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Friday, September 26, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
|Preliminary results from the benthic surveys|
This week's deployments were possible with the help of Lee James of Ultimate Whale Watching, who lent us his boat the Aloha Kai, a robust vessel that was ideal for the diving we were doing.
Now, we wait until January when we can retrieve the recorders and find out how these reefs may vary acoustically.
|The Aloha Kai in harbor, prior to our last instrument |
Monday, September 15, 2014
|Crown of thorns starfish devouring a coral|
|Lots of three-dimensional structure at Honolua Bay, where |
instruments were deployed on Saturday.
On Monday we are getting another boat that will help us continue to deploy instruments through the middle of this week. As a result of the generosity of several people, we may yet succeed in deploying all of the instruments that we initially planned on.
|Octopus at Honolua Bay|
Friday, September 12, 2014
|EAR acoustic recorder boards |
ready to program
We are deploying two types of acoustic recording device: the EAR, developed by Marc, and the DMON, developed at WHOI. The last few months have involved tireless work on the DMON by Jim Partan, a WHOI engineer, and after some lessons learned from field testing in Palau last month, Jim has made the DMON as robust as possible. The first of many went in the water today and, a few months from now, we will see how they fared.
|Back in business|
|Marc with the faulty |
|A large turtle resting on the reef as we carry out our visual surveys|
Friday, August 29, 2014
|Acoustic recorder deployed on a reef in northern Palau |
(Photo: M. Kaplan)
Two days later, we were back in port in Koror. From there we continued our data collection on local boats.
|Feather star (Photo: M. Kaplan)|
Over the course of approximately 20 dives, I was able to see some great marine life, some of which I have included here. Palau's reefs are some of the nicest that I've seen. In many places I saw large fish, which are rare in many parts of the world. Palau is working to protect these resources, and is currently planning to ban commercial fishing in all of its territorial waters. If they proceed with these plans, Palau's marine resources will continue to be a big draw for tourism. Of course, increasing numbers of visitors bring with them other environmental problems.
The expedition ended with a trip to a Jellyfish Lake, an enclosed saltwater lake with very dense swarms of non-stinging jellyfish (photo below).
I am grateful to Anne Cohen and her lab for inviting me along on this great trip, the boat drivers at PICRC, and the Captain and crew of the M/V Alucia, whose hospitality and vessel support was instrumental in making this trip a success. This trip was also an opportunity for me to field test the acoustic recorders that I will be using next week in Maui, when I deploy them for approximately 4 months. While most of the recordings were flawless, a couple glitches highlighted some areas for further improvement. Without the hard work of Jim Partan and Walter Zimmer, these recorders would not exist in their current form and I am especially grateful for their engineering efforts.
|Moorish idol (Photo: M. Kaplan)|
|Moray eel (Photo: M. Kaplan)|
|Sea cucumber (Photo: M. Kaplan)|
|Whitetip reef shark (Photo: M. Kaplan)|
Saturday, August 16, 2014
|Helen Island (M. Kaplan)|
The rangers were also extremely helpful, taking us in their boats to a range of sites around the reef where we collected coral cores, tissue, and water samples.
After a short day-and-a-half stay we had to depart again, this time heading to the very north of Palau's archipelago. We would have been happy to stay for a few more days to further explore the beautiful reefs. One of the rangers we spoke to told us that he had been there for five years. Perhaps we wouldn't have wanted to stay quite that long.
Monday, August 11, 2014
|Coral reef in Palau replete with juvenile fish (M. Kaplan)|
|A shallow coral lagoon in Palau (M. Kaplan)|
|Acoustic recording device (left) &other instruments |
At the moment we are preparing to head out to sea, first to collect offshore water samples and then to head south to some of Palau's more remote reefs. This is a rare opportunity to sample in some of these areas, and in part because access is so infrequent we are bringing fuel and a boat for the three rangers that live on one of these remote reefs.