Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory and CREWS
Scientists that are on the lookout for specific ecological events need to quickly and automatically analyze volumes of environmental data. To assist them, the Perry Institute for Marine Science is working closely with the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) in Miami to install and maintain monitoring stations at remote coral reef sites.
Data from the sites is constantly fed back to the laboratory, one of several National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research laboratories, via satellite as part of the Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS). Instruments aboard each station monitor temperature, light, salinity, wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, dew point, and barometric pressure.
This steady flow of physical and chemical information about the atmosphere and the ocean, helps researchers better understand how changes in the environment affect coral reef health and how coral reef ecosystems can withstand or rebound from environmental changes.
Since the summer of 2001, several significant steps have been taken:
- The R/V Kristina, the first of the stations in the wider Caribbean region, was installed at Rainbow Gardens Reef near Lee Stocking Island and began transmitting data back to the laboratory in August 2001.
- In the summer of 2002, a second monitoring station was installed near St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and began transmitting data.
- In the summer of 2003, a new monitoring station similar to the one in St. Croix replaced the R/V Kristina.
- Other monitoring stations and additional monitoring equipment installations are being planned for areas throughout the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
For more information on the Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) and real-time data visit: www.coral.noaa.gov/crw/real_data.shtml
For more information on the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory visit: www.aoml.noaa.gov
(QUOTE FROM SCIENTIST)
"The Perry Institute for Marine Science -Caribbean Marine Research Center -has been instrumental in the development of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch program. Without it, we would not have been able to rapidly assess the dynamic processes at work and the importance of tidal mixing currents in the bleaching process." Dr. Alan E. Strong
-Team Leader, Marine Applications Science Team -Coral Reef Watch Project Coordinator -National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration