The Root of Everything: Teamwork and the Science of Counting Seals

Darren and his three campmates, Megan, Alix, and Caroline, spent their summer months at Pearl and Hermes Reef counting and saving monk seals.  Darren shares a little bit about how we go about counting seals and estimating the population.  This data and population estimate serves as the foundation of EVERYTHING we are able to do to help save monk seals. But none if it could be done without dedicated people working together.

Our goal, above all else, is to recover the monk seal population. The first step to recovery is having a deep understanding of population size (the total number of seals), and trends (increasing or decreasing), so you know what is working, and just as importantly, what is not, in terms of conservation actions. Mark-recapture is a long-standing method of counting wildlife populations. In species with large populations the idea is usually to mark a portion of the population in some way (maybe tags, bleach marks, shaving a part of the fur) and release them back into the population to mix.  Some time later, more animals from that population are recaptured.  By using the percentage of the recaptured animals that were marked versus unmarked, scientists can estimate population sizes.  With monk seals we have the amazing opportunity to recapture nearly the entire population. This opens a treasure trove of information about the seal population. We not only get a good estimate of overall population size, but also insight into valuable and interesting information such as how well animals survive at different locations, how well different aged animals survive (like juveniles versus adults), number of pups born, inter-atoll movements, and so much more.

To achieve this, two things must happen: the animals must be ‘marked’, and then over the years the animal is ‘recaptured’ with each sighting (as opposed to physically handling them). A ‘mark’ is just a way of saying that the animal needs a persistent and unique marking that identifies them as an individual. In this case ‘recapture’ simply means to positively identify the individuals marked initially.  We do this in primarily two ways. The first method is to tag the animals when they wean with two flipper tags. The second way is to identify individual animals with photos of scars and marks that they have naturally collected throughout their life. Using scars is problematic in young animals that have not had time to collect the wounds that an adult usually acquires with the passage of time.  But some seals never get discernible marks and, over time, animals can lose their tags.  So sometimes scientists must tag, or retag adult animals, to ensure they are captured in our estimates.

The last two times I was at Pearl and Hermes the camp was operated by three people. In the last few years we have added a fourth person to the team in order to produce a safer and more productive camp. This change has also allowed us to address a growing problem for the Pearl and Hermes population of seals.  Our older animals were all losing their flipper tags and our ability to monitor the population was starting to degrade, but an expanded team could help fix that.  Handling adult animals is an activity that is only allowed with four or more qualified people.

Handling large animals has the tendency to bring people to their peak focus. If getting up close and personal with a 500 lb animal doesn’t make everything else in the world fall away, I don’t know what will. For me personally, a big highlight this season was getting to tag some of these animals with our team. We saved these tagging efforts until late in the season when our team was working seamlessly together and everyone had the experience necessary to do the work safely.  This year we had an exceptionally bright and talented group. A good mix of experience, brains, and some muscle to back it up. Tagging these seals has important scientific value as explained earlier, but there was a deeper meaning for the team, as it was a challenge that drew the team together, and how that camaraderie lasted after. I think it was a great reminder for our team that a small group pointed in the same direction is capable of so much more than an individual. It wasn’t simply that we were able to successfully tag these impressive animals, but that we had the focus, communication, and trust that it takes to execute a mission like that safely. There are few things in my life that I enjoy more than working on a team that operates as a unit; where a nod, a look, or a tap on the shoulder communicates more than a ten minute discussion would with other people. This season, after a lot of hard work, we got there. It trickled down into everything we did. As an individual we fail, but as a team we succeed. In my opinion that is a successful season, and I can only hope for more like it in the future.

Darren Roberts

Pearl and Hermes Reef

May 2017- August 2017

The People Aboard NOAA’s ARC: Teams Pearl & Hermes and Kure

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.

