1. Hendee, J.C., J. Halas, P.J. Fletcher, M. Jankulak, and L.J. Gramer. Expansion of the Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network throughout the Caribbean. Proceedings, 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, June 19-24, 2016, Honolulu, HI. International Society for Reef Studies, 526-531, 2016


    The NOAA Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network is a growing number of oceanographic and meteorological monitoring stations situated at coral reef areas of critical concern. The near real-time data from these stations are archived at NOAA and form the basis of daily ecological forecasts for coral bleaching, hydrodynamic events, and other marine environmental events of interest to environmental managers, researchers, and the public. The network began over 15 years ago with NOAA funding as a station in the Bahamas, and grew to include stations in Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Saipan, and with other sources of funding, Jamaica and Little Cayman. However, storms and other realities resulted in the destruction or removal of all of those stations, excluding Little Cayman, which continues operating today as a new buoy design. A new collaboration between NOAA and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center has resulted in the expansion of the network to include two stations each in Belize, Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, plus one in Barbados. Each of these sites has required collaborations among each country's environmental managers and agencies before agreement as to where to place the stations and as to who would be conducting maintenance. The second phase will include four to six new stations among these likely candidates: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bonaire, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Montserrat, San Andres, St. Kitts & Nevis, and St. Lucia & St. Vincent.

  2. Maynard, J., B. Parker, R. Beeden, J. Tamelander, P. McGowan, L. Gramer, S. Heron, M. Kendall, S.C. McKagan, E. McLeod, K. Oleson, and S. Pittman. Coral reef resilience research and management: Past, present and future. Workshop Report, NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, Silver Spring, MD, 44 pp., 2015


    Each year, subject to the availability of funds, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Conservation Program (NOAA CRCP) awards grants for applied research that informs conservation and management of coral reefs within the U.S. and abroad. During recent years, project funds have been awarded to scientists and managers working to increase our understanding of reef resilience and of the application of resilience thinking in management decision-making. Operationally, from a coral reef management perspective, resilience is the capacity of a reef to resist and/or recover in the future given its probable exposure regime and to maintain provision of ecosystem goods and services. The first half of this definition speaks to ecological and engineering resilience and the second to the strong links between ecological and social resilience, especially in areas where communities are dependent on reefs for food security and livelihoods. It is this combination of factors that is of interest to the Coral Program. For the purposes of this report we also use the term "resilience-based management" to mean the application of resilience theory, thinking, and tools to deliver ecosystem-based management outcomes into the future. Used in this way, resilience-based management serves as an approach that managers can take to evaluate whether existing or new actions are likely to maintain ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide as the climate changes. Held in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 4-6, 2014, this workshop represents the first gathering of resilience grantees and coral reef managers funded by NOAA CRCP. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) provided additional support for this workshop. The specific workshop goals were: To bring together NOAA scientists, external partners, and managers who are currently engaged in assessing and managing reefs for resilience in a changing climate to create the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue. Ensure that work across CRCP and partner programs is complementary and that efforts are contributing to and being informed by efforts in other parts of the world. Identify priority research, products, and collaborative projects, and make plans to advance this body of work over coming years in direct partnership with coral reef managers

  3. Gramer, L.J. Dynamics of sea surface temperature variability on Florida’s reef tract. Ph.D. thesis, Open Access Dissertation Paper 1083. University of Miami/Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 207 pp., 2013


    Variability in 5-to 25-year records of hourly mean in situ sea temperature, ocean currents, and meteorology at diverse shallow-water habitats in the Florida reef tract (FRT) is analyzed. Tidal, diurnal, and annual periodicities generally dominate sea temperature variability, with strong variability apparent in the “weather band” of 3-42 d at one reef-flat site, and at the local inertial period at one offshore site near the shelf break. A statistically significant interannual warming trend is also observed at this one offshore site only. Significant covariability between sea temperature and coincident air temperature, wind speed, sea-surface temperature (SST) gradients, and incident radiation (light) is also found. However, this covariability itself varies with an annual period, and differs between sites with similar depths, apparently due to differences in seafloor slope. A coastal ocean reef heat budget is estimated from the hourly mean in situ sea temperature, meteorology, satellite SST, and reanalysis data for each site, together with a model of insolation absorption in the water column and heat exchange at the seafloor. A term for smaller-scale heat advection, the so-called horizontal convection (HC) or thermal siphon, previously observed at coral reefs elsewhere in the world, balances the heat budget. At six of the eight sites analyzed, the budget matches the long-term annual climatology of observed in situ sea temperature variability within estimated uncertainty, and matches full seasons at the two other sites. Budget results also match the observed daily sea temperature variability, with R2  > 0.3, root mean squared error

