About the Expedition

On January 21, 2010, scientists from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (CRED/PIFSC), along with visiting scientists from the Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego State University, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and local agencies in American Samoa, departed on a three month expedition to Johnston Atoll, Howland and Baker Islands, American Samoa, Jarvis Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Kingman Reef aboard the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai. This is the fifth biennial Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP) expedition to American Samoa and the seventh to the Pacific Remote Island Areas. The expedition is sponsored by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and is divided into three segment sequentially led by Chief Scientists Benjamin Richards, Rusty Brainard and Jamison Gove.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Palmyra undwater

We've spent the past 7 days conducting surveys and retrieving/deploying oceanographic instruments in the waters around Palmyra Atoll. Here are a few photos from below the water's surface:

The soft coral, Sarcophyton sp.

Scientist Nichole Price conducts a Line
Point Intercept survey.

Oceanographer Jamison Gove installs an Acoustic Doppler
Profiler and subsurface temperature recorders.

Layers and layers of corals!

Sea slug (Elysia ornata).

The camouflage grouper (Epinephelus polyphekadion).

Oceanographers Chip Young and Danny Merritt
retrieve the Remote Automatic Sampler.

Threadfin butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga) swimming
over a carpet of invasive corallimorphs (Rhodactis howesii).

An Acropora sp. thicket in the coral gardens of Palmyra.

A school of convict tangs (Acanthurus triostegus) swoop in
to mow the algal lawns on this section of reef.

An interesting and unusual formation of Acropora sp.

Acropora sp. tables found on the western terrace.

A blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) cruising near the coral gardens.

A curious Twin-spot Snapper (Lutjanus bohar) comes in for a closer look
while oceanographer Jamison Gove installs a subsurface temperature recorder in the background.

A Napoleon Wrass (Cheilinus undulatus) swims by.

Here are a few of the critters we have found within the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures around Palmyra:

A swimmer crab (family Portunidae).

A spaghetti worm (family Terebellidae).

A money cowrie (Cyprae moneta).

A fire worm (family Amphimonidae)

A snapping shrimp (Alpheus sp.)

We have seen many interesting animals,both large and small, here at Palmyra Atoll. While always interesting it is time for us to continue on to the final destination of this expedition: Kingman Reef.

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