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CRED REA Algal Quadrate Images in the Pacific Ocean 2002-2008
Citation
Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), Pacific Island Fisheries Sciences Center, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. 2011. CRED REA Algal Quadrate Images in the Pacific Ocean 2002-2008. Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, Honolulu, HI.Retrieved from http://www.usgs.gov/obis-usa/.

Access data
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Description
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. more

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. Abstract was written by OBIS-USA using Excerpts from CRED Homepage.

Scope
Themes:
Biology
Keywords:
Marine

Contributors
Federal Government of the United States of America; Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), moredata provider
Federal Government of the United States of America; Department of Commerce; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Marine Fisheries Service; Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), moredata provider

Related datasets
Published in:
OBIS-USA: US Ocean Biogeographic Informaton System, more

URLs

Dataset status: Completed
Data type: Data
Data origin: Monitoring: field survey
Metadatarecord created: 2012-12-12
Information last updated: 2012-12-12
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