The People Aboard NOAA’s ARC: Team French Frigate Shoals

Get to know the bold field biologists stationed on remote islands for NOAA’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Assessment & Recovery Camps.

Every year (since the 1980s!), the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program has deployed camps in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to monitor and help recover the population of endangered Hawaiian monk seals. These assessment and recovery camps, or ARCs, are deployed from large NOAA research vessels. Large vessels are necessary because they need to transport everything that field staff at five camps will require for their three to five month season in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. You can follow the latest deployment cruise on our Story Map. We thought it would be nice for you to get to know the dedicated biologists of our monk seal ARCs and will introduce them over a series of three blogs.

Field_camp_buckets

Unloading buckets of camp gear and food at French Frigate Shoals (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Team French Frigate Shoals

French Frigate Shoals

Map of islands in French Frigate Shoals, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The French Frigate Shoals team tackles one of the toughest sites in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands when it comes to monk seal research and conservation. The seal team must survey many islets across a large atoll and spend much of their time monitoring shark predation activities at Trig Island and the Gin Islands. They pay special attention to pups at these islets and scoop them up to move them to another location in the atoll before they become prey for resident Galapagos sharks. To read more about the shark predation issue check out our webpage. The turtle team on French Frigate Shoals will attempt to survey the largest nesting area for Hawaiian green sea turtles. Both the seal and turtle teams will survey the declining infrastructure that was used to create Tern Island and now poses an entrapment hazard for seals, turtles, and birds.

FFS_Team

Meet the Team at French Frigate Shoals: (Back L-R) Josh Carpenter, Sean Guerin, Shawn Farry, Jan Willem Staman, (Front L-R) Ali Northey, Alex Reininger, Marylou Staman (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Hawaiian Monk Seal Team

Shawn Farry (14th season) – Shawn been working at French Frigate Shoals long enough to remember when there were 800 seals at the atoll (now home to less than 200) and no digital photos or photo databases – he can make a perfect sketch of a seal’s identifying marks in moments! 

Sean Guerin (4th season) – Sean was part of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program for several years before following his dream to learn the art of zymurgy (brewing beer). He brewed 900 barrels of beer last year, and will now spend the summer on a dry island in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Josh Carpenter (1st season) – Josh’s most recent marine mammal necropsy was a blue whale. We hope he doesn’t need to bring that skill set to this field season.

Ali Northey (1st season) – A gymnast from the University of Washington, this is Ali’s first time away from Washington for more than two weeks. May it be a homey camp!

Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle Team

Marylou Staman (1st season) – In three years of turtle research on Guam, Marylou saw 30 nesting females.  She’s looking forward to her first mass nesting site (she’ll beat 30 in no time)!

Jan Willem Staman (1st season) – Jan is making the big transition from being a full-time soccer player with the Guam national team to turtle wrangler on the French Frigate Shoals team.

Alex Reininger (1st season) – Alex has mostly known nesting sea turtles from those that strand and wash up on Oahu, she’s looking forward to seeing them alive and well on their nesting grounds.

Wish these campers a good season at their Tern Island camp at French Frigate Shoals!

Tern Island

Hawaiian monk seal and turtle camps set up along the decommissioned runway on Tern Island at French Frigate Shoals. The runway and buildings are from previous days when the island was an outpost for the U.S. Navy (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

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Feeling peppy with melon-headed whales off Guam

By Marie Hill, Adam Ü, Allan Ligon, and Tom Ninke

Melon-headed whales, affectionately called Peps because of their Latin name Peponocephala electra, were seen during the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s Cetacean Research Program small-boat surveys off Guam (May 6-14, 2017).  We encountered a group of over 300 whales just south of Facpi Point on the southwest side of the island.

Melon-headed whales encountered near Guam. Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Adam Ü

Peps are sometimes mistaken for pygmy killer whales because of their body size and color. Although there are some subtle differences in body color and shape, group size is usually a pretty good indicator of species.  We typically see Peps in groups of 100 or more individuals, whereas pygmy killer whales occur in groups of 50 or fewer.

