In the Monument, the Coral Health Team has explored numerous reefs, ranging in depth from 3 ft to 60 ft on the backreef and forereef of these remote islands and atolls. Over this range of depths and locations (windward, leeward), and weather conditions, the reefs can be strikingly different! At each location we assess a variety of ecological and physiological metrics, including: disease prevalence, coral bleaching percentages, coral benthic cover and species composition, and we collect water samples and coral samples to study the physiological ecology and genetic of the coral and their symbionts. Finally, we collect hundreds of high resolution images along the reef to generate a 3D mosaic model of the reef substrate so that we can understand the structural complexity of these reefs, and the species present, at this point in time. Pretty cool stuff!
Want to learn more? Check out the NOAA RAMP Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument research blog to see some great photos of the Health Team in action, and learn about the cool research our team has been conducting.
Studying Coral Health In Papahānaumokuākea