Project Title: Habitat Suitability Modeling for Deep-Sea Corals in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Goal or Purpose

To generate high-resolution predictive maps of potential deep-sea coral habitat in the Northern Gulf of Mexico for use in management, conservation, and future survey planning.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

Predicted distributions are being used to guide future mapping and research efforts and are expected to support a variety of management and conservation purposes. For example, the results are expected to contribute to the review of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s essential fish habitat (EFH) five year review and National Marine Sanctuaries interest in potential new sanctuary sites. The information may also be valuable in identifying coral-rich areas for compensatory mitigation of impacts in the Gulf of Mexico, including impacts that may be identified from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2011 @ $50,000

 
Region(s):
  • Gulf of Mexico Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Figure 1. Interpreted 3D seismic data being used to refine models of deep sea coral habitat suitability. Original data provided by G. Boland (BOEM). Credit: Brian Kinlan, NOAA NCCOS Biogeography Branch
Project Type:
  • Habitat Suitability Modeling
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS NCCOS
Team Members:
  •  None Defined.
Project Title: Habitat Suitability Modeling for Deep-Sea Corals in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Methods/Approach

High-resolution data from better-studied areas (e.g., Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [BOEM] surveys, and U.S. Geological Service surveys) and region-wide lower-resolution information on bathymetry, oceanography and 3D seismic reflectance is being used to refine a global habitat model. Interpreted 3D seismic reflectance maps of potential hard bottom provided by BOEM are facilitating an unprecedented level of detail in model predictions (Figure 1).

Project Results and Management Outcomes

The project results and deliverables are available at the NCCOS project website.

Project Title: Habitat Suitability Modeling for Deep-Sea Corals in the Northern Gulf of Mexico
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:

FY11_06_image.jpg
Figure 1. Interpreted 3D seismic data being used to refine models of deep sea coral habitat suitability. Original data provided by G. Boland (BOEM). Credit: Brian Kinlan, NOAA NCCOS Biogeography Branch