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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oceanography Update!

During our 5 days in port I had the opportunity to speak to some great people from Guam's 'Lets Do Science', about oceanography and the instruments we're putting in around Guam. We've got instruments to measure sea surface temperature, subsurface temperature and the sound of the reef.

Sea Surface Temperature Buoy
Temperature is important to know because, just like you and me, corals can only survive in the right temperatures -not too hot and not too cold.

We also put out an instrument that measures the sounds of the reef.

Acoustic Recorder
This gives us data on how noisy the reef is which gives us an idea of how healthy it is with animals, as they make noises going about their everyday business. We can also listen to how many boats there are in the area.

Today was our 3rd day at Guam and we have been roasted by the sun and thrown about by the waves, especially on the east side.
We've put in all our instruments now and seen amazing things around Guam.

Tomorrow is our last day, and we'll be doing water samples and measuring the temperature and salinity (how salty the water is) using an instrument called a CTD.

Feel free to send us any of your oceanography, cruise or any other questions and we'll do our best to answer them!



  1. Greetings from Japan! Good to see you are taking care of the EARs. Have fun!

  2. Hey Ojay,

    This is Hill's period one class. The students had allot of questions about Coral. Such as, How do coral reproduce, get their color, and how many types did you classify on Guam (compared to wake). Another question asked was are their any fishing regulations on Guam and how do the number of fish species found on Guam compare to Wake? Thanks for your time have a safe journey.


  3. Mr. Hill Per 2 class questions:

    1. Have any of the scientists on your team ever discovered a new species of fish?

    2. What type of fish can you hear with the EAR or what was the most exciting thing you have heard on the EAR?

  4. Mr.hill period.5 questions:
    1. Do you search for particular species of fish on your dives or do you simple count and measure all the fish that you come across.

    2. The reef in Guam seemed to have less color than that in Wake. What are the major differences between the reef in Wake, Guam, and here in Oahu?

  5. Hill Per 6 class question:

    1. What type of sharks have you identified on your trip to date? What was the biggest fish that you have seen on your trip to date?

    2. Does sand cover kill coral? If so what is the process?

    Thanks for your awesome blog page.