Melon-headed whale spy-hopping off Guam. Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Marie Hill

The last time that we saw Peps off Guam was in April 2014.  We will be able to use the photo-identification images we took during both sightings to learn if any of the 2014 whales were present this year.  During this year’s encounter, we collected 12 biopsy samples to use for genetic analyses and deployed two satellite tags to study the movements of individuals. We have received transmissions from one of the satellite tags.  The most recent transmission was from May 13 when the tagged whale was off of Galvez Banks (southwest of Guam).

Melon-headed whale sighting location (white dot) off Facpi Point, Guam. The red line shows the satellite-tracked movements of a whale that was tagged during the sighting.

Check out the video of some underwater footage that we took during the encounter, which shows how closely associated these highly social whales live their lives.

Yes, that is indeed Pep poo at the 0:11 mark.

 

All survey operations including satellite tagging, photo-identification, and biopsy sampling were conducted under NMFS permit. Funding was provided by NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. We would like to thank the owner and captains of Ten27, the Guam NOAA Fisheries field office, and all of our volunteers during the surveys.

 

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What happens to reef fish after coral bleaching?

by Adel Heenan

For the past month, researchers aboard the NOAA Ship Hi‘ialakai have been navigating across the Pacific Ocean to survey coral reef ecosystems at remote Wake Atoll and the Mariana Archipelago. This expedition includes additional surveys at Jarvis Island, in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, to assess the reef condition and degree of recovery from a catastrophic coral bleaching event in 2014-2015.


Jarvis Island is located in the central Pacific Ocean, close to the equator, and is a small island in the direct path of a deep current that flows east (Figure 1). Because of it’s position right on the equator and the strong currents hitting the island, Jarvis sits in the middle of a major upwelling zone—where cold nutrient rich water is drawn up from the deep. This water fertilizes the whole area, elevating nutrient levels and productivity in the reef ecosystem (Gove et al., 2006). As a result, Jarvis supports exceptionally high biomass of planktivorous and piscivorous fishes (Williams et al., 2015).

Because it is unpopulated and extremely remote, Jarvis provides an important reference point and opportunity to understand the natural structure, function, and variation in coral reef ecosystems. The island also offers a natural laboratory in which the effects of ocean warming can be assessed in the absence of stressors that impact coral reefs where humans are present (e.g., fishing or land-based sources of pollution).

El Niño, La Niña and the global coral bleaching event of 2014-2015
The Equatorial Pacific upwelling at Jarvis alternates between warm El Niño years, when upwelling is weak and oceanic productivity low, and cold La Niña years where upwelling is strong and productivity is high (Gove et al., 2006). Unusually warm sea surface temperatures, and a strong El Niño in 2014-2015, triggered the third recorded global coral bleaching event. At Jarvis, these warmer waters led to widespread coral bleaching and mortality. High sea surface temperatures in 2015 also impacted upwelling at Jarvis, as evidenced by a decrease in the primary productivity around the island.

Teams from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program recently completed ecological monitoring at Jarvis from April 2–5, 2017. They collected data at 28 stationary point count sites (Figure 2) this year, 30 in 2016, 62 in 2015, 42 in 2012, and 30 in 2010.

FIG2_SPC

Figure 2. The stationary point count method is used to monitor the fish assemblage and benthic communities at the Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) sites.

Main Observations
Fish biomass tended to be highest on the western side of the island where equatorial upwelling occurs (Figure 3). In 2016, we observed somewhat reduced total fish and total planktivore biomass (Figure 4), but this reduction was within the normal range of observed variability.

There were some significant reductions observed for individual species in 2016. These reductions were noticeable across multiple trophic groups, for instance the planktivorous Whitley’s fusilier (Luzonichthys whitleyi), Olive anthias (Pseudanthias olivaceus), Dark-banded fusilier (Pterocaesio tile), the piscivorous Island trevally (Carangoides orthogrammus), and the coral-dwelling Arc-eyed hawkfish (Paracirrhites arcatus) which is strongly associated with Pocillopora coral heads. Some of these species had returned to previous ranges by 2017, but others remain depleted (Figure 5).