  4. Gramer, L.J., A.J. Mariano, and J.C. Hendee. Heat budget for Florida reefs: Reef-scale thermal stress via satellite. Proceedings, 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, D. Yellowlees and T.P. Hughes (eds.), Cairns, Australia, July 9-13, 2012. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, 5 pp., 2012


    Variability in multi-decadal records of hourly mean in situ sea temperature at shallow water sites in the Florida reef tract (FRT) is analyzed. Tidal, diurnal, and annual periodicities generally dominate, with both "weather-band" and inertial-period variability apparent at different sites. An ocean heat budget is estimated for an 11-year period based on these data, atmospheric reanalysis, satellite sea-surface temperature fields, an operational surface wave model, and estimates of heat exchange with the seafloor substrate. Coincident in situ meteorological data were used to estimate errors in the budget. A term for a sub-kilometer scale dynamic process, so-called horizontal convection or the thermal siphon, is found to be necessary to balance the heat budget. Results are also very sensitive to the assumed rate of shortwave radiation absorption in the water column. Applications for improved remote sensing of benthic thermal stress at topographically complex coral reefs are briefly outlined.

  5. Gramer, L.J., and J.C. Hendee. Sea surface temperature can be used to predict coral bleaching events. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 91, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  6. Hendee, J., L.J. Gramer, S.F. Heron, M. Jankulak, N. Amornthammarong, M. Shoemaker, T. Burgess, J. Fajans, S. Bainbridge, and W. Skirving. Wireless architectures for coral reef environmental monitoring. Proceedings, 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, D. Yellowlees and T.P. Hughes (eds.), Cairns, Australia, July 9-13, 2012. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, 5 pp., 2012

    Abstract: Over the last ten years several wireless architectures have been developed for transmitting meteorological and oceanographic data (in real-time or near real-time) from coral reef ecosystems in Florida, the Caribbean, Saipan, and Australia. These architectures facilitate establishing trends in environmental parameters and aid in ecosystem modeling and ecological forecasting. Here, existing architectures, as well as those currently in development, are described, incorporating use of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, radio transceivers, wireless digital cellular modems, mobile wireless hotspots, and Android phones. Each architecture is reviewed for advantages and disadvantages, along with some examples of deployments. These summaries provide reef managers and scientists with a suite of options for monitoring, allowing the selection of the most appropriate architecture for the particular needs and capacities of each coral reef location.

  7. Hendee, J.C., and L.J. Gramer. Oceanographic monitoring data are used to prepare ecoforecasts. In Tropical Connections: South Florida's Marine Environment, W.L. Kruczynski and P.J. Fletcher (eds.). IAN Press, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD, 67, 2012

    Abstract: No abstract.

  8. Lirman, D., S. Schopmeyer, D. Manzello, L.J. Gramer, W.F. Precht, F. Muller-Karger, K. Banks. B. Barnes, E. Bartels, A. Bourque, J. Byrne, S. Donahue, J. Duquesnel, L. Fisher, D. Gilliam, J. Hendee, M. Johnson, K. Maxwell, E. McDevitt, J. Monty, D. Rueda, R. Ruzicka, and S. Thanner. Severe 2010 cold-water event caused unprecedented mortality to corals of the Florida Reef Tract and reversed previous survivorship patterns. PLoS ONE, 6(8):E23047, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023047 2011


    Coral reefs are facing increasing pressure from natural and anthropogenic stressors that have already caused significant worldwide declines. In January 2010, coral reefs of Florida, United States, were impacted by an extreme cold-water anomaly that exposed corals to temperatures well below their reported thresholds (16°C), causing rapid coral mortality unprecedented in spatial extent and severity.

