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, April 30, 2010

Final Post from the Previous Expedition:
Back to Honolulu

The Hi'ialakai returned safely to port in Honolulu on Sunday, April 24 at 0800 bringing a very successful completion to HA1001, the 2010 Pacific RAMP expedition to Johnston Atoll, the Phoenix Islands, American Samoa, and the Line Islands. All told, we had the participation of 44 scientists from eight different research institutions and local and regional management organizations. We visited 13 islands, reefs, or banks and were once again amazed by the diversity of life found beneath the waves.

In the days since the ship returned to port we have been offloading equipment and getting everything back to its rightful place, ready for our next expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in September of 2010. We want to thank everyone who followed along with our expedition and especially those of you who wrote in with your questions and comments. We hope that we have been able to answer most of them and look forward to hearing from you again on future expeditions.

With that, we will sign off for now. As the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands expedition begins, we will host a new blog and will post the address both here and on the CRED FaceBook page where you can follow-along with all of the most up-to-date information on our program.

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