|Towed-diver Kevin Lino surveys the fish of Jarvis Island|
|Towed-diver forward-facing view; top panel; Typical photograph from the benthic towed-diver.|
- Jarvis was largely dominated island-wide by the species of hard coral Montipora aequituberculata.
- The west side has an extensive population of Sinularia (soft coral) found nowhere else around the island, extending ~ 300 meters north-south at the 50 foot survey depth, and covering nearly 100% of the bottom.
- Live, branching Pocillopora and Acropora coral fragments were found along the south-facing shore, suggesting a recent weather/wave event.
- All macroinvertebrates (crown-of-thorns sea stars, sea cucumbers, giant clams, urchins) counts were low. While the reasons for this remain unclear, potential causes include predation pressures or lack of suitable benthic habitat.
|Images obtained from towed-diver surveys of Jarvis Island: Montipora aequituberculata , left panel; Sinularia dominance on the western side of the island, upper right panel; Broken Pocillopora colonies, lower right panel|
- While towed-diver surveys recorded localized proliferation of a number of hard coral genera, the majority of benthic segments were dominated by a species of Porites along the forereef and western terrace.
- Low levels of bleaching were observed within numerous genera around Palmyra; additional analysis of towed-diver photographs will further explore the extent of coral bleaching around the atoll..
- Visible macroinvertebrates (crown-of-thorns sea stars, sea cucumbers, giant clams, urchins) were nearly absent from our surveys.
|Images obtained from towed-diver surveys of Palmyra Atoll. Partially bleached coral, left panel; forereef, left side; the forereef benthic and fish community, upper right panel; |
Missing macroinvertebrates, lower right panel
- Hard and soft coral cover varied between habitats, and varied depending upon depth and exposure to wave energy. However, overall hard coral cover for all pooled surveys was nearly identical as all pooled surveys around Palmyra.
- The southeastern backreef continues to harbor the highest concentration of giant clams (Tridacna spp.) of anywhere we surveys around the Pacific.
- The east-side backreef adjacent to the shipwreck showed a dramatic increase in cyanobacteria at 50’ – 60’ since the previous 2008 surveys, along with the presence of a fish aggregation device (FAD) not seen before.
|Images obtained from towed-diver surveys of Kingman Reef. Fish Aggregation Device (FAD) seen from below, left panel; Cyanobacteria bloom near the shipwreck , middle panel; Giant Clams along the southeastern backreef, right panel|