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Free Content The Shallow and Deep Bathymetry of the Banco Chinchorro Reef in the Mexican Caribbean

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This paper presents the use of two complementary remote sensing techniques in the Banco Chinchorro: satellite image and echosound. A cartographic relation was established between the shallower reef depths recorded by Landsat-MSS and those of greater depth recorded with echosound. A bathymetric map of the shallow lagoon areas and reefcrest was generated from the Landsat-MSS image using exponential correspondence between reef depths and corrected digital values in the image. The reef lagoon exhibits a bathymetric gradient from 1 m in the north to 25 m in the south. The echosound data show a pinnacle with depths greater than 300 m. Largely due to intense coral growth, the most pronounced slopes are found near the leeward reefcrest, and the more gradual on the windward margin. The use of these two complementary remote sensing techniques proved an efficient tool for characterizing reef morphology when depth strongly affects the efficacy of one or the other technique. The analytical delimitation of this complex reef is increasingly important because of its recent designation as a biosphere reserve area by the Mexican government. The present study is a pioneering effort that could be used as a pilot in future administrative, conservation, and sustainable management studies.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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