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, February 9, 2010

Out of touch ... in the dead zone

I have to apologize to all for our lapse in posts over the past few days.  Our communication off the ship is handle via a connection to a satellite and we have been transiting through a "dead zone" near the equator for the past day or so.  We have now crossed back into signal range and should be able to resume our normal posting schedule.  Thanks to all for your patience and understanding.

Our transit from Baker Island to Pago Pago is going well and we are all looking forward to our continued operations in American Samoa.


  1. How is the weather in American Samoa now?

  2. Tropical Cyclone Rene is currently passing over Samoa. We are weathering the storm in the lee of Opolu, Samoa, just north of Apia. This morning we experienced winds of up to 48 knots wind driving rain. Here in the lee, however, winds and seas are calm on top of a large swell.

  3. Thanks for the the opportunity to stay abreast with your program as you head here to American Samoa.My Marine Life Teacher, Mr.Wayne Salavea students will love to engage with your studies and blog.Hope to see you soon in Am.Samoa.Our students would love to pay a visit on your boat and witness the programs you have on board.Several years back an excursion did happened when you had several schools of science clubs visit your ship.With the tsunami and TC 15 Rene affecting the lives of our students , this would be more of an educational reason to reinforce their awareness of the effects of El Nino and other natural affects that surround their lives here in American Samoa.

    Faafetai Tele

  4. Thanks for your comment Haili. We would love for you and Mr. Salavea's students to follow our expedition and blog. Please feel free to send along any questions they might have. We will also be having an open house on the Hi'ialakai on 2/15 from 1-3 in the afternoon in Pago Pago. All are welcome. The ship will be at the main pier in Pago Pago. Please email me directly at benjamin.richards@noaa.gov if you would like more specifics.