Seafloor morphology and coral habitat variability in a volcanic environment: Kaloko-Honokohau National Park, Hawaii, USA

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Abstract

Kaloko–Honokohau National Historical Park (KAHO) is one of three National Park lands along the leeward, west, or Kona, coast of the island of Hawaii, USA. The park includes 596 acres (2.4 km2) of submerged lands and marine resources within its official boundaries. The offshore region of KAHO, part of the insular shelf of the island of Hawaii, comprises a volcanic embayment that extends nearly 3.5 km alongshore and varies in width between 120 and 875 m from the shoreline to the 40 m isobath, the limit of the high-resolution bathymetry. Multiple Holocene volcanic flows coalesce within Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (KAHO) on the island of Hawaii to create a complex offshore morphology. The volcanic-dominated morphology includes flat to gently sloping volcanic benches, boulder fields, cliffs and ledges, pinnacles, ridges, arches, and steep shelf escarpments. Each of these environments provide distinct habitat zones for coral species, ranging from isolated heads of Porites lobata and Pocillopora meandrina to dense thickets of Porites compressa. In contrast to coral habitat elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands, where coral typically populates relict carbonate platforms, coral cover in KAHO is typically only a thin veneer of live coral and rubble on exposed volcanic pavement. In only a few locations does coral or accreted carbonate reef obscure the underlying volcanic surface.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Seafloor morphology and coral habitat variability in a volcanic environment: Kaloko-Honokohau National Park, Hawaii, USA
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-385140-6.00028-1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Seafloor geomorphology as benthic habitat; GeoHab atlas of seafloor geomorphic features and benthic habitats
First page 409
Last page 423