  9. Brainard, R.E., S. Bainbridge, R. Brinkman, C.M. Eakin, M. Field, J.-P. Gattuso, D. Gledhill, L. Gramer, A. Green, J. Hendee, R.K. Hoeke, S.J. Holbrook, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, M. Lammers, D. Manzello, M. McManus, R. Moffitt, M. Monaco, J.A. Morgan, D. Obura, S. Planes, R.J. Schmitt, C. Steinberg, H. Sweatman, O.J. Vetter, C. Wilkinson, and K.B. Wong. An international network of coral reef ecosystem observing systems (I-CREOS). In Proceedings, OceanObs09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Volume 2), Venice, Italy, September 21-25, 2009, J. Hall, D.E. Harrison, and D. Stammer (eds.). ESA Publication, WPP-306, 15 pp., doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.09 2010

    Abstract: Coral reefs are complex, biologically diverse, and highly valued ecosystems that are declining worldwide due to climate change and ocean acidification, overfishing, land-based sources of pollution, and other anthropogenic threats. To assist policymakers and resource managers at international, national, and local levels in effectively implementing ecosystem approaches to sustainable management and conservation of coral reefs and their biodiversity, it is necessary to have timely, unbiased integrated ecosystem observations about the conditions of coral reefs and the complex physical and biogeochemical processes supporting them. To provide these interdisciplinary ecosystem observations, an International network of Coral Reef Ecosystem Observing Systems (I-CREOS) is proposed that will organize and build upon existing coral reef observation systems being developed around the globe. This paper uses examples of some developing observation systems to demonstrate some of the approaches and technologies available for acquiring biological, physical, and geochemical observations using combinations of visual surveys, moored instrument arrays, spatial-hydrographic and water quality surveys, satellite remote sensing, and hydrodynamic and ecosystem modeling. This fledgling, and hopefully expanding, network of observing systems represents the early stages of an integrated ecosystem observing system for coral reefs capable of providing policymakers, resource managers, researchers, and other stakeholders with essential information products needed to assess various responses of coral reef ecosystems to natural variability and anthropogenic perturbations. While significant challenges and gaps in the I-CREOS network remain, it demonstrably fulfills the requirements of an operational, integrated, interdisciplinary, coastal component of GOOS. Continued support, further development, and open expansion of this emerging network are encouraged and needed to ensure the continually increasing value of the networks observational and predictive capacity. With common goals to maximize versatility, accessibility, and robustness, the existing infrastructure and capacity provide a foundation by which increased global cooperation and coordination could naturally lead to a globally comprehensive I-CREOS.

  10. Di Nezio, P.N., L.J. Gramer, W.E. Johns, C.S. Meinen, and M.O. Baringer. Observed interannual variability of the Florida Current: Wind forcing and the North Atlantic Oscillation. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 39(3):721-736, doi:10.1175/2008JPO4001.1 2009


    The role of wind stress curl (WSC) forcing in the observed interannual variability of the Florida Current (FC) transport is investigated. Evidence is provided for baroclinic adjustment as a physical mechanism linking interannual changes in WSC forcing and changes in the circulation of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. A continuous monthly time series of FC transport is constructed using daily transports estimated from undersea telephone cables near 27°N in the Straits of Florida. This 25-yr-long time series is linearly regressed against interannual WSC variability derived from the NCEPNCAR reanalysis. The results indicate that a substantial fraction of the FC transport variability at 3-12-yr periods is explained by low-frequency WSC variations. A lagged regression analysis is performed to explore hypothetical adjustment times of the wind-driven circulation. The estimated lag times are at least 2 times faster than those predicted by linear beta-plane planetary wave theory. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed within the context of recent observational and theoretical developments. The results are then linked with earlier findings of a low-frequency anticorrelation between FC transport and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index, showing that this relationship could result from the positive (negative) WSC anomalies that develop between 20° and 30°N in the western North Atlantic during high (low) NAO phases. Ultimately, the observed role of wind forcing on the interannual variability of the FC could represent a benchmark for current efforts to monitor and predict the North Atlantic circulation.