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Map of Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

Team Pearl and Hermes

With over 450 square miles of coral reef and less than 1/4 square mile of total land area, Pearl and Hermes Atoll is dominated by vivid blues (rumored even to have inspired paint colors). The Pearl and Hermes team spends a lot of time out in the cerulean waters traveling between islets to survey the atoll’s seal population.

 

PHR_Team

Pearl & Hermes Team: (L-R) Caroline Cummings, Alix Gibson, Darren Roberts, Megan Roberts (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Darren Roberts (6th season) – Now a hardened field biologist alternating seasons between the NWHI and Antarctica, Darren’s first degree was actually in music theory, and he has even performed at Carnegie Hall.  We’re waiting to hear his theme song for camp Pearl & Hermes!

Megan Roberts (3rd season) – Growing up in rural Idaho, Megan didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing till she was 16.  No wonder she adjusts so well to life in this remote island camp!

Caroline Cummings (1st season) – Caroline recently completed her Master’s degree studying seals in Scotland, she also learned to love kilts and beer.  She’s excited to learn about another seal species.

Alix Gibson (1st season) – Alix has been nurturing marine life at many levels – she’s got rare skills in raising moon jellyfish.  This summer she’ll gain a whole new skill set to help monk seals!

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Pearl and Hermes camp, just 12 feet above sea level at Southeast Island (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Teamwork

Teamwork! The monk seal camp team and staff from the State of Hawaii’s Department of Forestry and Wildlife pitch in for the hard work of hefting water and other gear to set up field camp (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Team Kure Atoll

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Map of Kure Atoll.

The farthest point in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Kure Atoll is home to an old U.S. Coast Guard post turned field camp. The Kure monk seal team is small, but they enjoy sharing the camp with members the State of Hawaii’s Department of Forestry and Wildlife team.

Ilana Nimz (4th season) – Ilana claims she can’t smell – I guess that means she’ll be collecting the scat samples this season. Besides being a talented scientist, Ilana is also quite the artist. She turns glass balls, woods, and any other debris she can get her hands on into works of art.

David Golden (1st season) – David started honing his outdoor skills as an eagle scout.  Hmmm we should probably make some merit badges for all the way these field biologists can save seals over the course of a season (disentanglement, antibiotic injections, vaccinations, reuniting moms and pups, moving pups away from shark predation, and more!)

KUR_Team

Kure Team: (L-R) David Golden, Ilana Nimz (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

KUR_camp

Monk seal camp at Kure Atoll, one of the only monk seal inland camps and it rests in the center of Green Island (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

Taking Out Trash

by Kevin O’Brien

A friend of mine from Idaho just said to me, “you know, it’s good to have a job that lets you make piles.” I smiled immediately because I totally agree with him. He said, “There’s nothing like stepping outside in the morning with your cup of coffee and just gazing at your pile.” He brought it up in the context of chopping wood, in Idaho, but I feel that the concept is particularly apt for marine debris removal.

I’ve found myself “gazing at the pile” repeatedly over the last week as our team of staff volunteers and I unloaded the debris that was shipped here from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. All too often in the field of resource management, your daily impact is hard to visualize or quantify. Not so with something like this:

Marine Debris pile

100,000 pounds of marine debris removed from Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Kevin O’Brien).

This giant pile of marine debris13 shipping containers holding approximately 100,000 poundsrecently traveled back to Honolulu from Midway aboard the charter vessel Kahana. This debris was collected from the reefs and beaches of Midway and Kure Atoll Wildlife Sanctuary over the last six years. Some of the debris was brought back opportunistically by NOAA ships, but much of the debris had to be stored on the tarmac at Midway until it could be shipped to Honolulu.

Debris at Midway Atoll

Fishing buoys, derelict nets, and plastic debris stored on the seaplane tarmac at Midway Atoll (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Amanda Dillon).

Thanks to support from the State of Hawai‘i, personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were able to jam-pack containers full of marine debris, crane it onto the Kahana, and ship it here to be sorted, recycled, and repurposed. You just can’t ignore the size of this pile, both as a measure of job satisfaction, but also as an indelible visual reminder of the huge challenge that we all face in combating the pervasive problem of plastics in our oceans. A problem that isn’t going away.

