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expeditions/May 2005/Day 3 FFS
3, French Frigate Shoals
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology Team
was our last day of fieldwork at French Frigate Shoals before
we head north to Maro Reef early tomorrow morning. While the
coral disease team continued to set permanent transects, and
the maritime archaeology team investigated an unidentified
wreck near Skate Island, the fish team went two separate ways
in the zodiac and whaler. Once these small boats were launched
from the Hi’ialakai this morning, Brian and Jeff headed
to the east of Trig Island to continue collecting samples
for their genetic studies work. They have been collecting
at three different habitats over the course of our work at
French Frigate Shoals: acropora reef areas, spur and groove,
and back reef habitats. Today, they concentrated on back reef
habitats. They were successful in their work today and had
another evening processing their samples in the wet lab late
into the evening.
Collectively, the fish team is helping to answer questions
about the ecosystem in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Their work will help answer questions about how to manage
these vast areas that tend to be managed as separate ecosystems.
four days of work off the Hi’ialakai, scientists and
crew have the routine of deploying the small boats in the
morning and returning in the late afternoon down pretty well.
However, we have to remind ourselves every morning as we gather
all of our gear and supplies that we need for the days work
that we can’t let anything we do out here become too
routine. As we transit around the atolls and jump in beautiful
electric blue water to conduct our daily operations, we are
so far away from everything and safety is a huge issue for
all scientists and crew. Luckily, the crew of the Hi’ialakai
is an incredible team who make our work out here not only
possible, but successful and safe on a daily basis.