  11. Gentemann, C.L., P.J. Minnett, J. Sienkiewicz, M. DeMaria, J. Cummings, Y. Jin, J.D. Doyle, L. Gramer, C.N. Barron, K.S. Casey, and C.J. Donlon. MISST: The Multi-sensor Improved Sea Surface Temperature Project. Oceanography, 22(2):76-87, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2009.40 2009

    Abstract: Sea surface temperature (SST) measurements are vital to global weather prediction, climate change studies, fisheries management, and a wide range of other applications. Measurements are taken by several satellites carrying infrared and microwave radiometers, moored buoys, drifting buoys, and ships. Collecting all these measurements together and producing global maps of SST has been a difficult endeavor due in part to different data formats, data location and accessibility, and lack of measurement error estimates. The need for a uniform approach to SST measurements and estimation of measurement errors resulted in the formation of the international Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) High Resolution SST Pilot Project (GHRSST-PP). Projects were developed in Japan, Europe, and Australia. Simultaneously, in the United States, the Multi-sensor Improved SST (MISST) project was initiated. Five years later, the MISST project has produced satellite SST data from nine satellites in an identical format with ancillary information and estimates of measurement error. Use of these data in global SST analyses has been improved through research into modeling of the ocean surface skin layer and upper ocean diurnal heating. These data and research results have been used by several groups within MISST to produce high-resolution global maps of SSTs, which have been shown to improve tropical cyclone prediction. Additionally, the new SSTs are now used operationally for marine weather warnings and forecasts.

  12. Gramer, L.J., E.M. Johns, J.C. Hendee, and C. Hu. Characterization of biologically significant hydrodynamic anomalies on the Florida Reef Tract. Proceedings, 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 7-11, 2008. International Society for Reef Studies, 470-474, 2009


    The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) Project uses artificial-intelligence software to implement heuristic models of coral reef ecosystem response to physical conditions. These models use if-then rules to recognize patterns in environmental data integrated in near real-time from multiple sources. One model is described to detect episodic, biologically significant fluxes acting upon coral reefs in the Florida Reef Tract. Data are gathered from in situ sensors and satellites for three sites near the reef crest: Sombrero Key in the Middle Keys, Molasses Reef in the Upper Keys, and Fowey Rocks off Miami. The model recognizes apparent circulation changes that may impact reef ecology. Criteria are in situ sea-temperature variability at near-tidal frequencies, wind velocity variability, and color-derived satellite chlorophyll-a point data. Model ecological forecasts (ecoforecasts) are verified using secondary data not input to the model, including satellite ocean-color imagery, radar-derived ocean surface currents, and divers reports. Events are characterized as being one of wind-driven upwelling; net transport of eutrophic water from outside the FRT; and interaction of Florida Current frontal features with reef topography, possibly modulated by internal wave-breaking. Multiple events are characterized in a 42-month period in 2005-2008.

  13. Hendee, J.C., L.J. Gramer, D. Manzello, and M. Jankulak. Ecological forecasting for coral reef ecosystems. Proceedings, 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, July 7-11, 2008. International Society for Reef Studies, 534-538, 2009

    Abstract: Assessment of coral reef ecosystems implies the acquisition of precision data and observations appropriate for answering questions about the response of multiple organisms to physical and other environmental stimuli. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, we model marine organismal response to the environment in terms of a Stimulus/Response Index (S/RI). S/RI is computed using an approach called heuristic programming, from parameters bounded in subjective terms, which are defined numerically by comparing historical data with expert opinion, so as to match research and our understanding of the process in question. The modeled organismal response is called an ecological forecast, or ecoforecast, and relative possibility and intensity of the response is reflected in a rising S/RI. We have had success to date in modeling coral bleaching response to high sea temperatures plus high irradiance and other parameters. The approach requires, a) highly robust instrumentation (in situ, satellite, or other) deployed for long periods and producing high quality data in near real-time, b) a basic understanding of the process, behavior and/or physiology being modeled, and, c) a knowledge of approximate threshold levels for single or synergistically acting environmental parameters that elicit the phenomenon in question.

