A Better Understanding of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Pelagic predators such as these barracuda, Sphyraena qenie, are part of the coral reef ecosystem in the U.S. Line Islands (NOAA Photo by Kevin Lino).
A team of scientists have embarked from Hawai'i on a three-month survey of coral reef ecosystems at Johnston Atoll, the U.S. Phoenix Islands, the islands of American Samoa, and the U.S. Line Islands in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The overarching objective is to better understand the coral reef ecosystems of these areas, many of which are seldom explored. The research expedition is part of a regular monitoring program, conducted by the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), headquartered in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The expedition is supported by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program and involves extensive cooperation among NOAA scientists and research partners, including the University of Hawaii Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, San Diego State University, and the Papahānaumaokuākea Marine National Monument.

The research expedition will be carried out from February 27 to May 24, 2012 aboard the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai. Under the leadership of Chief Scientists Dr. Jill Zamzow, Dr. Bernardo Vargas-Angél, and Jamison Gove, a diverse team of researchers will be conducting multidisciplinary coral reef ecosystem surveys, assessing the status of fishes, corals, algae, marine invertebrates, and the oceanographic conditions in which these organisms exist. The scientific data collected during the three-month research expedition will enable informed and effective implementation of ecosystem-based management and conservation strategies for coral reef ecosystems, helping to ensure their protection for generations to come.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crossing the Date line

With only a few days to go before arriving at Wake Atoll, the scientists and crew have crossed the International Date Line and headed into the Domain of the Golden Dragon.  As with all such things, such an accomplishment is greeted with a few festivities and the presentation of certificates to all those who have crossed the 
date line on a previous cruise.

Know All Ye by These Presents: and to all Pirates of the Yellow Seas and other Derelicts of Far Eastern Seas, Greetings: 

Know Ye on the 17th of March 2009, within the boundaries of my Dragonic Realm there appeared the Good Ship Hi’ialakai.

Be It Known: That the said renowned vessel crossed the 180th Meridian in Latitude 21 degrees. And all her Officers and Crew have been duly inspected and found qualified by my Venerable Court. It is therefore, My privilege to proclaim, with all the authority of my sphere of influence, that these sailors have been found worthy to be granted membership in my domain, the Silent Occult Mysteries of the Far East and be it further understood: That the above named are now members of my August Retinue and are therefore entitled to all the Rights and Privileges accorded such personages.

Disobey this order under penalty of our Royal Displeasure.
His Dragonic Majesty

In honor of crossing the 180th meridian, the Chief Steward prepared his famous Mongolian BBQ.  This consists of a variety of uncooked vegetables and meats all laid out to perfection on the buffet line. Steak, chicken, pork, shrimp, and fish followed by red peppers, yellow pepper, green peppers, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms and more.  Each person can personalize his or her plate to their heart's desire before taking their concoction into the Galley.  There, Chief grills your ingredients and adds trade-secret seasonings that result in an amazing meal.  The most difficult part is not overloading your plate.  It is very bad form to not clean your plate; Chief takes great pride in his cooking and notice is definitely taken when one doesn't finish one's meal.

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