Project Title: Modeling of Suitable Habitats for Deep-Sea Corals in the US Northwest Atlantic
Goal or Purpose

To utilize habitat suitability modeling along with known deep-sea coral presence data and associated environmental information (e.g., bottom depth, water temperature, type of bottom on which the corals growth, etc.) to predict the location of deep-sea corals based on their known habitat preferences.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

Habitat suitability modeling is a tool that can be used to identify where vulnerable deep-sea corals and deep-sea coral habitats may occur and provide key information on the types of environments in which they live without the enormous costs associated with deep-sea exploration and surveys. Managers can then use this information to target for protection and research those areas with the highest probabilities of finding deep-sea corals.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2011 @ $46,500

 
Region(s):
  • New England Council
  • Mid-Atlantic Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Locations of the major deep submarine canyons and seamounts off the northeastern U.S. coast where deep-sea corals are known to or may occur. Credit: New England Fishery Management Council Habitat Plan Development Team
Project Type:
  • Habitat Suitability Modeling
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NMFS NEFSC
Team Members:
  • Dave Packer
  • Amy Drohan
Project Title: Modeling of Suitable Habitats for Deep-Sea Corals in the US Northwest Atlantic
Methods/Approach

A large database of deep-sea coral presence records from the late 1800’s to the present already exists. Associated environmental information from the region is being obtained and evaluated for quality and compatibility. The coral presence data and associated environmental variables will be utilized in a predictive habitat suitability model called MaxEnt. A preliminary analysis will be conducted for selected areas, and then the results will be tested in the field.

Project Results and Management Outcomes

This project is ongoing. The large database of deep-sea coral presence records from the late 1800’s to the present in the northeast is being reviewed and revised. The associated environmental information from the region is being obtained and evaluated. Once the data is in-hand and processed, the MaxEnt model will be run and a preliminary analysis will be done for selected areas. Results will be tested in the field and better environmental data will be incorporated as it becomes available, in order to enhance our accuracy in predicting coral locations.

Project Title: Modeling of Suitable Habitats for Deep-Sea Corals in the US Northwest Atlantic
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:

FY11_03_image.jpg
Locations of the major deep submarine canyons and seamounts off the northeastern U.S. coast where deep-sea corals are known to or may occur. Credit: New England Fishery Management Council Habitat Plan Development Team