A Benthic Terrain Classification Scheme for American Samoa

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terrain analysis, bathymetry, benthic habitat, marine GIS, American Samoa, corals

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Coral reef ecosystems, the most varied on earth, continually face destruction from anthropogenic and natural threats. The U.S. Coral Reef Task Force seeks to characterize and map priority coral reef ecosystems in the U.S./Trust Territories by 2009. Building upon NOAA Biogeography shallow-water classifications based on Ikonos imagery, presented here are new methods, based on acoustic data, for classifying benthic terrain below 30 m, around Tutuila, American Samoa. The result is a new classification scheme for American Samoa that extends and improves the NOAA Biogeography scheme, which, although developed for Pacific island nations and territories, is only applicable to a maximum depth of 30 m, due to the limitations of satellite imagery. The scheme may be suitable for developing habitat maps pinpointing high biodiversity around coral reefs throughout the western Pacific.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Marine Geodesy, v. 29, issue 2, p. 89-111