FIG5_FishBiomass

Figure 5. Mean species biomass (± standard error) per survey year at Jarvis.

Very high levels of coral mortality were evident in 2016 surveys and coral cover remained low in 2017. Notably, macroalgal cover increased in 2017, approximately by the amount of coral cover lost in 2016 (Figure 6).

FIG6_PercentCover

Figure 6. Mean percentage cover estimates (± standard error) of benthic habitat per survey year at Jarvis. Data shown for Hard Coral (top, red); macrolagae (middle, green) and CCA: crustose coralline algae (bottom, orange). Note: no benthic data are available for 2008 as we began collected rapid visual estimates of these benthic functional groups in 2010.

Whether this reduction in specific planktivore, piscivore, and live coral-dwelling fish species is a widespread and long-standing shift in the fish assemblages at Jarvis will be the subject of forthcoming research. It seems plausible that they reflect impacts of a prolonged period of reduced food availability and changes to preferred habitat due to the anomalous warm sea conditions in 2014–2015. Our teams will return to Jarvis in 2018 to conduct another assessment in an attempt to answer some of these questions.

FIG7_shark

An emaciated grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchus) observed during a 2017 fish survey. (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Adel Heenan)

Additional detail on survey methods and sampling design are available in the full monitoring brief: Jarvis Island time trends 2008-2017.

References
Gove J. et al. (2006) Temporal variability of current-driven upwelling at Jarvis Island. J Geo Res: Oceans 111, 1-10, doi: 10.1029/2005JC003161.
Williams I. et al. (2015) Human, oceanographic and habitat drivers of central and western Pacific coral reef fish assemblages. PLoS 10: e0120516, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120516.

 

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Uncovering the Mysteries of the Mesopelagic

By Beth Francis, Bangor University UK

Have you ever thought about the mysterious dwellers of the deep ocean? Six months ago, I thought of these species only as scary-looking creatures in horror movies and nature documentaries. Now, after flying across the world twice to study these alien-like inhabitants of the depths up-close, I was inspired to investigate the mysteries of mesopelagic and why these deep ocean dwellers are important to all of us.

1.Alien_BethFrancis

Alien? This amphipod, Phronima, is rumored to be the inspiration for the alien queen in the 1986 movie “Aliens.” These small parasitoid crustaceans hollow out salps (barrel-shaped invertebrates) to lay eggs inside. To the left is a Phronima in its natural form and to the right is a female Phronima inhabiting a salp. The small specs are her hatched eggs, protected by the salp (Photo: Bangor University/Beth Francis).

I began my PhD in October 2016, based at Bangor University in North Wales, UK. My PhD is funded by the Envision Doctoral Training Program, through the UK Government Natural Environment Research Council, but my main focus is studying gradients in productivity near to islands in Hawai‘i. In the six months since beginning my project, I have been privileged to join NOAA researchers twice on the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) expeditions to West Hawai‘i, to learn more about the mesopelagic community there.

3.Nautilus_BethFrancis

Mesopelagic Marvels: A tiny nautilus, a type of shelled deep-sea cephalopod, similar to an octopus or squid (Photo: Bangor University, Beth Francis).

The middle or mesopelagic depths, also known as the “twilight zone” of the ocean (between 200-1000 meters or 650-3300 feet) may seem like another world, but it is much closer to home than you may think. This region plays a crucial role in our planet’s ecosystem. An estimated 90% of the world’s fish live in this zone, and while most aren’t commercially important species, they form a key part of the food web. These deeper dwellers, such as shrimp and squid, are prey for dolphins, whales, and for the fish we eat. The mesopelagic also plays an important role in removing billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, pumping carbon from the surface water deeper into the ocean (Siegel et al., 2014).

2.CobbTrawl

Deploying the Cobb trawl net to target mesopelagic organisms (Photo: University of Hawai‘i/Jana Phipps).

