National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Seafloor Assessments

Seafloor Mapping

Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Regional,Set of sites
Country or countries covered United States
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

The primary objectives of seafloor assessments are to accurately map and quantify the distribution and extent of bottom habitat types. Products developed directly support coastal zone managers tasked with making decisions to balance the competition for space in marine waters.

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

This work directly supports coastal and marine resource management by providing bathymetry and habitat maps of the coastal ocean

Mandate for the assessment

The assessment support the US National Marine Sanctuaries Act and several executive orders including the US National Ocean Plan and US Coral Reef Conservation Act.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

Other (please specify)

Standard Hydrographic survey methods and new methods to develop habitat maps from remotely sensed acoustic imagery.

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

System(s) assessed

  • Marine
  • Coastal
  • Island

Species groups assessed

Live bottom habitats such as coral reefs

Ecosystem services/functions assessed



Supporting Services/Functions

  • Habitat maintenance

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish


Periodicity of assessment

One off

Assessment outputs



Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)

Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

  • Modelling
  • Geospatial analysis

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Prior to any mapping efforts a suite of stakeholder meetings were held to determine where and what to map.

Key stakeholder groups engaged

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

  • Scientific information only
  • Resource experts (e.g. foresters etc)

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Access to funding, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops, Developing/promoting and providing access to support tools

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders


Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

Yes and drives subsequent mapping efforts.

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Meetings and access to products

Additional relevant information