Data were collected on the following:
1) Logistic information - diver name, dive buddy, date, time of survey, site code, and meter numbers at which the quadrat is placed.
2) Habitat structure - To characterize the benthic habitats of the dive site, the habitat diver identified the percentage of high- and low relief coral structure within a 25m radius circle of the centroid of the sampling unit.
3) Transect depth profile - the depth at each quadrat position. Depth is measured with a digital depth gauge to the nearest 1ft.
4) Abiotic footprint - defined as the percent cover (to the nearest 1%) of sand, rubble, hard bottom, fine sediments, and other non-living bottom types within a 1m2 quadrat. Rubble refers to rocks and coral fragments that are moveable; immovable rocks are considered hard bottom. The percent cover given as a part of the abiotic footprint should total 100%. In a hard coral area for example, despite the fact that living hard corals may provide 50% cover the underlying substrate is 100% hard substrate so this is what is recorded. The diver then estimates the height (in centimeters) of the hardbottom within each quadrat from the substrate to get a sense of bottom relief.
5) Biotic footprint - defined as the percent cover (to the nearest 0.1%) of macroalgae, live corals, sponges, gorgonians, and other biota (tunicates, anemones, zooanthids and hydroids) within a 1m2 quadrat. The remaining cover is recorded as bare substrate to bring the total to 100%. Again, the diver must use a planar view to estimate percent cover of the biota. Species covering less than 0.1% of the area are not recorded. Taxa are identified to the following levels: stony coral-species, algae-morphological group (macro, turf, crustose), sponge-morphological group, and gorgonians-morphological group. For stony corals, the approximate area covered by living coral tissue is recorded. Coral skeleton (without living tissue) is usually categorized as turf algae or uncolonized substrate. Data on the condition of coral colonies are also recorded. When coral is noticeably bleached, the entire colony is considered affected and is recorded to the nearest 0.1%. Diseased/dead coral refers to coral skeleton that has recently lost living tissue because of disease or damage, and has not yet been colonized by turf algae. Turf algae include a mix of short (less than 1cm high) algae that colonize dead coral substrate.
6) Maximum canopy height - for each soft biota type (e.g., gorgonians, sponges-except encrusting form, algae), maximum height is recorded to the nearest 1cm.
7) Abundance of queen conchs (Strombus gigas) - conch encountered within the 25m x 4m belt transect are enumerated.
8) Abundance of spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) - a count of the total number of lobsters encountered within the 25m x 4m belt transect.
9) Abundance of long-spined urchin (Diadema antillarium) - a count of the total number of urchins encountered within the 25m x 4m belt transect.
10) Photos - 2 photos are taken in opposite directions at each location to document the surrounding habitat. Additional photos may be taken to document disease, bleaching or other events of note.
11) Marine debris - type of marine debris within the transect is noted. The size of the marine debris and area of habitat that it is affecting is also recorded along with a note identifying any flora or fauna that has colonized it.