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Dry Tortugas show positive trends: Protected area slowly rebounding
Date:6/23/2008

coral reefs, fish, sharks, lobsters and other marine life. In 2001, after an extensive designation process the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary implemented the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, consisting of 151 square nautical miles of protected marine habitat.

A complete report on the expedition is anticipated to be available in September 2008.

DRY TORTUGAS RESEARCH EXPEDITION
Preliminary Statistics

2008 Mission

  • Total length of expedition = 20 days
  • Number of research divers = 38 total
  • Number of research dives or surveys = 1,710 a new record for the team
  • Types of dives = 1,245 RVC (reef fish visual census); 306 lobster; 80 coral-benthic - (plus another ≈ 250 on NPS Vessel Fort Jefferson during the same time period)
  • Number of dives on which video was captured = 72
  • Dives broken out by entity = UMiami 541; NOAA 515; FWRI 461; NPS 63; REEF 76.
  • Average dives per day = 86
  • Cumulative total bottom time = 1,109.4 hours (or 46.2 24-hour days) underwater
  • Cubic feet of 36% Nitrox Gas = 2,691,740
  • Cumulative depth of dives = 18.91 miles or 99,876 feet undersea (equivalent to 1.53 times the distance from the depths of the Mariana's Trench to the top of Mount Everest)
  • Surveyed 336 primary sampling units (200 m x 200 m) classified grid cells
  • Coral reef habitat surveyed in the Dry Tortugas region = 229,348 square meters (m2)
  • Breakdown of area surveyed = Fish: 221,788 m2; Lobster 6,120 m2 ; Corals-benthic 1,440 m2
  • Total domain actually visited = 0.07% of the total
  • Statistical survey design achieved a coefficient of variation (CV ) of about 15% for population abundance estimates for about 280 species of fish.

Expedition Leaders

Dr. Jerald S. Ault, University of Miami RSMAS (Chief Scientist & Co-Principal Investigator)
Dr. G. Todd Kellison, NOAA Fisheries (Co-Principal Investigator)
Dave McClelland, NO
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Contact: Barbra Gonzalez
barbgo@rsmas.miami.edu
305-421-4704
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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