Latest News
For Teachers
For Keiki (Kids)
About the Area
Photo Images
Video Images
Maps and Satellite Images
More Info

You are here: /main/research expeditions/May 2005/Day 2 Midway Atoll

Midway Atoll, Day 2
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology Team

USS Macaw. Photo by Robert

Our second day at Midway started off slowly since the morning was reserved for much needed R&R time for the crew of the Hi’ialakai. On a daily basis I try to describe the long hours that the scientists are putting in, but these probably pale in comparison to the long, rigorous hours that the crew of the ship puts in to keep this operation running smoothly. We are all extremely grateful for their hard work, and realize that we couldn’t accomplish our goals without them.

Midway is a strange and fascinating place. One of the questions that I had at dinnertime for a couple of the other scientists was whether the history of human activities on this island influences their studies using the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a place of low human impact to compare to other geographical regions. Despite military occupation until the late 1990’s and a failed attempts at ecotourism shortly following, Midway Atoll is still a relatively undisturbed location. The coral team noticed lots of healthy Montipora capitata (rice coral) as they continued to set another permanent transect today. Their work took place at two sites. One was at a permanent transect that they placed today, and the other was at a permanent transect previously established by Jim Maragos (USFWS). Jim Maragos and Greta Aeby are collaborating with their work on coral reef sites in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While Greta is an ecologist specifically studying coral disease, Jim is a species identification expert and together they are able to present a more complete picture of coral health in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Noticing so many healthy corals today was interesting for the coral team, especially following the heavy incidence of bleaching at Pearl and Hermes Atoll and French Frigate Shoals. Usually, the northern three atolls (Pearl and Hermes, Midway and Kure) are most susceptible to bleaching. When Greta returns to these sites in September, she will be able to compare their health at that time, when the weather and water are warmer. It is more likely to see coral bleaching later in the summertime, and the establishment of permanent transects is the perfect way to understand these events.

The fish team headed out to tag more sharks and jacks and collect more samples for Brian Bowen’s connectivity project. Yannis, Carl, Randy, Harvey along with today’s addition to the Magnificent 5, Jason Kehn, tagged three Galapagos Sharks and three Ulua. Yannis also successfully placed one transceiver at a spot in Midway. At the site of their first dive, the fish team was fortunate enough to see a giant grouper. Yannis estimated its size to be “almost as big as me!” Spotting an enormous grouper is rare even in these waters. The fish team took their second dive near the pier where we are docked, since particular species tend to congregate nearby structures such as piers and shipwrecks.

We have another day of field operations at Midway tomorrow before we continue on to Kure Atoll. As with all of our other sites on this cruise, days in the field do not cease to amaze and inspire us. Midway, as different as its history has been from other atolls in this chain, is as intriguing and important for the scientists as all the others.




Home | News | About | Expeditions | Photos | Video | Maps
Discussions | Partners | Teachers | Keiki | More Info | Search
Contact Us | Privacy Policy
This site is hosted by the
Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies
at the University of Hawai`i