Home > Explore Data & Reports > An introduction to NOAA's National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges


Hourigan, T.F., P.J. Etnoyer, R.P. McGuinn, C. Whitmire, D.S. Dorfman, M. Dornback, S. Cross, and D. Sallis. 2015. An introduction to NOAA's National Database for Deep-Sea Corals and Sponges. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 191. Silver Spring, MD. 27 pp. https://doi.org/10.7289/V5/TM-NOS-NCCOS-191

Data/Report Type:

NOAA Technical Memorandum


NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP) is compiling a national database of the locations of deep-sea corals and sponges, beginning in U.S. waters. The DSCRTP will make this information accessible to resource managers, the scientific community, and the public over the World Wide Web. The database fulfills NOAA's requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to identify and map locations of deep-sea corals and to submit this information for use by regional fishery management councils. At present, there is no comprehensive, national-scale data portal for deep-sea corals and sponges. Given the authorities outlined in the MSA, NOAA's DSCRTP will serve as a central data aggregator and distributor. The DSCRTP will aggregate and make accessible historical records from samples archived in museums, research institutions, and reported in the scientific literature augmented by observations collected during deep-water in situ surveys conducted by NOAA and other research institutions. The database schema accommodates both linear (trawls, transects) and point data (samples, observations). The schema captures information in 95 fields across eight main categories related to surveys (e.g. cruises or expeditions), events (e.g. dives or transects), observations (e.g. specimens or images), as well as taxonomic identification, environment, occurrence details, metadata and record-keeping information. Not all fields are required for submission to the database. The minimal data requirements for point observations, transects, and trawls are outlined in this document. The database represents a new standard to catalyze progress in deep-sea coral and sponge resource management and habitat suitability modeling. Records will be compiled continuously by NOAA, and distributed online in a map atlas format beginning in 2015.

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