For the past ten years, I’ve assisted in coordinating the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program’s marine debris removal project and have seen first hand the dramatic impacts that marine debris has on our marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Since 1996, our team’s annual efforts in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, have successfully removed more than 1.9 million pounds of marine debris, mostly derelict fishing gear, from the most remote reefs and shorelines of this incredible, wild, archipelago.

Hauling nets

Kevin O’Brien and Frances Lichowski remove derelict fishing nets from the coral reefs and haul them away by small boat (Photo: NOAA Fisheries)

Some of the debris in “the pile” is a result of our efforts at Midway Atoll where we worked to develop more efficient methods for large-scale shoreline plastics removal, enabling us to tackle this difficult aspect of marine debris for the first time. Removing debris from the sensitive environment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is critically important in many ways. Whether it’s preventing a derelict fishing net from further smothering and fragmenting a vibrant bed of porites coral, disentangling an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, or preventatively cleaning all plastics from a mile of shoreline filled with hungry albatross chicks, these actions are one of the most immediate and tangible steps we can take to ensure the continued health of this fragile ecosystem. In addition to gazing at large satisfying piles, and the thought of lots of coffee, what continues to get me up every morning is the opportunity to continue this important hands-on work.

Albatross 2013

Kevin O’Brien carefully frees a Laysan Albatross chick that was entangled in fishing net on Eastern Island, Midway Atoll in 2013 (Photo: NOAA Fisheries)

Imagine what would happen if the trash collector stopped showing up at your home. First the can would fill up, then a few trash bags would pile up, and after a week, you’d find it spilling over into the yard and the driveway. After a few weeks, you wouldn’t be able to back your car out of the garage, and after a couple of months, the dog in your yard would be trying to lay claim to the last scrap of grassy green real estate amidst heaps of trash bags. The same analogy applies to Midway Atoll, Kure Atoll, and every island within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monumentonly on a scale that is daunting and with the added element of sensitive protected species instead of your family dog.

Laysan albatross P&H

Laysan albatross chick surrounded by marine debris on the remote Pearl and Hermes Atoll (Photo: NOAA Fisheries).

A 2006 NOAA study estimated that 52 metric tons of derelict fishing gear alone accumulates in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands every year. That doesn’t even account for the unknown tons of plastics accumulating on the shorelines. The islands and atolls of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument are very remote. For example, Kure Atoll at the end of the chain is 1,368 miles from Honolulu. Conducting work of any kind here is difficult and costly due to the immense distances and tricky access to these islands.

The debris you see in this giant “pile” represents the collective cleanup efforts of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge Staff, the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and NOAA, at both Midway and Kure Atolls. It also represents a significant investment by the State to transport this marine debris back to Honolulu via charter vessel- the final missing link. It was these agencies’ willingness to collaborate, pitch in resources, and think outside the box that enabled this effort to happen.

Highlighting this marine debris removal effort is, among other things, an effort to bring together the people and organizations who are actively involved in doing management work in Hawaii’s protected areasto keep the issue of marine debris in the forefront of our collective consciousness. It is my hope, that, using this successful collaborative mission as a model, we can find creative ways to continue this important work, together. Whether that’s through forging new partnerships, fostering existing ones, pooling resources to enable larger scale efforts such as this, thinking outside the box to close the loop on the open ended flow of plastics into the ocean, or tackling prevention through education and outreach, it is clear that we are stronger and more effective when we work together.

I’d like all of us who read this and find ourselves concerned with the issue of marine debris to see ourselves as a community. A community of stewards who are responsible for protecting an important natural resource. Let’s meet each other. Let’s get to know each other better. Let’s continue this dialogue in order to maintain momentum going forward. Because, despite the satisfaction we all get from looking at a big pile like this, the ultimate goal is to someday not even have one.

