Boiling Cold Water at Jarvis Island

By Jennifer Smith, head researcher on the Benthic Team Before dawn yesterday we crossed the equator, arriving soon thereafter at Jarvis Island. This small, US-owned island, part of the new Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, is about as far away from sizable human populations as one can get. Upon awakening, the first thing I noticed was that the water … Read More

Jarvis Island: Clinching the Argument

The Hanse Explorer departed from Washington Island Tuesday evening and arrived Thursday morning at Jarvis Island. So doing it transported the researchers from heavily populated Washington to uninhabited Jarvis, from human-impacted reefs to reefs that are truly spectacular. The next few posts tell of the sharky-ness and of the importance of the reefs at Jarvis Island. by Forest Rohwer, head … Read More

A Pleasant Find for this Particular Ocean

by Gareth Williams, member of the Benthic Team Lionfish are a hot topic in coral reef conservation at present. They are an invasive predatory species in the Caribbean and are devastating fish populations on the reefs. However, in the Pacific they are native and a lucky find for a diver during the day. As we searched for cryptic species hiding … Read More

Medical Report

by Craig Cook, MD Life on a scientific vessel cruising tropical islands sounds exotic, but there is often a price to pay. The scientific work can be quite physically demanding. Almost everyone has bruises from banging into things, even from getting into and out of our dive boats. No matter how careful we are, we are at the mercy of … Read More

Stuart Sandin Featured on NYT “Scientist at Work” Blog

Stuart Sandin, head researcher of the Fish Team and veteran of previous research expeditions, is sharing reports from the current Line Islands expedition with the followers of the Scientist at Work blog at the New York Times. That blog, described as “the modern version of a field journal, a place for reports on the daily progress of scientific expeditions — … Read More

The Underappreciated Reef Algae

by Jennifer Smith, head researcher on the Benthic Team Coral reefs are known for their spectacular diversity and striking beauty. When most people think of coral reefs they think of the colorful coral animals themselves—the organisms that build the reef structure and provide habitat, shelter, and food for a number of other reef inhabitants. but much diversity and beauty are … Read More

Getting It at Kingman Reef

By Levi Lewis, a Ph.D. student in the Smith Lab, SIO “Okay, I get it.” Dr. Sandin (head researcher on the Fish Team) was asking what I thought of my first dive on Kingman Reef, one of the most remote and pristine coral reef ecosystems in the world. As a new PhD student in the coral reef lab at SIO, … Read More

The Past, Present, and Future of the Reefs at Fanning Atoll

by the Paleo-Benthic Team To a Paleo-Benthic, today’s coral reefs are rich in clues about their past and offer hints as to their future. Atolls such as those that make up the Line Islands are built of the dead skeletons of corals, foraminifera, and calcifying algae. Beneath the deep layers of marine skeletal debris is the old, extinct volcano that … Read More

Clocking the Microbes

by Forest Rohwer, head researcher on the Microbe Team Microbes are major players in the health or decline of a coral reef. On the 2005 Line islands Expedition, we found that there were ten times as many microbes in each milliliter of reef water on the degraded, algae-covered reefs at Christmas Island as compared to pristine Kingman. Not only were … Read More