Despite the importance of this layer of the ocean, relatively little is known or understood about species distribution and interaction in Hawai‘i—and these are a few of the mysteries we are researching through the West Hawai‘i IEA project. The West Hawai‘i IEA is an on-going project, collecting information on the oceanic communities in the region. Back in September 2016, and for part of this recent IEA expedition, we collected deep-sea organisms both nearshore and offshore of a known biological “hotspot” site. The goal is to quantify the abundance and diversity of organisms at both sites in order to understand why a greater density of these deep-sea dwellers is found closer to shore.

In order to sample the mesopelagic, we use a giant mid-water trawling net called the Cobb trawl. During Cobb trawls, we collect an array of weird and wonderful creatures of the deep, ranging from tiny to huge, cute and familiar, to very strange-looking! And most importantly, we have been able to collect a lot more information on the mesopelagic populations than ever before.

4.Pteropod_BethFrancis

A free-swimming sea snail colloquially known as a sea butterfly because of its wing-like foot (Photo: Bangor University/Beth Francis).

So, what have we learned so far? Initial results collected last September have given us some really interesting information, suggesting that there are significantly more (roughly three times as many) organisms close to shore compared to offshore. And during the most recent expedition, the same pattern seems to be holding up. These findings potentially support the theory that there is an increased primary productivity near islands, and that this extends down into the deeper layers of the ocean. Hotspots in biological productivity, such as the one we are researching in West Hawai’i, could prove to be crucial in the longevity of the human interaction with the ocean, and act as a crucial natural refuge for changes to the climate in the future. We are hoping that the data we collect will help us to uncover some of these mysteries of the mesopelagic, and better understand the ocean in West Hawai’i and beyond.

Reference: Siegel, David A., et al., “Global assessment of ocean carbon export by combining satellite observations and food‐web models.” Global Biogeochemical Cycles 28.3 (2014): 181-196.
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A Fish That Shapes The Reef

By Andrew E. Gray

Every three years, scientists from NOAA’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) visit Wake Atoll to survey corals, assess the fish populations, and collect oceanographic data for a long-term monitoring effort—the Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP). Wake Atoll has clear water, healthy coral reefs, and is managed and conserved as part of the expansive U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. It has a healthy reef fish community with plentiful sharks, jacks, and groupers. As a fish research diver, it’s my kind of paradise. Sitting in the middle of the subtropical North Pacific Ocean, 1,500 miles east of Guam and about 2,300 miles southwest of Honolulu, it may be the most remote place I’ve ever been. But for me, and a few other scientists lucky enough to visit the island, there is one thing that makes Wake a special place: Bolbometopon muricatm, the Bumphead parrotfish.

Bumphead parrotfish

Bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatm) at Wake Atoll (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Andrew E. Gray)

Bumphead parrotfish are an incredible and unique reef fish, differing from other parrotfish by their large size, appearance, diet, and by their ecological impact on coral reef ecosystems. There are a number of other parrotfish that sport a bump on their head, and these may be mistaken for a Bumphead parrotfish—that is until you actually see one. Bumpheads have a presence like no other fish on the reef and when they are around I can’t take my eyes off of them. The first thing I notice is their sheer size: growing to 4.2 feet long and up to a 100 pounds (that’s 130 cm and 46 kg for you scientists). Bumpheads are the world’s largest parrotfish and among the largest of all reef fish. When I get a little closer, I can’t help but focus on their incredible beaks. On coral reefs, all parrotfish species are tasked with the important job of keeping algae from overgrowing reef-building corals.

Corals chomped

Bumphead parrotfish chomp corals and help maintain the health and diversity of the reef ecosystem, Wake Atoll (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Andrew E. Gray)

Parrotfish bite and scrape algae off of rocks and dead corals with their parrot-like beaks; grind the inedible calcium carbonate (reef material made mostly of coral skeletons) which is excreted as sand back onto the reef. Larger parrotfish species can take small chunks out of the reef, removing algae and the occasional piece of coral. Bumphead parrotfish are unique in that they are continuously crunching large bites out of the reef, about half of it from live coral. In fact, that’s what they do most of the day. Bite the reef. Excrete sand. Repeat. Over the course of a year a single fish can remove over 5 tons of calcium carbonate from the reef! But by selectively eating fast growing coral species over slower growing species, they help maintain a more diverse coral reef ecosystem. Also, by munching down tons of dead corals every year each fish makes room for young corals to settle, grow and build up the reef. This means breaking down “dead reef” into sand rather than it breaking off in a storm and damaging other parts of the reef. And since Bumpheads often travel in groups, sometimes numbering into hundreds and traveling multiple kilometers in a day, this species can have quite an impact on the reef ecosystem. Bumphead parrotfish literally shape the reef.

