Saturday, July 30, 2011


Not a whole lot to say about our work because Anne has been ill, it's been rainy and windy, and we’ve been on land nearly all week.  The number of albatrosses is rapidly declining, so people are starting to leave the "gooney fences" around buildings open and it's much easier to drive on the roads.  The island will feel very empty without them, but we're glad to see them fledge!  However, we've been seeing lots of Laysan duck broods (photo left) - the ducklings are adorable!!

I was able to convince the FWS volunteers Amelia and Eryn to come out with me Wednesday to collect coral reproductive samples at three different sites across the atoll.  They didn’t have an amazing time because they had a hard time getting into our small boat without a ladder, Eryn’s underwater camera flooded, and the waves and currents were pretty rough.  They survived and were tough though!  The highlight for me was, besides getting some work done finally, spotting two banded coral shrimp (photo right) clinging upside down in a small cave.

Tuesday morning, I accompanied a coastal engineer snorkeling along the southeast seawall.  He’s checking the condition of the seawall that protects the runway, but we were both unpleasantly surprised by the amount of metal debris there (photo left).  I enjoyed the diversity of fishes and saw a few species I don’t see very often.

Anne is well on her way to recovery now, so we spent the past few days measuring the depth of the Fuel and Cargo Piers (photo right) in order to determine how the beach changes year to year and preparing to deploy cages for my pearl oyster growth, survival, and predation experiment next week.  We’re looking forward to getting back in the water!!

Another group was out here last week to photograph and video-record Midway for a variety of art projects.  Among other projects, Chris Jordan’s group is creating a documentary about Midway and focusing the amount of plastic albatross chicks ingest (photo left), which exacerbates dehydration and starvation problems and probably increases death.  Chris Jordan’s work will be featured in the new Open Oceans exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For more information on them, check out and
Photo Credit: Chris Jordan

Several contractors are coming out here next week to examine and bid on “rehabilitating” the Seaplane Hangar (photo below), which was heavily bombed both on Dec 7 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day) and during the Battle of Midway (June 4-6 1942).  It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and was used for repairing PBY Catalina seaplanes that were essential to the war effort.  FWS has committed many millions of dollars to repairing the deteriorating structure that is now used for storage of heavy equipment.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the update - can you speak to the issue about possible euthanization of the aggressive male monk seals?

Kristin said...

Hi! All I know about this is that a vet came through here on his way back from Kure. He was up there to euthanize an aggressive male monk seal that had been terrorizing and, I think, killing juveniles. They couldn't find the monk seal while he was there, so they didn't ever euthanize it. That's all I know!