Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coastal Ecosystems

Habitats and Ecosystems: The USGS studies geologic and oceanographic processes that create and maintain habitats for coral, clams, crabs, salmon, and other ocean and estuary inhabitants. USGS studies of currents, suspended sediment, and groundwater chemistry, for example, help assess natural and human influences on the health of coral reefs. High-resolution seafloor mapping characterizes the seabed as rocky, sandy, or muddy; and bottom photos help identify the organisms that occupy those habitats.

Filter Total Items: 11
Date published: December 9, 2019
Status: Active

Featured Photos and Videos

Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

Contacts: Laura Torresan
Date published: October 16, 2019
Status: Active

California Seafloor Mapping Program

The California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) is a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal/marine geologic and habitat base map series for all of California's State waters. The California Ocean Protection Council (COPC) authorized funds to establish the CSMP in 2007 (...

Date published: September 6, 2019
Status: Active

Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

A Pacific Northwest icon, Puget Sound is the second-largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to growth in human population and urbanization. This growth has played a role in degrading the Sound...

Date published: August 23, 2019
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project: Puerto Rico

To better understand how waves move across coral reefs and cause flooding on tropical shorelines, USGS scientists have installed video cameras and oceanographic instruments off San Juan and Rincón, Puerto Rico. Their work is part of a study funded by USGS after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The offshore instruments measure wave heights and speeds; the onshore video cameras show where waves break...

Date published: July 15, 2019
Status: Active

USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project

The Elwha River Restoration Project...

... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...

Date published: July 15, 2019
Status: Active

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to...

Date published: July 15, 2019
Status: Active

Coral Reef Project

Explore the fascinating undersea world of coral reefs. Learn how we map, monitor, and model coral reefs so we can better understand, protect, and preserve our Nation's reefs.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi
Date published: October 16, 2018
Status: Active

Submarine Groundwater Discharge

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an ubiquitous coastal process that is driven by a composite of climatologic, hydrogeologic, and oceanographic processes. For example, terrestrial hydraulic gradients that reflect both short and long term climatic conditions almost always transport both surface and ground water toward the coast. In coastal waters, physical oceanographic processes such as...

Date published: January 1, 2005
Status: Completed

Should Englebright Dam Be Removed?

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's study from 2001-2004, on Englebright Dam and the science behind its removal.

Date published: January 1, 2005
Status: Completed

Mud Damages Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's research from 2000-2004, on how mud damages hawaiian coral reefs.

Date published: January 1, 2004
Status: Completed

Island-hopping Coral Larvae in Hawaii

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's 2003 study on island-hopping coral larvae in Hawaii.

Contacts: Curt Storlazzi