Bumphead

Large bump on the head of a Bumphead parrotfish (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Andrew E. Gray)

Then, of course, there is the fish’s namesake, its bump. All Bumphead parrotfish sport a large protrusion on their forehead which is similar in function to a pair of horns on a bighorn sheep. The largest males have the biggest bumps and will occasionally use them as battering rams around spawning time, smashing headfirst into rivals in an attempt to show their dominance and retain territorial and breeding rights. This incredible behavior was observed by CREP scientists in 2009 and first documented and filmed by researchers at Wake in 2011. During these mating events, the parrotfish gather or aggregate around a spawning site and can number into the hundreds, an uncommon site anywhere in the world and one that I hope to see sometime at Wake.

Historically, Bumphead parrotfish were plentiful throughout much of the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea. In recent decades, fishing led to sharp declines in abundance and they are now only common in protected or very remote areas. Bumpheads have a few traits that make them particularly vulnerable to overfishing, which has led to local disappearances in many parts of their range. Bumphead parrotfish can live to be 40 years old; they do not reach sexual maturity until 5-8 years old and likely have low natural mortality as adults so there is not high natural turnover in the population. However, most detrimental to their survival in a human-dominated world is their aggregating behavior and preference for shallow water. Groups of Bumpheads could be easily netted, as they feed during the day, and at night sleeping parrotfish are easy targets for spear fishermen. With the introduction of scuba gear in the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a steep decline in Bumphead abundances as entire schools could be removed in a single night while they slept. Juvenile Bumpheads are also hard to find or study throughout much of their range and raises concerns that some adult populations are too far from juvenile habitats. This distance prevents new youngsters from entering the population to replace adults that have been caught. In areas where juveniles can be commonly found, such as Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, they are associated with mangrove, rubble, and sheltered lagoon habitats. And this is why Wake Atoll may be such a hotbed of Bumpheads.

Reef at Wake Atoll

Coral reef at Wake Atoll in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/James Morioka)

In addition to having a sizable healthy coral reef around the island, Wake Atoll has an expansive, sheltered lagoon. This may be the perfect habitat for the juvenile parrotfish and allows Wake to have a healthy, self-supplying population of Bumpheads. And since Wake is protected from fishing, it may be as close to a pristine home as the Bumphead parrotfish are going to encounter in today’s world. Wake actually has the highest concentration of Bumphead parrotfish in U.S. waters and possibly the world (although certain areas of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia also have very healthy adult populations). During my time at Wake Atoll, I had a number of chances to see them, from loose groups of just a few individuals, to a school of thirteen.

School too

School of Bumphead parrotfish at Wake Atoll (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Andrew E. Gray)

As I write this, the NOAA Ship Hi‘ialakai heads west to Guam, our next survey site where I’ll be spending 8 days surveying reef fish. Bumpheads were once thought to be extinct around Guam due to overfishing, but there have been a few sightings by CREP and partners in the past few years, of both adults and juveniles. So while my expectations of encountering these giant bulbous-headed, coral-chomping fish are low, I sure hope I do, given how important they are to the natural function of coral reef ecosystems.