Midway derelict fishing nets

A black-footed albatross surveys a beach cleared of debris piles (Photo: NOAA Fisheries/David Slater).

 

24 days, 900 buckets, 4 seals,…

It is the end of another Hawaiian monk seal field season.  The research cruise to pick up all of our field teams has returned, and our Chief Scientist for the cruise, Stacie Robinson, reflects on the experience.

…580 water jugs, 50 pelican cases, 30 liquid nitrogen dewars, 22 pallet tubs, 6 boats, and plenty of odds and ends.  But, hey, who’s counting?  It takes a lot of gear to make a safe and successful field camp in the most remote islands in the Pacific!  And it takes a lot of help to get it all packed and hauled back to Honolulu at the end of the field season!  Huge thanks to the NOAA ship Sette crew and officers (unsung heroes for sure) for another very successful monk seal camp pick-up cruise!

buckets

Hoisting a seemingly endless number of buckets from camp – to small boat – to ship – to home. (NMFS Photo)

Hawaiian monk seal assessment and recovery camps have been deployed since the 1980s.  By now, it’s a pretty well-oiled machine (even an inexperienced chief scientist can mostly just keep watch as the machine works – thank goodness!).  And yet, the routine never quite becomes mundane.  Every day on the cruise, the monk seal team seems to be confronted with some new challenge.  And every year, the team finds ways to throw in a few curve balls for the ship (mission changes, emergencies activities, and more), and the vessel crews find ways to keep batting a thousand!

Sometime even routine gear loading from camps has its challenges. For example: Aug 13, stop #1 at Pearl and Hermes Camp: “Hey guys, today we just need to be in three in places at once – pick up marine debris from multiple islands across the Pearl and Hermes atoll, find a seal that needs to be tagged, load up some gear, and get done in time to deploy an acoustic device before making our transit 16 hours to the next site.”  Done!

PHRdebris

One small step in island clean-up. One giant bag to pull off the beach! (NMFS Photo)

Some logistics never seem to become routine.  Landing on steep rocky islands like Nihoa and Mokumanamana is always a challenge – just one swell or gust of wind away from missing out on monitoring entire monk seal subpopulations.  This year was a treat – weather cooperated and coxswains expertly navigated – we were able to survey both hard-to-track islands.  Numerous seals and healthy pups greeted our survey teams.

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One of five mother-pup pairs observed during the survey of Mokumanamana. (NMFS Photo)

Since the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program started translocating monk seals between Northwestern Hawaiian Islands sites, their baaah-ing and pooing were welcomed (or at least tolerated) on deck by the crew and officers.  Then transit with seals got a little longer when The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola monk seal hospital brought the possibility of rehabilitating animals if only our ships could bring them to Kona.  How to top such requests?  This year we stretched our capacity to take on our oldest rehab candidate yet (a 5 year female in emaciated condition).  The Sette crew was helpful in taking on a larger animal, and the three other patients picked up this cruise.  And they even accommodated an after-hours small boat launch to save the patients from one more night on the ship when we arrived in Kona as the sun set.

seals-off

A successful cruise wraps up with loading seals (in kennels) into the small boat for transit to Honokohau harbor, and then on TMMC’s Ke Kai Ola rehabilitation facility. (NMFS Photo)

Back to solid ground and the creature comforts of home, scientists and sailors celebrated briefly and then got to work cleaning up camp gear or prepping for the next cruise.  For a novice chief scientist, it’s a relief that none of the wrenches upset the well-oiled machine.  Field staff all home in one piece, complete dataset to better track the species, and four young seals with a second chance at survival – the end of another field season is a little bit like the start of a new year for Hawaiian monk seal research.

All monk seal work was conducted under NOAA ESA/MMPA permits 16632-01 and/or 18786.

Fantastic Fieldcamp Foodstuffs

Program Note: As we travel through the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands picking up our field camps we have asked each island crew to share a tale or two of their life and adventures during this summer field season.  This entry is from our Pearl and Hermes field team: Sadie, April, and Laney.

