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The goals and objectives of the project are:
- Determine reef fish habitat utilization patterns
within and outside main Hawaiian Island Marine Protected
- Determine the efficacy of main Hawaiian Island Marine
Protected Areas under various management regimes; and,
recommendations to Hawaii DLNR on the efficacy of
existing Marine Protected Areas and suggest additional areas
for protection based on species habitat requirements.
CCMA's Biogeography Branch of NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS) has
developed digital benthic habitat maps for pilot study areas in Hawaii
. The integrated mapping and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems and
reef fish habitat utilization patterns has been designed to help resource
managers make informed decisions. Coupling the distribution of habitats
and species habitat affinities using GIS technology enables the elucidation
of species habitat utilization patterns for a single species and/or
assemblages of animals. This integrated approach is useful in quantitatively
defining essential fish habitat and defining biologically relevant boundaries
of marine protected areas.
By integrating assessments of the distribution and quality of habitats
and associated reef fishes, NOS and its partners are providing an analytical
justification to define and support MPA boundaries. The Hawaii Department
of Land and Natural Resources has requested that NOS implement the approach
taken in the USVI and Puerto Rico to aid in evaluating the designation
and effectiveness of marine reserves under various management strategies.
A science-based assessment of the effectiveness of Hawaii 's MPA system
supports the federally mandated marine protected area (MPA) and essential
fish habitat (EFH) initiatives. This approach will not only help resource
managers in Hawaii evaluate existing MPAs and help design new protected
areas, its will also lay the groundwork for large-scale comparisons
throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, the US Pacific, and US Caribbean.
Over the past four decades, Hawaii has developed a network of eleven
Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) to conserve and replenish
marine resources around the state. These MLCDs vary in size, habitat
quality, and management regimes, providing an excellent opportunity
to tests hypotheses concerning marine protected area (MPAs) design and
function using multiple discreet sampling units. Coupling the distribution
of habitats and species habitat affinities using GIS technology enable
the elucidation of species habitat utilization patterns at scales that
are commensurate with ecosystem processes and is useful in defining
essential fish habitat and biologically relevant boundaries for MPAs.
NOAA's Biogeography Branch developed digital benthic habitat maps for
most MLCDs and adjacent habitats that were used to evaluate the efficacy
of existing MLCDs using a spatially explicit stratified random sampling
design. Results show that MLCDs had higher values for most fish assemblage
characteristics (e.g. biomass, size, diversity) compared with adjacent
control areas across all habitat types. In addition, apex predators
and other targeted resources species were more abundant and larger in
the MLCDs, illustrating the effectiveness of these closures in conserving
fish populations. Habitat complexity, quality, size and level of protection
from fishing were important determinates of MLCD effectiveness with
respect to their associated fish assemblages. If protective areas are
to be effective, they must include the diversity of habitats within
the entire ecosystem in order to accommodate the wide range of species
Mean biomass (t ha-1) by trophic guild on hardbottom habitat only among all MLCDs and the Moku o Loe refuge.
Reports and Publications
- Friedlander, A.M., L.M. Wedding, E. Brown, M.E. Monaco. 2010. Monitoring Hawaii’s Marine Protected Areas: Examining Spatial and Temporal Trends Using a Seascape Approach. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 117. Prepared by the NCCOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Biogeography Branch. Silver Spring, MD. 130 pp.
- Friedlander, A.M., E.K. Brown, M.A. Monaco, and A.
Clark. 2005. Fish Habitat Utilization Patterns and Evaluation of the Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas in Hawaii: Integration of NOAA Digital Benthic Habitat Mapping and Coral Reef Ecological Studies NOAA Technical Memorandum
NOS NCCOS 23. 210p.
- Fish Habitat Utilization Patterns and the Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands
- Friedlander, A.M., E.K. Brown, M.E. Monaco. 2005.
Coupling Ecology and GIS Technology to Evaluate the Efficacy
of Marine Protected Areas in Hawaii. First International
Marine Protected Areas Congress. Oral Presentation, Australia,
- Friedlander, A.M, E. Brown, and M.E. Monaco. 2007. Defining reef fish habitat utilization patterns in Hawaii: comparisons between marine protected areas and areas open to fishing.
- Friedlander, A.M., Brown, E.K, and M.E. Monaco. 2007. Coupling ecology and GIS to evaluate efficacy of marine protected areas in Hawaii.
- NOAA Press Release: NOAA study finds Hawaiin marine life conservation districts effective management approache for fisheries replenishment.
- Wedding, L., Friedlander, A.M. 2008. Quantifying spatial patterns of coral reef fish assemblages to inform marine management actions in Hawaii
- Wedding, L., Friedlander, A.M., McGranaghan, M., Yost, R.S., and M.E. Monaco. 2008. Using bathymetric lidar to define nearshore benthic habitat complexity: Implications for management of reef fish assemblages in Hawaii
- Map products can be obtained from this website
- A relational georeferenced Access database is under
development for all fish and benthic data.
Completed: October 2003 - December 2010
For More Information
Project Manager Mark Monaco
1305 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910