Home Once Again

This post completes the blog for the 2010 Line Islands Expedition. We invite you to dip into the 45 earlier posts available in the blog archive. There you can follow the Fish, Benthic, and Microbe Teams as they visit the coral reefs at six of the Northern Line Islands, collecting data, samples, and adventures at each. by Stuart Sandin, head … Read More

Battle Zones

by Katie Barott, member of the Microbe Team Life on the reef is a constant battle for survival. For corals, the struggle begins as soon as the coral larva attaches itself to something on the bottom and starts to establish some space for itself. No space on the bottom is unoccupied. Every location is colonized by some kind of organism, … Read More

Christmas Corals

by Forest Rohwer, head researcher on the Microbe Team In 2005, we surveyed the reefs along the western and southwestern sides of Christmas Atoll. There were lots of microbes and algae, the coral was mostly dead, and big fish were almost non-existence. This was particularly striking when compared to nearby reefs such as Kingman. Since 2005, our working group has … Read More

Christmas is Delayed This Year

by Forest Rohwer, head researcher on the Microbe Team The wrap-up of an expedition is always hectic. This is doubly true for the current trip because we needed to switch from a ship-board operation to a land-based one. This meant that two days were spent packing up everything on the ship and moving it on shore. First, the equipment had … Read More

The Snow Fields of Christmas Atoll

The Hanse Explorer has arrived at Christmas Island, the last of the six to be visited on this expedition.Christmas is home to the largest human population of any of the Line Islands. Among the four islands surveyed in 2005, the reefs near the villages also had the largest population of pathogenic microbes, the smallest amount of coral cover, the fewest … Read More

What’s on TV Tonight?

by Nichole Price, member of the Benthic Team Each night brings a different hit television program for us to watch on our big screen TV—the swirling waters on all sides illuminated by the faint glow of the deck lights of the Hanse Explorer. Each night the story line is the same: the large apex predators consume the smaller bait fish … Read More

Some Like it Acidic — We Hope

by Nichole Price, member of the Benthic Team It is widely realized that the health and sustainability of coral reefs are under constant assault from a variety of human activities including overfishing and pollution, as well as from the rising sea surface temperatures due to human-driven climate change. But there is another threat, one recognized more recently and thus less … Read More

The Tent Brigade

by Jen Smith, head researcher on the Benthic Team Prior to setting out on this expedition, I really had no idea how the Benthic Team was going to accomplish the goal we had set: performing three separate experiments at each island given no more than four days each. It seemed impossible. Now, after our fourth island, we have settled into … Read More

A Few Sharky Places

by Jill Harris, member of the Benthic Team We pulled up to our dive site at Jarvis this morning and, like every other morning, Gareth jumped into the water to set the anchor. This time, however, his head popped back up: “Hey, it’s pretty sharky down here.” Everyone talks about how many sharks there are at Kingman Reef, one of … Read More

Go Away!

by Forest Rohwer, head researcher on the Microbe team We’ve been setting out cameras to monitor the reef at night. This morning we went to get the cameras set out last night on the reef here at Jarvis Island. Two of us dropped into the water and were immediately surrounded by a school of 53 sharks. Their backs were hunched … Read More