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Predictive Modeling of the Distribution of Deep-Sea Corals in the Main Hawaiian Islands
To develop a model to predict likely locations of high densities of two species of deep-sea corals using maps of existing observations of the species of interest, areas of hard seafloor, high resolution bathymetry, and high current velocities.
Main Hawaiian Islands
Occurrences and relative abundance of pink coral (Corallium secundum) and gold coral (Gerardia sp.) from videos of Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) submersible dives are added to an existing HURL database. Data on the occurrence of the deep-sea corals will then be used to look for relationships with the locations of hard seafloor, appropriate depths, and high current velocities. A relatively simple model will be developed and then tested using a subset of the deep-sea coral observation data.
Records of the presence and relative abundance of pink coral (Corallium secundum) and gold coral (Gerardia sp.) have been developed. Grids of the maximum current velocity have also been developed using output from two different models, tuned with data on current velocity changes with depth. A high resolution (10 m) grid of seafloor depths of the model area has also been obtained, and modeling efforts are underway.
Importance to Management
Model results will enable scientists to be more refined in their search for likely locations of deep-sea coral beds. Results can also be used for preliminary planning of subsea communications and power cable routes.
Fiscal Year 2010 Funding
Point of Contact
John Rooney, John.Rooney@noaa.gov