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

Interview with Mrs. Parker and the Chief

Cookin' up a banana cream storm

T: How did your career as a chef unfold?
Chief: Growing up in Tallahassee, Florida my father had a catering business in addition to his day job. That was his “hustle”. He would often barbeque at parties and since I was the oldest (9 years), he would bring me along to help out. Later on I got my degree in Food and Nutrition but didn’t like working in hospitals. To qualify for grad school I needed to cook for at least 65 people, so I went out on a ship for the first time. Once I got the salt in my blood I was hooked and have been cooking onboard ever since.

T: So what is the biggest challenge to being a ships cook?
Chief: That’s obvious. Being able to stand up and keep food on the counter when the ship is rocking.

T: What’s your favorite kitchen gadget?
Chief: My chief cook (Mrs. Parker). It doesn’t get any better than that.

Mrs. Parker knows there is a secret ingredient to everything.

T: How did you wind up as a chef?
Mrs. Parker: In high school I was a cook for the military, then I worked for juvenile correction, then NOAA. I really enjoy working on a ship.

T: What is your favorite cookbook?
Mrs. Parker: Well there’s Betty Crocker and Better Homes & Gardens. I use a variety of different ones for different things.

Chicken noodle soup, homestyle.

T: What are some important skills that help all chefs succeed?

Chief: Be true to your trade, in a sense that means being patient and open-minded, be prepared to work long and weird hours, and have fun. If you are not having fun, you won’t do it good.

T: And finally, what is the secret ingredient in your pork ‘n beans?

Chief: LOVE!!

T: I thought you would say that.

Herb, ready to roll


  1. thank you for an insightfull look into the inner workings of the ships culinary scientists who provide the food to fuel the bodies which propels the brains of all aboard. and to think that it's all because of betty crocker and a little love.

  2. Obviously these chiefs have their sea legs and iron stomachs. Everyone knows that the worse place to be when the sea gets 'rough' is down below. The VERY worse place is in the galley, making food or cleaning up. So bravo to your chiefs and their positive attitude even when the rest of the crew is saying "food? No thanks"...
    Cool web site....bravo tambien!