Due to the presence of long-standing taxonomic expertise and the relative ease in sampling them, fish, corals and some macroinvertebrates have been well documented. However, this is not the case with the lesser known and cryptic marine invertebrates which compose the majority of the species that inhabit coral reefs. The difficulty in extracting these small organisms from the reef matrix has hampered broad-scale diversity investigations. Thus, methods that can successfully sample the lesser known coral reef fauna need to be developed.
|An ARMS unit attached to the reef|
|Divers intall an ARMS unit|
To date, ARMS have been deployed widely in tropical seas across the globe. Current sites include Moorea, Australia, Reunion, Brazil, Hawaii, American Samoa, the Marianas Islands, Panama, Belize, Papua New Guinea, and the U.S. Central Pacific Islands. They will soon be deployed in the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Indonesia, and the Seychelles. Data from the ARMS will be used to determine the degree to which the communities recruiting to these artificial structures are representative of the reef communities in which they are deployed. While NOAA conducts a broad suite of reef monitoring and observing techniques, the ARMS will provide insights into the components of the coral reef community that SCUBA divers cannot directly quantify.