UNCONTROLLED
CoRIS Discovery Thesaurus Numeric Data Sets > Fish Census
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Ecological Dynamics > Species richness
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Belt transect
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Biosphere > Zoology > Corals > Reef monitoring and assessment > Reef fish census > Linear transect
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Animal association
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Coastal Processes > Mangroves > Monitoring
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish assemblages
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Fish > Fish Census
CoRIS Theme Thesaurus EARTH SCIENCE > Oceans > Marine Biology > Marine Plants > Seagrass > Monitoring
ISO 19115 Topic Category 002
ISO 19115 Topic Category 007
ISO 19115 Topic Category 014
ISO 19115 Topic Category biota
ISO 19115 Topic Category environment
ISO 19115 Topic Category oceans
NOS Data Explorer Topic Category Environmental Monitoring
None coral reef fishes

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
UNCONTROLLED
CoRIS Place Thesaurus COUNTRY/TERRITORY > United States of America > U. S. Virgin Islands > St. Croix > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
CoRIS Place Thesaurus OCEAN BASIN > Atlantic Ocean > Caribbean Sea > Virgin Islands > Virgin Islands > St. Croix (17N064W0003)
CoRIS Region USVI

Physical Location

Organization: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Entity Attribute Overview:

We supply abundance and size information of fish species at the lowest possible taxonomic level. This information is collected across all nearshore Hardbottom habitat types. In addition, we provide photographs of many of the taxa. For specific information please see the data dictionary available on the database website.

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:

NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch

Distribution Liability:

These data were prepared by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. Any views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Although all data have been used by NOAA, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA as to the accuracy of the data and/or related materials. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by NOAA in the use of these data or related materials.

Data Set Credit: This is a cooperative effort between NOAA's Biogeography Branch, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Department of the Interior National Park Service, Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of Miami.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 475437
Date Effective From: 2012-10-25
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address: NCCOS.data@noaa.gov

Distributor

CC ID: 475439
Date Effective From: 2012-10-25
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address: NCCOS.data@noaa.gov

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 475440
Date Effective From: 2012-10-25
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address: NCCOS.data@noaa.gov

Point of Contact

CC ID: 475438
Date Effective From: 2012-10-25
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address: NCCOS.data@noaa.gov

Principal Investigator

CC ID: 475441
Date Effective From: 2012-10-25
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Jeffrey, Chris
Email Address: chris.jeffrey@noaa.gov

Extents

Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 475444
W° Bound: -64.965
E° Bound: -64.433
N° Bound: 17.86
S° Bound: 17.616

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 475443
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2012-05-07
End: 2012-05-19

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:

None

Data Use Constraints:

Please reference NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCMA/Biogeography Branch when utilizing these data in a report or peer reviewed publication. Additionally, knowledge of how this dataset has been of use and which organizations are utilizing it is of great benefit for ensuring this information continues to meet the needs of the management and research communities. Therefore, it is requested but not mandatory, that any user of this data supply this information to the Program Managers: Randy Clark (Randy.Clark@noaa.gov) or Chris Jeffrey (Chris.Jeffrey@noaa.gov)

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 475446
Download URL: http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/biogeo_public/reef_photos.aspx
Distributor:
Description:

Downloadable data

File Type: .jpg

Distribution 2

CC ID: 475445
Download URL: http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/bpdmWeb/queryMain.aspx
Distributor:
Description:

Downloadable data

File Type: tab delimited text file

URLs

URL 1

CC ID: 475434
URL: http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/bpdmWeb/queryMain.aspx
URL Type:
Online Resource

URL 2

CC ID: 475435
URL: http://www8.nos.noaa.gov/biogeo_public/reef_photos.aspx
URL Type:
Online Resource

URL 3

CC ID: 475436
URL: http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coralreef/reef_fish/
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 475469
Activity Date/Time: 2014-08-07
Description:

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 475468
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05
Description:

Converted from Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using 'fgdc_to_inport_xml.pl' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Data Quality

Completeness Report:

This data consists of fish community surveys across all shallow (less than 30m) hardbottom marine habitats around St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Sites were selected using a stratified random survey design.

