Science and Data Projects

Fish Habitat Conservation Area Mapping and Prioritization Project

ACFHP partnered with the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership and The Nature Conservancy to spatially prioritize fish habitat conservation sites through GIS mapping and analyses for the Atlantic region of the U.S. from Maine to Florida. This effort was split into two separate, sequential projects. The first one covered the geography from North Carolina through the Florida Keys (Southeast Mapping Project, funded by NOAA SERO), and the second project covered from Maine through Virginia (Northeast Mapping Project, funded by NOAA GARFO). Results will help ACFHP, our partners, and various stakeholders better identify locations in need of habitat conservation.

View the final report here.

Access the maps on Databasin here.

Read the guide on how to interpret and use the maps here.

Watch a video on how to use the maps in Databasin here.

Species-Habitat Matrix

The Species-Habitat Matrix is an evaluation of the importance of benthic habitats as space for shelter, feeding, and breeding by coastal fishes and motile invertebrates in ACFHP’s four subregions. The analysis quantified the relationship between over 100 different species across four life stages and 26 different habitats. To access the data, visit Species-Habitat Matrix tool.

To view the results published in BioScience, visit here.

To view the summary report, visit here.

To view press on the Species-Habitat Matrix, click here, here, here, and here.

Hab in the MAB: Characterizing Black Sea Bass Habitat in the Mid-Atlantic Bight

ACFHP finalized a project with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore through a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to study the relationship between black sea bass abundance and habitat characteristics in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Data was collected on black sea bass abundance, stomach contents, and position in the food web, as well as characteristics of the habitats black sea bass are associated with: bottom type, whether a reef is natural or artificial, and the plants, animals, and algae attached to each habitat. This work will lead to a better understand of the importance of habitat and prey community structure on black sea bass feeding ecology.

To see the press release, click here, and to view press on the project, click here.

To view the final report, visit here.

To view the results published in PeerJ, visit here.

Fish Habitat Decision Support Tool

The Fish Habitat Decision Support Tool provides resource managers and the general public with access to the extensive spatial data and results produced from multiple fish habitat assessments. It incorporates intuitive basemaps and mapping features to allow users to explore the details of the assessments and perform subsequent analyses. ACFHP, Downstream Strategies, The Nature Conservancy, and partners created two assessments within the Fish Habitat Decision Support Tool. The first assessment generates predictive models of winter flounder distribution based on a variety of variables in Narragansett Bay and Long Island Sound. The second assessment identifies areas of high alosine fish conservation potential along the Atlantic coast.

Winter flounder final report

Alosine final report

Assessment of Existing Information

The Assessment of Existing Information was completed in 2009 with the primary purpose of informing and enabling conservation planning for ACFHP. It includes three components – (1) a representative bibliographic and assessment database, (2) a GIS spatial framework, and (3) a summary document with a description of methods, analyses of results, and recommendations for future work. The results supported the development of priorities for ACFHP’s conservation efforts within its boundaries.

Assessment of Existing Information Bibliography