Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beginning 2011 Field Season

We’re finally here!  After a few days of diving and errands on Oahu and a very short, luxurious flight to Midway (2.5 hrs, compared to previously 5 hours!), Anne and I are happy to see familiar faces and places at Midway. 

Many, many albatross chicks are all over the island, including in the roads, which makes riding our bikes and driving our golf cart challenging.  They also like to rest in the shade, so we have to be careful to check under our cart before driving away.  It’s just the beginning of fledging season, so we see the first birds out on the reef and on the beaches.  However, we still see the parents feeding their chicks by regurgitating (throwing up) squid, fish eggs, and often lots of plastic.

During our first two days on the water, Anne and I have checked out many of our main sites and begun working on two of our ongoing projects, temperature loggers and pearl oyster recruitment. 

We have temperature loggers recording water temperature every 15 minutes near the seafloor at 1-4 m deep scattered throughout the backreef and patch reefs of the atoll.  At the beginning and end of every field season, we collect, download, and re-deploy them, which is what Anne and I have been doing the past two days (photo at left). 

We also began examining recruitment (settling out of larvae) of pearl oysters to spat collectors (photo at right) today.  We’re reducing the number of sites we’re examining to save time, so we moved some around today to replace spat collectors that were lost during the winter.

We’ve been happy to already see lots of spinner dolphins, turtles, monk seals, reef sharks, and uluas (giant trevallies), as well as a variety of reef fishes, corals, algae, urchins, and other invertebrates.  Check out our photo page for many more photos!

Tomorrow, we’ll talk a bit more about the events that have had Midway in the international news lately: the March 2011 tsunami, short-tailed albatrosses, and an emergency 747 landing last week.


pixelation said...

This blog is a great idea-- and provides me with yet another way to waste time rather than do my grad reading-- but I'm enjoying it so far, keep it up!

pixelation said...

This blog is a great idea-- also a fantastic distraction from my grad reading-- keep it up!

Kristin said...

Glad I could help distract you, Rimma! Hope I can keep it up this summer - last year I only did about 3 entries! I'm always up for ideas if you want to know more about something!