Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
SEAFLOOR AND SEDIMENT CHARACTERIZATION USING THE USSEABED GEOLOGIC DATABASE
Institutions and organizations responsible for managing and protecting the marine regions of the United States are faced with the significant challenge of managing vast expanses of the coastal, nearshore, and offshore regions using sometimes limited available data. The challenge is using today’s data to manage tomorrow’s resources. Because these offshore areas are increasingly important for a variety of purposes, up-to-date and integrated computer geologic databases and GIS geologic maps are needed by diverse users. To satisfy this need, the U.S. Geological Survey has developed the usSEABED database, a nation-wide compilation of published and previously unpublished sediment-texture and other geologic data about the seafloor from diverse sources, collected by a variety of methods over the past several decades of surveys and studies. This was done using the dbSEABED database system, an innovative database system developed at universities including the University of Colorado. dbSEABED brings assorted data (e.g., analytical, descriptive, visual) together in a unified searchable database that can be linked to various GIS systems for making maps and other visualizations of seafloor geologic and sedimentologic character. To date, three usSEABED data releases have been published by the USGS for the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coast. Data release reports for other regions are nearing completion, as well as updated versions of the three data release publications.
The USGS, using usSEABED, is engaged in the development and implementation of a scientifically rigorous series of regional-scale geologic and benthic habitat maps of the seafloor in support of studies to characterize and assess potential marine sand and gravel resources and characterize habitats around the United States. Initial map and resource assessment products have been developed for offshore New York and New Jersey and for the Gulf of Mexico region, Florida to Texas. A suite of maps and resource assessment model results are nearing completion for the U.S. Atlantic shelf region, Long Island to Florida. Currently the database is also being used by NOAA, The Nature Conservancy, Massachusetts, Texas, and other organizations for habitat modeling and mapping as part of their missions for management and protection of offshore regions.