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Enhancing the West Coast Regional Deep-Sea Coral Database

Project Goal

To enhance the usefulness and accessibility of deep-sea coral data collected by NOAA Fisheries and its partners.

Geographic Location

U.S. West Coast


Published data on the presence of corals occurring as catch in fishery-independent trawl surveys and as bycatch recorded by fishery observers were added to the database. Enhancements include references to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) serial numbers to ensure proper taxonomic associations, improved tracking of samples sent for genetic analysis or morphological identification, and common query structures to facilitate faster responses to data requests.


Additional data on deep-sea coral observations and other enhancements were made to the existing Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) database of coral observations off the west coast of the Unites States. Results of common queries will soon be available via a regional data portal, the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) West Coast Habitat Server (http://pacoos.coas.oregonstate.edu).

Importance to Management

The enhanced database will help inform the upcoming review of groundfish essential fish habitat (EFH) by NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. During the last review that ended in 2006, biogenic habitats and risks to those habitats were an important factor in both the identification of Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) and the development of closure areas. Since corals and sponges are important components of biogenic habitats in the region, these updated data deliverables will also play an important role in this current review.


Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) Marine Habitat Viewer: http://pacoos.coas.oregonstate.edu/

Fiscal Year 2009 Funding


Point of Contact

Curt Whitmire, Curt.Whitmire@noaa.gov

Map from the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) Marine Habitat Viewer, showing coral observations (colored circles) from NOAA Fisheries bottom trawl surveys conducted between 1980 and 2007 off the coast of Washington and in relation to five groundfish EFH conservation areas (red polygons) implemented in June 2006.

Credit: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Oregon State University's Active Tectonics & Seafloor Mapping Lab