  14. Hu, C., F. Muller-Karger, B. Murch, D. Myhre, J. Taylor, R. Luerssen, C. Moses, C. Zhang, L. Gramer, and J. Hendee. Building an automated integrated observing system to detect sea surface temperature anomaly events in the Florida Keys. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47(6):1607-1620, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2008.2007425 2009


    Satellite-derived sea surface temperature (SST) images have had limited applications in near-shore and coastal environments due to inadequate spatial resolution, incorrect geocorrection, or cloud contamination. We have developed a practical approach to remove these errors using AVHRR and MODIS 1-km resolution data. The objective was to improve the accuracy of SST anomaly estimates in the Florida Keys and to provide the best quality (in particular, high temporal and spatial resolutions) SST data products for this region. After manual navigation of over 47,000 AVHRR images collected between September 1993 and December 2005, we implemented a cloud-filtering technique that differs from previously published image processing methods. The filter used a 12-year climatology and ±3 day running SST statistics to flag cloud-contaminated pixels. Comparison with concurrent (±0.5 hour) data from the SEAKEYS in situ stations in the Florida Keys showed near-zero bias errors (<0.05°C) in the weekly anomaly for SST anomalies between -3 and 3°C, with standard deviations <0.5°C. The cloud filter was implemented using IDL for near real-time processing of AVHRR and MODIS imagery. The improved SST products were used to detect SST anomalies and to estimate degree-heating-weeks (DHWs) to assess the potential for coral reef stress. The mean, anomaly, and DHW products are updated weekly and accessible on a web site. The SST data at specific geographical locations were also automatically ingested in near real-time into NOAAs Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) web-based application to assist in management and decision-making through a novel expert system tool (G2) implemented at NOAA.

  15. Hendee, J.C., L. Gramer, D.P. Manzello, and M. Jankulak. Integrating near real-time data for coral reef ecological forecasting. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, 59:525-528, 2008

    Abstract: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has committed to integrating ocean data from a variety of sources into an Integrated Ocean Observing System, and to work towards operational ecological forecasting as part of its Ecosystem Approach to Management. Consistent with this, NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program has committed to integrating coral data from a variety of sources for the specific benefit of coral reef researchers and Marine Protected Area (MPA) managers; and NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, together with its NOAA and University of Miami partners, are contributing to this goal through their Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) project. ICON provides Web-based software to integrate satellite, monitoring station (in situ), and radar data sources in near real-time; and utilizes an inference engine (artificial intelligence software) to provide ecological forecasts using some or all of these data. The capabilities of ICON software are currently being focused upon one area in particular, Molasses Reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, to provide proof-of-concept, and to provide a "discovery prototype" for consideration by the MPA managers assembled at the GCFI conference. Feedback to ICON developers from MPA managers--based upon their own specific management requirements and priorities, and knowledge of the prototype capabilities--is essential to set priorities and enable additional ICON software engineering specifically tailored to MPA managers' needs. Featured in the prototype are several levels of user access: layperson, researcher, site maintainer, MPA manager, and software developer colleague. Depending upon user access, information products can include recent and historical single-source and integrated data output, custom graphics output, and ecological forecasts for coral bleaching, coral spawning, upwelling, pollution impacts and larval drift.

  16. Hendee, J.C., L. Gramer, J.A. Kleypas, D.P. Manzello, M. Jankulak, and C. Langdon. The Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON): Sensor solutions for sensitive sites. Proceedings, Third International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks, and Information Processing, Melbourne, Australia, December 3-6, 2007. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 669-673, doi:10.1109/ISSNIP.2007.4496923 2008


    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) has been operational since 2000 and works closely with most U.S. Government and many international environmental partners involved in coral reef research. The ICON program has pioneered the use of artificial intelligence techniques to assess near real-time data streams from environment sensor networks such as the SEAKEYS Network (Florida Keys), the Australia Institute of Marine Science Weather Network, NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division network in the Pacific, and its own Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) of stations in the Caribbean. Besides its innovative approach to coral monitoring station deployments, the ICON program recently pioneered techniques for the near real-time integration of satellite, in situ, and radar data sources for purposes of ecological forecasting of such events as coral bleaching, coral spawning, upwelling, and other marine behavioral or physical oceanographic events. The ICON program has also ushered in the use of Pulse-Amplitude-Modulating fluorometry to measure near real-time physiological recording of response to environmental stress during coral bleaching, thus providing even better ecological forecasting capabilities through artificial intelligence and data integrative techniques. Herewith, we describe these techniques, along with a report on new coral calcification instrumentation augmenting the ICON Network sensor array.