Improving accessibility and visualization of Puerto Rico coral reef data

The visualization of biological datasets is paramount to better understand global change related to variable oceanographic conditions. In this regard, the NOAA Coral Reef Connservation Program (CRCP) funded Puerto Rico Coral Reef Monitoring Program (PRCRMP) of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), becomes an essential tool. The PRCRMP includes benthic and fish observations throughout the Puerto Rico archipelago since 1999, with a special emphasis on the condition of natural protected areas. CARICOOS, with US IOOS support, is currently working along with the DNER and U.S. partners of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS USA) and the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON USA) to translate the PRCRMP database following the Darwin Core standard which offers a consistent and flexible framework for compiling biodiversity data. The end goal of this project is to incorporate the database into MBON to visualize coral reef data from Puerto Rico through a GIS-based application. Ultimately, with this effort, CARICOOS hopes to address common research, management, and data sharing needs in Puerto Rico by improving data accessibility and use in data-driven decision-making and resource management. CARICOOS envisions that the process developed to translate and visualize PRCRMP data could act as a transferable framework for other available biological and environmental datasets.

Figure 2. Map application of the IOOS Marine Biodiversity Observation Network Data Portal. The Florida Coral Reef Evaluation and Monitoring Program (FL CREMP) has served as a model to translate and visualize the PRCRMP database. Source: Florida Coral Reef Evaluation & Monitoring Project (CREMP). Available at: