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Improving the success of coral reef management requires a greater understanding of the interactions between coral reef resources and their users.  Coral reefs are complex, nonlinear systems in which the interplay of spatial heterogeneity and stochastic events with environmental factors results in highly variable patterns of resource availability and use. Because it is difficult to capture this interplay in differential equation models of environmental or fishery dynamics, it is reasonable and useful to apply approaches developed specifically for studies of complex systems, such as agent-based models. The development of a Geographic Information System (GIS) to describe the spatial distribution of the data is an important initial step toward the realization of scenario testing within a Dynamic Decision Support Tool (DDST) to aid coral reef management.

While GIS offers great potential for assisting resource managers, it has been avoided by some and inefficiently utilized by others. There are hundreds of digital maps available to managers and most data can be downloaded via the Internet. However, in many of these cases, the expertise or skills required to access the proper digital maps is not usually readily available. NCORE has started the development of the Florida Keys Geographic Information and Decision Support Tool (FK GiDST) to facilitate access of these maps. This Internet-based system will be announced during the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting (2-3 Dec 2004, Miami, FL)  and made available to the public early next year (2005).


The Florida Keys Geographic Information and Decision Support Tool (FK GiDST) working version may now be viewed by collaborators. Please contact NCORE to obtain the password.


Related Projects
WARNING! Displaying digital maps require JavaScript and Arc Explorer browser plug-ins. Click here to download the required software from ESRI (if needed).

Bahamas: A related GIS effort is now being conducted for the Bahamas through the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project  initiated by a consortium of research institutions including NCORE. Click here to view the digital layers (requires password).

Puerto Rico: Working example of digital maps for Puerto Rico is also available from this website. Click here to view the DEM or here to view abridged metadata.

Hawaii DEM: A VRML Internet browser plug-in is required for this page. Click here to download the required utility and click here to load the VRML presentation of the Hawaii islands.