Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
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.
Terrigenous sediment run-off and deposition on coral reefs can significantly impact coral health by blocking light and inhibiting photosynthesis, directly smothering and abrading coral, and triggering increases in macro algae. The delivery of sediment and pollutants to reefs have increased globally as a response to human-induced changes to watersheds, as pointed out in the U.S. Commission on...
Based on rates of vertical reef accretion in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific, it is unlikely that reefs there and other locations will keep pace with the rising sea levels, and their inability to do so will lead to subtle but important changes in selected physical processes on some coral reefs.
Coral reefs are facing increasing stress from climate change (elevated sea-surface temperatures and acidification), combined with local stresses from over-fishing and sedimentation and other sources of land-based pollution. In light of the potential for these stressors to increase the rate of coral reef degradation to epidemic levels, coral reef scientists and managers world-wide are shifting...
Due to the deforestation of the island of Kahoʻolawe, there is a significant problem with erosion and sediment run-off into the nearshore environment.
USGS is working to identify circulation patterns and a sediment budget for Hanalei Bay to help determine any effects to the coastal marine ecosystem including coral reefs.
On unconsolidated low-lying coral atoll islands like Kwajalein, their extreme vulnerability to changing oceanic and atmospheric conditions represents a serious threat to communities through impacts on food and water security, public safety, and environmental health.
The USGS has been heavily involved in efforts to improve the health and resilience of Maui's coral reef system, bringing expertise in mapping, circulation and sediment studies, and seismic surveys.