Published November 21, 2022 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Biology: Integrating Core To Essential Variables (Bio-ICE) Task Team Report for Hard Corals

  • 1. NOAA
  • 2. USGS
  • 3. PacIOOS
  • 4. EPA, ORISE
  • 5. NOAA, Co-chair Bio-ICE Task Team
  • 6. Consortium for Ocean Leadership
  • 7. Puerto Rico Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • 8. EPA
  • 9. NASA, Co-chair Bio-ICE task team
  • 10. University of South Florida
  • 11. NPS
  • 12. NASA


The Interagency Ocean Observation Committee (IOOC) is chartered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology (SOST). The purpose of the IOOC is to advise, assist, and make recommendations to the SOST on matters related to ocean observations via task teams such as the Biology - Integrating Core to Essential Variables (Bio-ICE) task team. The goal of the Bio-ICE task team is to advance the integration of biological observations from local, regional, and federal sources using best practices to inform national needs and ultimately feed seamlessly into the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), as appropriate. To accomplish this goal, and for the first time at the U.S. federal government level, a subgroup of the Bio-ICE task team focused on tropical, shallow-water (0-30 m) hard corals to identify commonalities between the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) core biological variable1 of “coral species and abundance,” the GOOS Essential Ocean Variable (EOV) “hard coral cover and composition,” the Group on Earth Observations Biological Observation Network (GEO BON) Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), and the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Essential Climate Variables (ECVs). The EOV data allows production of EBVs such as time series of maps of genetic composition, species populations, etc. Recognizing the complementarity of the different essential variable frameworks helps to promote best practices in observing and information management to facilitate data interoperability.

The task team was charged with identifying where there are synergies in terms of spatial and temporal observing requirements and existing observation infrastructure and data delivery, including best practices and standard operating procedures. The task team also made suggestions to improve pathways for data flow for observations of these variables from Regional Associations of the U.S. IOOS, other nonfederal partners, and federal sources. The focus of the task team was on identifying and implementing best practices surrounding standardized data collection and data delivery to make continued progress toward adhering to the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse (FAIR) and Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics (CARE) data principles.

This report focuses on the participating task team agencies collecting hard coral cover data using three common methodologies and highlights synergies in data flow pathways. It points out where improvements need to be made with respect to data accessibility and standardization to enable interoperability. Lastly, this report identifies the challenges associated with each methodology to deliver the EOV of hard coral cover and composition and concludes with recommendations to improve information management and interoperability at a national scale.



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