Our Pearl and Hermes Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program crew is heading back down the island chain on the Oscar Elton Sette, reveling in the wonders of salad and ice cream and a break from food that tastes vaguely like the plastic buckets it was stored in.  That said, we landed in a camp with a bunch of great cooks, and we ate very well this season.  Dinners were our time to fuel up, wind down, and chat about topics that we’d probably steer clear of at a dinner party (seal poop, for one).

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Pearl and Hermes biologists Sadie and April relaxing over a nice camp dinner – probably talking about seal poop!

While we don’t worry too much about rationing, many of our more precious food items can be found in the solar-power charged chest freezer, and our supply of dried pastas and baking goods give many meals that ‘homemade’ feel. Dried beans are also a treat, but require a bit of planning ahead what with soaking times and all.  Anything crisp or crunchy is an utter joy despite it being rather alarming to hear a ‘crunch’ come from the mouth of a fellow camper; not to worry, just the sound of a walnut, not a tooth breaking on coral left in the dishes from our ocean washing.

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The well-stocked kitchen tent at Pearl and Hermes monk seal camp.

Cooking in the field can be a bit of an adjustment- limited space, no running water, two burners, a metal box that charades as an oven, sand everywhere, flies, and not a fresh vegetable in sight.  On the upside, pretty much everything tastes better after a long day of working outdoors, and field campers make for very forgiving and appreciative dinner guests.  We compiled winning recipes and camp hacks throughout the season from fellow seal scientists up and down the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands chain.  Need a way to use your plethora of canned chili?  Plagued by sleepless nights thanks to a dozen brown noddies tap dancing on your tent roof?  Wondering how to bake a cake without burning it to a crisp in the Coleman oven?  Some camper has probably stumbled across a solution, and we typed it up into a comical stockpile of wisdom to share and pass on to future campers.  The Fantastic Fieldcamp Foodstuffs installments speak to the general hilarity that often pervades cooking operations in a tent on a tiny island.

We’ve tacked on a sample installment from our cookbook, but be forewarned:  things that taste fabulous in the field often fall a bit flat when you return to places with things like fresh produce and kitchen knives that cut, so pursue the recipes with appropriately mitigated expectations.

Fantastic Fieldcamp Foodstuffs Installment No.04

BEST MONK SEAL CHEF!

Fieldcamp cookbook cover designed by Ilana Nimz of Lisianski camp.

Hello, lovely campers!  This gem of an installment comes from Ilana Nimz.  Aquafaba (the water from a can of chickpeas, or from homemade chickpeas) is some strange miracle liquid that can be made into about a million things, like vegan meringue.  Those crazy vegans.  Here, it aids with the leavening of a super-quick flatbread.

This meal has been field-tested and approved twice-over!  I made it the other night, doubling the flatbread recipe and making a couscous salad instead of the tomato salad because tomatoes are precious on PHR.  Enjoy!

Flatbread

(makes 4 flatbreads)

  • 1c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder or 1 tsp jarred garlic
  • 1 tbsp herbs
  • 3 tbsp chickpea water from can (the chickpeas will be used in the falafel, so nothing goes to waste!)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2.5 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon

Knead ingredients together, then spray oil and roll out/knead for a little longer. Let mix sit covered for a few mins.  Prepare the falafel, salad or dressing in the meantime. When ready, break dough into 4 segments and roll out into ovals. I used a glass ball rolling pin for this to make it extra field-camp authentic.  Put the flattened dough into a lightly oiled skillet and cover for 2 mins, then flip and cover for another 2 mins. Bubbles may form and that’s A-ok.

Happy cookin!

All monk seal work was conducted under NOAA ESA/MMPA permits 16632-01 and/or 18786.

