CRED REA Algal Quadrate Images in the Pacific Ocean 2002-2008
Abstract written by OBIS-USA using excerpts from CRED homepage.
Despite the non-flattering images of “pond scum” many people often associate with algae, marine macrophytes have proven themselves to be among the most diverse, most ecologically important, most prevalent, and most beautiful organisms present in tropical reef systems. Their importance to the ecosystem is staggering: algae form the ... base of the food chain, occupy much of the available substrate, and help to oxygenate the water for animal life to thrive. Additionally, without microscopic symbiotic algae living in healthy coral tissue, most corals would be unable to survive – a scenario that is becoming all too real as coral bleaching events (processes where stressed corals expel their algal symbionts) become more common.
Although large, fleshy algal forms are the most recognizable floral components on reefs to most divers, tiny turf algae and crustose coralline red algae are also extremely prevalent and play significant roles in the ecosystem. Turf algae are the first to colonize vacant substrate and cover essentially every nonliving hard surface on the reef. Turf algae are also among the most important food source for herbivorous fish and invertebrates. Relatively fast growing crustose coralline red algae act as a glue that cements together loose components of the reef system, and serve as a settling surface for larval invertebrates and other algae. Without crustose algae holding everything together, much of the reef would be washed into deep water or onto shore during heavy winter storms.
Clearly, without algae there would be no tropical reef ecosystem, yet marine algae are among the least studied and least understood organisms on the reef. Research is sorely needed to catalog and quantify the species that are present on reef systems around the Pacific, and ecological studies are necessary to examine the role of these critical plants in reef ecosystems.
To accomplish these objectives, CRED is studying tropical reef algae to address the following questions:
(1) What is the best way to quantify algal functional groups (macroalgae, crustose coralline algae, turf algae) in tropical reef settings?
(2) What species are present in each island ecosystem and in what quantity?
(3) Do changes in algal populations serve as a good environmental indicator of reef heath?
(4) How do algal diversity and abundance change over time?
(5) Can biogeographical hypotheses be formulated about algal dispersal and evolution using qualitative and quantitative data from island groups around the Pacific?
A modified Rapid Ecological Assessment technique that incorporates the use of digital cameras and photoquadrats is our primary field method.
The mission of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division is to provide sound science to enable informed and effective implementation of ecosystem-based management and conservation strategies for coral reef ecosystems of the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands Region. To accomplish this mission, the Division leads an integrated, interdisciplinary program of ecosystem assessment and long-term monitoring, ... benthic habitat mapping, and applied research on the coral reef ecosystems of 50 primary islands and atolls in the Hawaiian Archipelago, the Mariana Archipelago (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands), American Samoa, and the Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA). The Division's work supports NOAA and other agencies in meeting mandates of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 and various executive orders issued to ensure conservation and protection of the nation's coral reef ecosystems.
Record Count 33727, Taxa Count 258
CURRENTNESS REFERENCE: ground condition
This will direct you to the OBIS-USA web site. Select Participants and Datasets from the panel on the left. Scroll down to CRED_Benthic_Algae_Photoquad and click on the "Go" button on the right for a Dataset Detail screen where you will see a map of dataset contents, and tabs for options to Get Data, see Metadata, or use the Data Dashboard for that dataset.
(Click for Interactive Map)
Data Set Citation
Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), Pacific Island Fisheries Sciences Center, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
CRED REA Algal Quadrate Images in the Pacific Ocean 2002-2008
Dataset Release Date:
Dataset Release Place:
Coral Reef Ecosystem Division
Data Presentation Form:
Other Citation Details:
Retrieve from http://www.usgs.gov/obis-usa
HORIZONTAL POSITIONAL ACCURACY REPORT: Coordinates were determined using GPS and are accurate to 100 meters.
ACCESS CONSTRAINTS: To view constraints placed on dataset, please see Policy and Disclaimer section (from the panel on the left) on OBIS-USA web site at http://www.usgs.gov/obis-usa.
DISTRIBUTION LIABILITY: OBIS-USA renders information prepared by contributors accessible through dynamic on-line publication. It does not peer-review the quality of the data provided. ... However, it is confident that the data are the best available in electronic form. OBIS-USA does not own or try to control or limit the use of any data or products accessible through its website. Accordingly, it does not take responsibility for the quality of such data or products, or the use that people may make of them.
Users must recognize that the analysis and interpretation of data requires background knowledge and expertise about marine biodiversity (including ecosystems and taxonomy). Users should be aware of possible errors in the use of species names, geo-referencing, data handing and mapping. They should crosscheck their results for possible errors, and qualify their interpretation of any results accordingly. Appropriate caution is thus necessary in the interpretation of results derived from OBIS-USA.
Prior to use of these records in any analysis or report, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) of the Pacific Island Fisheries Sciences Center must be notified and if used the provenance of the original data must be acknowledged. Acknowledge the use of specific records from contributing CRED databases and acknowledge the use of the OBIS-USA facility. Recognize the limitations of data in OBIS-USA.
Data Set Progress
Annette.DesRochers at noaa.gov
Province or State:
Philip.Goldstein at Colorado.edu
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date:
Last DIF Revision Date: