A CRED diver collects a coral core during a Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP) cruise.
A CRED diver collects a coral core during a Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP) cruise.

The oceanography team of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) monitors coral reef ecosystem health through deployment of long-term moored buoys with data telemetry and subsurface moorings, shipboard sensors, connectivity, temperature, and depth (CTD) casts, water sampling, and hydraulic and pneumatic collection of coral cores. The deployed oceanographic instruments directly measure physical and chemical ocean parameters. All of these monitoring techniques are deployed under the auspices of CRED's Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program and the Coral Reef Conservation Program's new National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan. Ocean parameters measured include near-shore ocean currents, waves, subsurface and surface temperature, water chemistry, salinity, historical coral growth rates and ocean acidification.


The oceanography team collects data through a variety of methods with additional detail outlined in this paper on in situ oceanographic observations (Hoeke et al. 2009, 0.4 MB PDF).


All data collected by the oceanography team is quality controlled and made available for public use; please contact the oceanography team

Advanced users can use the XML web service to incorporate CRED's near real-time instrument data into other external user interfaces and applications. For example, the NOAA National Data Buoy Center (NDBC).

Oceanography Research Objectives

A CRED diver deploying small monitoring instrument.
A CRED diver deploying small monitoring instrument.
  • Provide a time series of high-resolution sea-surface temperature (SST), subsurface sea temperature, salinity, and concentrations of nutrients and chlorophyll-a to better understand the influences of local environmental conditions on the health of the associated coral reef ecosystem.
  • Provide data for Pacific-wide monitoring of ocean acidification and historical coral growth rates.
  • Provide information in support of the periodic but infrequent field observations at monitoring sites. Time-series data provided by moored instruments represent an important component of the field observations and companion to the Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) surveys conducted every three years at monitoring sites throughout the Pacific Island Region.
  • Provide critical ground-truth data for remotely sensed measurements.
  • Provide validation and verification of hydrodynamic and other models used to better understand and predict processes affecting reef ecosystems.
  • Place monitoring observations into a climatological context.