Publication Date




Committee Chair

Mark P. Kumler, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Douglas M. Flewelling, Ph.D.


The Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program manages an online database containing deep-sea coral records. However, their data lacks standardized information about which seafloor feature each coral is located on, a factor which greatly influences their distribution. The goals of the project were to (a) enrich the Program’s deep-sea coral data with coincident geomorphic features, and (b) classify slope position zones for the Eastern U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A standardized and authoritative seafloor geomorphic feature set of 24 feature classes was spatially joined to the coral data and can be used in the Program’s online database. Then, five slope position maps of the Eastern U.S. EEZ were produced using five different neighborhood sizes of topographic position index. Areas of gradual elevation change were not adequately classified while areas of stark elevation change were accurately classified. The standardized global geomorphic features, along with slope position zones, can be used in deep-sea coral habitat models to better elucidate the spatial distribution of coral to develop more effective conservation strategies.


© 2019 Jason Greenstein

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