The final count: cruise for monitoring of effects of ocean and climate change in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands completed

By Chip Young

Scientists from the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) recently completed a 17-day expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where they conducted coral reef monitoring surveys at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Lisianski Island, and French Frigate Shoals. These 3 locations are part of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and World Heritage Site, the third largest marine protected area on Earth and the largest conservation area in the United States.

This PIFSC research cruise (HA-13-05) aboard the NOAA Ship Hi`ialakai implemented a standardized set of methods for the measurement of fluctuations in the region’s coral reef ecosystems caused by global climate change. NOAA’s National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) outlines the importance of monitoring changes in temperature and the chemical composition of ocean waters within which the coral reef ecosystems of the United States are found. Coral reefs are fragile biological systems that have been observed to live best in specific ranges of water temperatures and composition parameters. Changes in either of these ranges can cause a coral reef system to malfunction, through problematic processes that are familiar to much of the general public. Such processes, including coral bleaching (a result of increased ocean temperatures) and ocean acidification (a result of a drop in the ocean’s pH), affect the ability of corals and other reef organisms to calcify or “build their houses.” Other potential effects can occur, as well, such as shifts in biogeochemical cycles, shifts in species diversity, and changes in the ocean’s food web.

Jamison Gove and Chip Young of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division deploy oceanographic instrumentation on Sept. 13 at Lisianski Island as part of the recent research cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. NOAA photo by Oliver Vetter

Jamison Gove and Chip Young of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division deploy oceanographic instrumentation on Sept. 13 at Lisianski Island as part of the recent research cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. NOAA photo by Oliver Vetter

As part of the implementation of the NCRMP, CRED scientists on Sept. 3–19 deployed 16 arrays of temperature sensors along various reef systems, installing a total of 64 instruments at depths of 1–25 m. At its specific location on a reef, each sensor records the seawater temperature at the same time as other sensors, every 5 min, over a period of 3 years. The resulting product is a high-resolution picture of temperature variability of 16 different reef systems across space (across the archipelago and to a depth of 25 m) and time (3-year deployment of each sensor).

During the monitoring cruise earlier this month, 100 calcification accretion units (CAUs), like the one shown above, were installed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by staff of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division. CAUs are used to measure not only net reef calcification rates but also species-specific recruitment rates and the percent cover of corals, crustose coralline algae, and fleshy algae. NOAA photo

During the monitoring cruise earlier this month, 100 calcification accretion units (CAUs), like the one shown above, were installed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by staff of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division. CAUs are used to measure not only net reef calcification rates but also species-specific recruitment rates and the percent cover of corals, crustose coralline algae, and fleshy algae. NOAA photo

CRED scientists and partners also collected samples of seawater for chemical analysis, conducted hydrocasts with a conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) instrument, and deployed installations designed to measure specific biological activities that can be affected by changes in the pH of a reef’s waters. Settling plates, known as calcification accretion units (CAUs), are used to measure net reef calcification rates, species-specific recruitment rates, and the percent cover of corals, crustose coralline algae, and fleshy algae. Bioerosion monitoring units (BMUs) are made up of precisely measured pieces of calcium carbonate, the material that makes up the skeletal structure of corals, and will provide a value for how much biological removal of reef structure is naturally present along the reef. Autonomous reef monitoring structures (ARMS) essentially act as “hotels” for cryptic biota living within the matrix of a reef ecosystem and provide a standard method for evaluation of the existing community of sessile and mobile organisms found on a reef.

Including work conducted during this cruise and the earlier PIFSC cruise SE-13-05 to Kure Atoll in July, CRED scientists have installed 100 CAUs, 50 BMUs, and 24 ARMS throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands this year. Because monitoring activities associated with NCRMP are conducted on a triennial basis, CRED will return to these islands in 2016. At that time, researchers will retrieve and replace all instruments. NCRMP is a long-term project, and the goal of this work is to measure change over time. The results from this ongoing project will be available to help the managers of these remote islands monitor, evaluate, and predict the ecological effects of global climate change on the reefs of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.