Conceptual Consistency:

Not applicable

Lineage

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 475431
Description:

Once in the field, the boat captain navigates to previously selected sites using a handheld GPS unit. On-site, divers are deployed and maintain contact with each other throughout the entire census. One diver is responsible for collecting data on the fish communities utilizing the belt-transect visual census technique over an area of 100m2 (25m length X 4m width). The belt-transect diver obtains a random compass heading for the transect prior to entering the water and records the compass bearing (0-360o) on the data sheet. Visibility at each site must be sufficient to allow for identification of fish at a minimum of 2m away. Once reasonable visibility is ascertained, the diver attaches a tape measure to the substrate and allows it to roll out for 25m while they are collecting data. Although the habitat should not be altered in any manner by lifting or moving structure, the observer should record fish seen in holes, under ledges and in the water column. To identify, enumerate, or locate new individuals, divers may move off the centerline of the transect as long as they stay within the 4m transect width and do not look back along area already covered. The diver is allowed to look forward toward the end of the transect for the distance remaining (i.e. if the diver is at meter 15, he can look 10 meters distant, but if he is at meter 23, he can only look 2 meters ahead). On-site, no attempt to avoid structural features within a habitat such as a sand patch or an anchor should be made as these features affect fish communities and are "real" component of the habitats. The only two instances where the transect should deviate from the designated path is to stay above 110 ft (limitations imposed by diving) or while surveying mangrove habitats. In mangrove areas, the diver swims close to the prop roots and looks as far into the mangroves as possible; up to 2m and then out to the edge of the mangrove overhang such that the total area surveyed is still 100m2. In this case, some of the survey may necessarily fall on seagrass habitat. This is allowed as the mangrove habitat is defined as a transition zone habitat. The transect should take 15 minutes regardless of habitat type or number of animals present. This allows more mobile animals the opportunity to swim through the transect, and standardizes the samples collected to allow for comparisons. Data are collected on the following: 1) Logistic information - diver name, dive buddy, date, time of survey, site code, transect bearing. 2) Taxa presence - as the tape roles out at a relatively constant speed, the diver records all fish species to the lowest taxonomic level possible that come within 2m of either side of the transect. To decrease the total time spent writing, four letter codes are used that consist of the first two letters of the genus name followed by the first two letters of the species name. In the rare case that two species have the same four-letter code, alternate four-letter codes are used to distinguish between the species. These alternate codes contain the first two letters of the genus, the first letter of the species and then the first letter in the species name that differs from the other code. If the fish can only be identified to the family or genus level then this is all that is recorded. If the fish cannot be identified to the family level then no entry is necessary. 3) Abundance and size - the number of individuals per species is tallied in 5cm size class increments up to 35cm using visual estimation of fork length. If an individual is greater than 35cm, then an estimate of the actual fork length is recorded. 4) Photos - individuals too difficult to identify or unique in some manner may be photographed for later clarification. (continued...)

Process Date/Time: 2012-10-25 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 475432
Description:

(continued from above) Data Caveats: Site selection is different from prior Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CCREMP) data collection. This data set is the first time a sampling frame has been used to do site selection. CCREMP surveys (2000-2011) had stations on hard- and soft- bottom habitats; this dataset is from hardbottom sites only. CCREMP surveys were conducted only in the northeast portion of St. Croix; primarily waters less than 30 m from Green Cay to Point Udall. This dataset reflects surveys from hardbottom habitats in waters less than 30m around the entirety of St. Croix. (end continuation)

Process Date/Time: 2012-10-25 00:00:00

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 39571
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:39571
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 12:53+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2017-04-17
Owner Org: NCCOS
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2017-04-17
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2018-04-17