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of Marine Life, Census of Coral Reefs Expedition to
French Frigate Shoals (October 2006)
Scientist: Russell Brainard, Scott Godwin
Target Habitats: Lagoonal sands
Target Organisms: Mobile epifauna, Infauna
Mobile sediments dominate large atoll ecosystems like French
Frigate Shoals, as they comprise much of the lagoon bottom.
Reef sands hold diverse epi- and in-fauna, and also accumulate
the skeletal remains of taxa that live on hard reef bottoms.
We will target both live and dead components of the sand
fauna. Live components will be collected by sieving 15
gallons of reef sand per lagoonal sand site over 1mm
mesh screen underwater, with only the retained fraction
taken on board for sorting. For the study of death assemblages
of skeletonized taxa (principally mollusks, although
forams, ostracods, and other taxa could also be studied
if future interest and expertise permit) 2 liters of
sand per site (for a total of 12 liters) will be collected
in a plastic bag, washed with freshwater and air-dried.
Shells will be picked by first sieving the sample into
size fractions to facilitate sorting, then picking proportionately
across size fractions, until 500 mollusk shells have
been picked. These quantitative samples permit rigorous
comparisons of mollusk biodiversity among habitats and
sites (see Peshut, 2000), and can be the most productive
technique for documenting the diversity of primarily
infaunal taxa, such as bivalve mollusks (Paulay, 2003).
The remainder of the samples collected to study death
assemblages will be examined, as time permits, to compile
a qualitative list of the relevant taxa. The sand from
the field screening that remains after removal of live
animals may also be retained for these purposes.
Back to collection methods
activities of the expedition.
or semi-daily personal journal entries by
in the expedition. These journals do not necessarily reflect
the positions of any of the agencies connected with this
Interviews with expedition participants, scientists,
vessel crew, educators, etc.
Highlights or special information such as interesting
discoveries, articles or related research.