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The good, the bad and the smelly: USGS at the 2008 Coral Reef Symposium
Date:7/7/2008

ATRIS is a lightweight, computer-controlled, towed vehicle that is 1.3 m long with a 63-cm wing span, and an operating tow-depth limit of 27 m, extendable to 90 m. Transect lengths of 56 km can be surveyed in 6 hours. Deep ATRIS can carry a wide variety of instruments, including sensors for measuring salinity, temperature, and chlorophyll, as well as cameras. Images are displayed and archived in real time on a topside computer, along with the corresponding GPS coordinates and imaging distance. The first sea trial was conducted in a coral reef habitat within Biscayne National Park, Florida, in July 2007. Deep ATRIS can provide a wealth of important information for managers and researchers, including percent cover, species abundance and richness, and bed-form characteristics. This information is useful for characterizing essential habitat, assessing changes, monitoring the progress of restoration efforts and ground-truthing other kinds of imagery. The images obtained from Deep ATRIS also reveal the potential for unobtrusive animal observations; fish and sea turtles seem unperturbed by the presence of the vehicle. For more information, contact David Zawada at 727-803-8747, ext 3132, dzawada@usgs.gov.

Barium Provides Clues to Coral Reef Health on Moloka'i, Hawaii: An increase in erosion - and therefore sediment run-off into rivers and oceans -- on the island of Moloka'i, Hawaii, has been linked to intensification of farming, clearing of native vegetation and introduction of feral and domesticated grazing animals. Managers would like to know if and how this increased sediment is affecting coral health in the fringing reef of Moloka'i's southern coast. It is difficult, however, to decisively demonstrate a clear link between land-use patterns and changes in coral condition. Geochemical proxy records from corals offer a technique for recording environmental changes. Since suspended sediment in river water contains mi
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Contact: Catherine Puckett
cpuckett@usgs.gov
352-264-3532
United States Geological Survey
Source:Eurekalert

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