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Benthic Habitat Mapping off Southwest Puerto Rico


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Objectives

Create shallow-water benthic habitat maps for the marine ecosystem off southwest Puerto Rico, including marine areas adjacent to Natural Reserves in Guanica and Belvedere. These maps will be used to support marine resource management and conservation in the Commonwealth. In addition, the maps will enable change detection in an assessment of the effectiveness of restoration activities on the condition of adjacent coral reef ecosystems.

Figure 1. Mapping areas of interest (AOI) for southwest Puerto Rico (includes Guanica) and Belvedere on the west coast.
Figure 1. Mapping areas of interest (AOI) for southwest Puerto Rico (includes Guanica) and Belvedere on the west coast.

Project Summary

As part of a baseline characterization of Guanica Bay, Puerto Rico, in support of watershed restoration (http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coralreef/guanica.aspx), the Biogeography Branch (BB) updated a benthic habitat map off southwest Puerto Rico, extending from Guanica Bay in the east to Cabo Rojo to the west (Figure 1). In addition, in coordination with the NOAA Fisheries Caribbean Field Office, marine areas adjacent to two Natural Reserves were also mapped. The Guanica Dry Forest Reserve (Bosque Estadal de Guanica) is located adjacent to and east of Guanica Bay. The Reserva Natural Finca Belvedere is located in the municipality of Cabo Rojo off the west coast of Puerto Rico, and covers a coastal area of 256 acres of wetlands.  

The mapping effort involves a refinement of existing NOAA benthic habitat maps for the study area. Two major improvements include a reduced minimum mapping unit from one acre to 1000 sq. meters (~1/4 acre) and increased coverage into areas formerly classified as unknown. In addition, a refined classification scheme was used. The digital map product was produced using a technique known as ‘heads-up digitizing’, where digital satellite imagery was visually interpreted and habitats were then delineated in a hierarchical classification scheme.

Products

Completed

Reports and Publications

Tools

Data and Maps

  • Geospatial benthic habitat mapping data and metadata- table below
Data Data Description
Source Imagery
GeoEye Satellite Imagery
- Parguera region
- Belvedere region
Satellite Imagery Description:
Satellite images of Southwest Puerto Rico (SWPR) taken by the multispectral GeoEye-1 sensor. These images are in Imagine (.img) format. There are separate download links for the Guanica/Parguera and Belvedere regions.
Benthic Habitat Map Benthic Habitat Map Description:
ESRI shapefiles representing the benthic habitats mapped in SWPR.
Ground Validation (GV) Sites GV Sites Description:
ESRI shapefiles denoting the location of underwater photos and videos collected to produce the SWPR benthic habitat map.
Accuracy Assessment (AA) Sites AA Sites Description:
ESRI shapefiles denoting the location of underwater photos and videos collected to evaluate the thematic accuracy of the SWPR benthic habitat map.

Partners

Relevant Links

Time Frame

Ongoing: 2010 - 2011

For More Information


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