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: 15
Date published: July 20, 2020
Status: Active

The Value of U.S. Coral Reefs for Risk Reduction

Summary of the report, “Rigorously valuing the role of U.S. coral reefs in coastal hazard risk reduction”

    Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, PhD, Michael Beck
    Date published: July 20, 2020
    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.

    Date published: July 14, 2020
    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: June 26, 2020
    Status: Active

    Featured Photos and Videos

    Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

    Contacts: Laura Torresan
    Date published: June 5, 2020
    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: February 7, 2020
    Status: Completed

    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: February 5, 2020
    Status: Active

    Submarine Groundwater Discharge

    We define submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to consist either of fresh groundwater, re-circulated seawater, or a composite thereof. We evaluate and present SGD in terms of a vector for nutrient delivery to coastal waters.

    Date published: December 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 and assembled a team of experts from state and federal agencies, academia, and private industry to develop the...

    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: June 17, 2019
    Status: Completed

    Estuarine Ecosystem Recovery in Puget Sound

    A clean and abundant sediment supply is critical for building and maintaining viable estuarine and wetland habitats. However, in many coastal regions, dikes, levees, and dams have disconnected water and sediment supply to estuarine and wetland habitats, altering sedimentation patterns, water quality, and nutrient loads. Dike and dam removal have become important methods for restoring river and...

    Date published: June 17, 2019
    Status: Active

    Ecosystem Restoration in San Francisco Bay and Delta

    In many systems, particularly the relatively dry western United States, freshwater that historically flowed into estuaries has been diverted for drinking water, agriculture, and industry. The resulting changes to water flow profoundly altered estuarine ecosystems. CMHRP studies in this complex system...