The Special Projects Office of NOAA and the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, Florida Marine Research Institute announce the
availability of a set of tools to assist in monitoring, managing, and
protecting the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem. These tools consist
of the Benthic Habitats of the Florida Keys CD-ROM, and a web page.
They represent a new model for the types of tools needed to study,
manage, and protect these resources, not only in the Florida Keys, but
wherever coral reefs exist.
Researchers, resource managers, and concerned citizens can map Florida
Keys coral reefs and seagrass beds, overlay other digital data, and
perform spatial analyses using geographic information systems (GIS).
Thematic data, such as bathymetry, aids to navigation, land, and
protected area boundaries are included on the CD-ROM. As a result, GIS
analyses associated with marine reserve management, monitoring and
research, ship groundings, restoration, and other activities, can be
conducted. Most importantly, the CD-ROM includes all necessary
software. Users can begin immediately to learn more about the Florida
Keys coral reef ecosystem.
The CD-ROM consists of three parts: 1) a narrated multimedia
introduction describing what benthic habitats are, why they are
important and need to be mapped, and how they were mapped to produce the
CD; 2) a mapping capability, based on ArcView Data Publisher; and 3) a
narrated tutorial explaining how to use the mapping capability. Also
provided on the CD-ROM are all of the digital data used in the mapping
module. The software applications needed to view the multimedia
introduction, read and print the documentation, and launch the ArcView
Data Publisher mapping capability are provided on the CD-ROM. The
digital data (benthic habitats, land, bathymetry, aids to navigation,
protected area boundaries, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
boundary, roads, and place names) are provided in ArcView shapefile
format. The benthic habitats geography itself also is provided in
ARC/INFO interchange format.
The World Wide Web page provides an introduction to the Florida Keys
benthic habitats mapping project, example maps and summary statistics,
and internet access to the digital data. Once downloaded, the data can
be used in ArcView and MapInfo. The internet address for the Benthic
Habitats of the Florida Keys web page is:
A Benthic Habitats of the Florida Keys Atlas will soon be available from
the Florida Marine Research Institute. The Atlas will contain 32
full-color plates showing the distribution of benthic habitats in the
Florida Keys, accompanied by descriptions of these habitats. It also
contains detailed descriptions of the physical environments, human
activities, and environmental concerns within the Florida Keys
To learn more about the Benthic Habitats of the Florida Keys mapping
project or to receive a free CD-ROM, contact either:
Dr. Steven Rohmann
NOAA, Room 9650
1305 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
steve.rohmann at noaa.gov
Florida Marine Research Institute
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
100 Eighth Avenue, S.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
friel_c at epic7.dep.state.fl.us
To request a copy of the Benthic Habitats of the Florida Keys Atlas,
contact Christopher Friel at the Florida Marine Research Institute.