Few people have ever seen a healthy coral reef, not even most reef researchers themselves. Almost all the world’s coral reefs are now degraded to a greater or lesser extent, the result of our encroaching activities. To find a pristine reef, you must travel to the most remote parts of the oceans, to places such as the Line Islands in the central Pacific.
In just a few days, researchers from Scripps and SDSU, joined by other collaborators as well, will set out to spend a month studying coral reefs in the Northern Line Islands. They’ll be diving at six atolls, including pristine Kingman Reef with its abundant sharks as well as on the ailing reefs around highly-populated Christmas Atoll. These sixteen researchers will spend hour after hour underwater—counting fish, surveying the corals and the algae, sampling the microbes—asking how can we reverse the decline of the reefs.
Follow their explorations on our blog and Facebook page. We’ll be posting the latest news and photos coming in from onboard the Hanse Explorer.