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Application of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) to deep-sea benthic surveys in the Northeast Pacific : lessons from field tests in 2015
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    The Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) is a comprehensive, standard terminology published in 2014. The standard is intended to unify habitat classification efforts, in order to allow for broader integration and comparison of data. The standard is well-developed, and has been implemented in some regions, but CMECS not been tested extensively in the deep sea. NOAA has set a milestone to adopt recommended best practices and standards, such as CMECS, within NOAA's Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping Program, since 2013 (NOC 2013), so there is a timely need for guidance directed toward the deep-sea research community about how to apply this standardized methodology. This report summarizes the findings from a short-term research project that engaged field teams during three deep-sea benthic surveys in the US Pacific in 2015, including telepresence-enabled cruises in Southern California and Hawaii. The researchers conducted post-cruise analyses to process images from surveys aboard NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, E/V Nautilus from Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), and R/V Shearwater from the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS). Thirty-two remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives and more than 6,400 still images were analyzed using a simple CMECS annotation. The report considered three of the four CMECS components geoform, water column, and substrate. The biotic component was not reported here, this was reserved for separate study. Biotic units can be derived from species diversity and abundance but the quantification of these categories is evolving and needs refinement. [doi:10.7289/V5/TM-NOS-NCCOS-228 (https://doi.org/10.7289/V5/TM-NOS-NCCOS-228)]

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