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Overview

Providing a benthic habitat classification manual, a benthic habitat map for the nearshore waters of the main Hawaiian Islands, and supplemental geospatial data.

Biogeo Collage The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service (NOS) initiated a coral reef research program in 1999 to map, assess, inventory, and monitor U.S. coral reef ecosystems (Monaco et al. 2001). These activities were implemented in response to requirements outlined in the Mapping Implementation Plan developed by the Mapping and Information Synthesis Working Group (MISWG) of the Coral Reef Task Force (CRTF) (MISWG 1999). As part of the MISWG of the CRTF, NOS' Biogeography Branch has been charged with the development and implementation of a plan to produce comprehensive digital coral-reef ecosystem maps for all U.S. States, Territories, and Commonwealths within five to seven years. Joint activities between Federal agencies are particularly important to map, research, monitor, manage, and restore coral reef ecosystems. In response to the Executive Order 13089 and the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, NOS is conducting research to digitally map biotic resources and coordinate a long-term monitoring program that can detect and predict change in U.S. coral reefs, and their associated habitats and biological communities

aerial photograph of Hawaiian island Most U.S. coral reef resources have not been digitally mapped at a scale or resolution sufficient for assessment, monitoring, and/or research to support resource management. Thus, a large portion of NOS' coral reef research activities has focused on mapping of U.S. coral reef ecosystems. The map products will provide the fundamental spatial organizing framework to implement and integrate research programs and provide the capability to effectively communicate information and results to coral reef ecosystem managers. Although the NOS coral program is relatively young, it has had tremendous success in advancing towards the goal to protect, conserve, and enhance the health of U.S. coral reef ecosystems. One objective of the program was to create benthic habitat maps to support coral reef research to enable development of products that support management needs and questions. An initial step in producing benthic habitat maps was the development of a habitat classification scheme. The purpose of this document is to outline the benthic habitat classification scheme and protocols used to map the main eight Hawaiian Islands.

Thirty-two distinct benthic habitat types (i.e., 4 major and 14 detailed geomorphological structure classes; 8 major and 3 detailed biological cover types) within 13 zones were digitally mapped in GIS (geographic information system) using heads-up visual interpretation of orthorectified satellite imagery. Summary results of the mapping effort by habitat mapping class are shown in Tables 1-2.

This DVD will provide the user a suite of information including access to the primary and derived data sets, detailed information on how the mapping was conducted and data was collected, custom tools used to create the product, and reports summarizing the results:

  • Access to primary data sources (i.e., IKONOS imagery, accuracy assessment field data, ground validation field data, spatial accuracy field data)
  • Access to derived data sources (i.e., benthic habitat GIS files, final reports, shoreline GIS files)
  • Directions for using the "habitat digitizer" extension in ArcGIS
  • A description of the specific methods used to create the habitat maps
  • An assessment of the thematic accuracy of the maps

To see or download more information about NOAA’s Coral Reef Mapping Program, visit NOAA’s Biogeography Program

Citation for this document:
Battista, T.A., Costa, B.M., and S.M. Anderson, S.M. 2007. Shallow-Water Benthic Habitats of the Main Eight Hawaiian Islands (DVD). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 61, Biogeography Branch. Silver Spring, MD.

The primary funding source for the development of this product was the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

Table 1: Coral reef habitat thematic content summary of the major and detailed geomorphological structure classes of the MEHI
Coral Reef Structure Type Major and Detailed Habitat Area (km2)
Niihau and Kaula Kauai Oahu Molokai Maui Lanai Kahoolawe Hawaii
Pavement 0.140 127.891 187.895 70.923 32.529 9.136 5.608 1.598
Spur and Groove 0.000 1.103 19.999 6.865 4.201 4.203 0.000 4.086
Individual Patch Reef 0.000 0.000 1.775 0.011 0.127 0.000 0.000 0.000
Aggregated Patch Reef 0.000 0.001 0.646 0.567 0.462 0.028 0.000 0.000
Aggregated Reef 0.000 7.824 10.716 12.081 18.360 5.808 0.000 11.398
Rock/Boulder 98.564 8.115 17.905 15.997 46.169 7.143 0.000 87.157
Pavement with Sand Channels 0.000 21.302 43.440 7.834 0.595 0.000 0.000 0.466
Rubble 0.000 0.495 2.081 0.232 0.110 0.019 0.000 0.157
Scattered Coral/Rock 0.000 0.465 1.292 2.095 0.148 0.023 0.000 0.105
Total Coral Reef and Hard Bottom 98.704 167.196 285.749 116.603 102.702 26.360 13.246 104.969
Sand 14.438 55.746 64.028 51.019 98.996 14.053 6.333 20.069
Mud 0.000 1.643 49.428 6.195 0.657 0.108 0.000 5.067
Total Unconsolidated Sediment 14.438 57.390 113.456 57.215 99.623 14.161 6.403 25.163
Artificial 0.000 0.365 4.689 2.232 0.200 0.076 0.000 0.270
Total Other 0.000 0.365 4.689 2.232 0.200 0.076 0.000 0.270
Total Coral Reef Area 113.142 224.951 403.893 176.049 202.525 40.597 21.219 130.403


Table 2: Coral reef habitat thematic content summary of the major and detailed biological cover classes of the MEHI
Biological Cover Type Major and Detailed Habitat Class Area (km2)
  Niihau and Kaula Kauai Oahu Molokai Maui Lanai Kahoolawe Hawaii
Coral (Major Cover) 5.050 67.064 56.727 32.407 55.918 15.020 10.371 74.705
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 5.050 67.064 52.451 11.191 46.303 9.740 7.263 59.914
50%-<90% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 4.264 10.788 9.615 4.350 3.108 11.917
90%-100% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.011 10.428 0.000 0.930 0.000 2.905
Macroalgae (Major Cover) 0.180 49.748 98.751 57.955 71.785 12.000 0.000 2.025
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 0.180 49.131 87.771 53.854 51.953 7.900 0.000 1.878
50%-<90% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.617 10.164 4.084 8.751 4.100 0.000 0.139
90%-100% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.816 0.017 11.081 0.000 0.000 0.008
Coralline Alg. (Major Cover) 0.640 0.887 4.793 0.074 0.713 0.080 0.000 1.505
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 0.640 0.434 3.964 0.074 0.683 0.080 0.000 1.147
50%-<90% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.452 0.809 0.000 0.030 0.000 0.000 0.358
Seagrass (Major Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.020 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.020 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Turf (Major Cover) 92.770 50.314 132.795 47.820 31.364 5.210 4.444 26.022
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 3.860 5.320 19.670 2.945 1.772 0.990 0.391 4.438
50%-<90% (Detailed Cover) 17.820 44.826 110.287 43.123 28.450 4.170 4.053 18.158
90%-100% (Detailed Cover) 71.090 0.168 2.837 1.752 1.142 0.050 0.000 4.164
Emergent Veg.
(Major Cover)
0.000 0.284 1.779 4.462 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
10%-<50% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.074 0.279 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
50%-<90% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.000 0.003 0.079 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
90%-100% (Detailed Cover) 0.000 0.284 1.703 4.104 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Uncolonized (Major Cover) 14.520 56.288 104.329 30.469 42.047 8.470 6.403 25.106
Total Cover by Island 113.160 224.585 399.174 173.188 201.827 40.780 21.218 130.132