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USGS Collaborates with Biscayne National Park on Coral-Reef Research

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SHARQ deployed in Biscayne National Park
SHARQ: The Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ) was successfully deployed on coral reefs and seagrass beds in Biscayne National Park. The SHARQ traps water overlying the benthic substrate, enabling 24-hour monitoring of benthic-community metabolism.
Researchers at the Center for Coastal Geology in St. Petersburg recently returned from a successful coral-reef research expedition in Biscayne National Park (BNP). Located on Florida's southeast coast, BNP encompasses a marine coastal environment characterized by coral reefs, mangrove islands, seagrass beds, and a variety of other tropical marine benthic habitats. The close proximity of BNP to a major metropolitan area and agricultural region has raised concern for the health of this marine resource.

Kim Yates, Bob Halley, Phil Thompson, and Alex Moomaw have been monitoring rates of key metabolic processes such as calcification, photosynthesis, and respiration (collectively termed productivity) as a method for quantifying reef health in terms of system functionality. This enables geographic comparisons of system health between different reef environments. Productivity rates associated with representative benthic habitats in BNP were measured using the Submersible Habitat for Analyzing Reef Quality (SHARQ), a large incubation chamber invented by Yates and Halley. The large surface area and water volume isolated by the SHARQ enables 24-hour, community-level productivity measurements for several substrate types including live rock, coral and coral rubble, live sand, and seagrass communities. Halley and Yates are also monitoring the health of reefs located on the southern coast of Molokai, Hawaii (see Related Sound Waves Stories below), and of coral and seagrass communities in Florida Bay. Continued, seasonal monitoring of productivity in BNP and comparison to other reef environments will aid in assessing the health of our nation's coral-reef environments.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Moloka'i Reef Study—Part 2
March, 2000
Coral Reef Studies on Moloka'i: a Progress Report
December, 1999
USGS Looks at Moloka'i's Coral Reefs
May, 1999

Related Web Sites
Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Biscayne National Park
U.S. National Park Service

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Biscayne Nat'l Park Corals

Santa Monica Bay

Salvage for Science

Joint USGS—Monterey Aquarium Cruise

Outreach Teachers Tour WHFC

Students Tour WHFC

West Falmouth Harbor Water Sampling

Meetings World's Largest GIS Conference

Modeling Workshop

SC/GA Coastal Erosion Project

NOAA Data Integration

Staff & Center News Talk at WHFC

New Babies in Western Region

Publications New Coastal & Marine Geology Circular

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