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

Day 2, French Frigate Shoals
by Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeology Team

Last night as most of the scientists were fast asleep, the R/V Hi’ialakai was just beginning its nighttime operations with the multi- beam mapping team who collect their data throughout the night. On Monday night, Drew, Susan, Jonathan and Joyce deployed the Towed Optical Assessment Device (TOAD). The TOAD device (pictured at left) is a remotely operated camera that is towed behind the ship to record video data of the seafloor for later benthic habitat characterization that are combined with bathymetry to create a benthic habitat map of the seafloor. This way the scientists can use two different types of data to create highly sophisticated maps of the seafloor in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While Drew spent the night operating the TOAD device on the deck of the ship, Jonathan, Susan and Joyce monitored the real time video streaming in from the TOAD device on the seafloor and helped Drew keep the device at just the right distance above the seafloor to avoid collisions. This team has the rare opportunity to collect data from a site that few, if any, have and will ever see.

For the coral disease team, today was an especially productive day of mapping and recording coral disease on the reefs of French Frigate Shoals. The group deployed this morning hoping to relocate a diseased spot. In 2003, Greta had visited the site and noticed white syndrome (a type of coral disease) in two spots. In 2004, she revisited the site and noticed the disease at 3 spots. This year, upon returning to the same spot, she realized that the disease had spread much beyond previous years. This is exactly why permanent transects are an important part of the work that she does in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. While the disease seems to be spreading, it is difficult to know if the team is returning to the exact same spot where disease was recorded in previous years. By setting the permanent transects, they are able to know exactly how coral disease spreads and progresses. The team also tagged coral colonies with disease to monitor these diseased areas in the future. Their work is an important part of long term monitoring goals that scientists have in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Day two was a success on many levels. Another day begins tomorrow at French Frigate Shoals when groups will deploy at 730 am.





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