References
  1. Bellwood, D., & Choat, J. (2011). Dangerous demographics: the lack of juvenile humphead parrotfishes Bolbometopon muricatum on the Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, 30(2), 549-554.
  2. Bellwood, D. R., Hoey, A. S., & Choat, J. H. (2003). Limited functional redundancy in high diversity systems: resilience and ecosystem function on coral reefs. Ecology Letters, 6(4), 281-285.
  3. Bellwood, D. R., Hoey, A. S., & Hughes, T. P. (2011). Human activity selectively impacts the ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on coral reefs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1906
  4. Donaldson, T. J., & Dulvy, N. K. (2004). Threatened fishes of the world: Bolbometopon muricatum (Valenciennes 1840)(Scaridae). Environmental Biology of Fishes, 70(4), 373-373.
  5. Green, A. L., & Bellwood, D. R. (2009). Monitoring functional groups of herbivorous reef fishes as indicators of coral reef resilience: a practical guide for coral reef managers in the Asia Pacific Region: IUCN.
  6. Kobayashi, D., Friedlander, A., Grimes, C., Nichols, R., & Zgliczynski, B. (2011). Bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) status review. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-PIFSC-26. NOAA.
  7. Muñoz, R. C., Zgliczynski, B. J., Laughlin, J. L., & Teer, B. Z. (2012). Extraordinary Aggressive Behavior from the Giant Coral Reef Fish, Bolbometopon muricatum, in a Remote Marine Reserve. PLoS One, 7(6), e38120. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038120
  8. Munoz, R. C., Zgliczynski, B. J., Teer, B. Z., & Laughlin, J. L. (2014). Spawning aggregation behavior and reproductive ecology of the giant bumphead parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, in a remote marine reserve. PeerJ, 2, e681.
  9. Sundberg, M., Kobayashi, D., Kahng, S., Karl, S., & Zamzow, J. (2015). The Search for Juvenile Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) in the Lagoon at Wake Island.
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An Ocean of Life

By Rebecca Ingram

Living on an island, it is easy to see how intertwined our lives are with the ocean. We benefit daily from the ocean’s many resources, whether it be going fishing, diving, or simply walking along the shoreline. But if you live far away from the ocean, you may not realize that the ocean also influences your life in significant ways. The ocean affects weather patterns, the atmosphere, and contributes to global food supplies. Simply put, no matter how near or far, the ocean contributes to all life on Earth.

Scientists boarded the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette on April 17th to continue researching biological and oceanographic aspects of the West Hawai‘i marine environment. This research is fueled by the need to develop a better understanding of why this particular island region is so ecologically dynamic and productive. Specifically, we are researching fish larval habitats, species distribution in the water column, and productivity hot spots. (You can read more about our expedition here.) However, this important ship-based research does not tell the whole story.

Off the ship, scientists are investigating another important aspect of this ecosystem. There is a need to understand more about the connections between these biophysical ecosystems and the humans who live near them. People do not simply live in or near an ecosystem, but are an integral participant and rely on resources produced. So the question remains, in what ways does the West Hawai‘i community impact and rely on the marine ecosystem?

Answering this question leads to the primary strategy of Ecosystem Based Management (EBM), a holistic resource management approach that West Hawai‘i has been shifting towards in recent years. EBM recognizes that an ecosystem cannot be teased apart into neatly manageable pieces, but must be viewed through a unifying lens. EBM also specifically integrates humans, both our impacts and our reliance on resources, into management plans. (Read more about the shift toward EBM on the Big Island in a previous blog post.)

The West Hawai‘i Integrated Ecosystem Assessment helps pull both sides of the social-ecological story together and facilitate this fairly new style of resource management. It is a NOAA program focused on merging biophysical and ecological data with human dimensions. Essentially, this is a program that wants to provide managers with the means not only to conserve a species or place, but also conserve the resources valuable to the community. This includes activities like the opportunity to fish, dive, or appreciate the inherent value of being at a place. It also includes resources that stretch far beyond the island, since the health and productivity of West Hawai‘i coral reefs can be traced worldwide.

Kealakekua Bay

Kealakekua Bay: Looking down at popular tourist location, Kealakekua Bay, Hawai‘i, with surface slicks visible offshore. Photo credit: Rebecca Ingram, NOAA.

 

Kona Coast Sunrise

Kona Coast Sunrise: Looking at the Big Island from the ocean. Photo credit: Jamison Gove, NOAA.

 

Sette Scientist

NOAA Scientist: Jon Whitney (PIFSC/UH), aboard a small boat operation launched from the Sette. Photo credit: Don Kobayashi, NOAA.

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