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Depart: Honolulu, Hawaii
Focus: Diving, filming, land explorations
Human beings are intimately related with the oceans. One billion people depend on food and other resources obtained from coral reefs, one of the ocean’s most productive and diverse ecosystems. But these precious places are being degraded and destroyed at an alarming rate around the world by major stressors such as global climate change, overfishing, and pollution. Therefore it has become more important than ever to not only protect but also to learn from these places, so that they can continue to support the healthy and biodiverse communities on which humans depend so closely.
Rachel Morrison, PhD Student, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
The Line Islands – protecting pristine reefs
The Northern Line Islands are part of the recent Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument that was established in 2009 in hopes to further protect some of the few remaining near-pristine reefs left in our oceans. We commonly hear about overfishing, climate change, and pollution when it comes to how we’re damaging our oceans but rarely about the effects of ship groundings and wrecks on reefs
Recently, a link has been noticed between shipwrecks in the Pacific Islands and the outbreak of corallimorphs as a marine invasive species. Corallimrophs, a toxic organism resembling a cross between a coral and anenome, have blossomed on these reefs and killed off all corals in their path. Huge portions of once-dense coral reefs are now covered in this brown, invasive species.
The goal of our research is to determine what causes this shift on the reef and how to best manage and restore these reefs back to their original state. Since these reefs represent some of the few untouched ecosystems left, it is of utmost importance that we manage and conserve them so that they will be around for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
Pangaea Explorations is inviting a handful of guest crew to join this important mission. We are looking for divers, journalists, photographers, educators and passionate individuals to compliment the dedicated Scripps science team.