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You are here: /main/research expeditions/NOWRAMP 2002



The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (NOWRAMP) is a multi-agency, multi-year effort that began in 2000. NOWRAMP's objective is to rapidly evaluate and map the shallow water reef habitats in the NWHI.

The R/V Rapture carried us safely back to Oahu on October 7th after a month gathering data at sea. Our continuing task is to analyze this data and share our findings with the world. To find out more about our ship, go to

Click here to see a list of participants.

Click here to see the sail plan.

Click on one of the following areas to follow the expedition.

Ship Logs

Ship Logs:
Day-by-day activities of the ship: what research is being done that day, what the weather is like, what's for dinner, etc.

Daily or semi-daily personal journal entries by the particpants in the expedition. These journals do not necessarily reflect the positions of any of the agencies connected with this project.

Interviews with expedition participants, scientists, vessel crew, educators, etc.

Highlights or special information such as interesting discoveries or related research.

Talk About It!

What is the overall purpose of this expedition?

Asked by Michelle from Windward Community College on Sep 19, 2002.
As an educator in biology, I found that although your journaling provides insight into the island scenery and what it is like to live on a vessel, I am not clear on the purpose of your trip and the research you are conducting. It would help my students if you would explain what you are looking at, why you are looking at it, and how you go about doing it. From the journals I have read, it appears you are on vacation.

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 20, 2002.
Thanks for your comment! Over the next few weeks we will strive to provide more information on the science we are doing and what we are finding. Through the journals, we are trying to reach a broad audience and give them a flavor of this place. As is the nature with science, most of the findings will take some time before they are published in order to provide accurate information, but we will strive to post all of the findings that we can. To give you an example of the complexities involved in publishing what we have found, most of the invertebrate samples will be brought back to Honolulu and distibuted to experts across the globe for taxonomic clsasification, a process that may take years. New species will most likely be found, and new relationships discovered. A similar process will happen for many of the seaweeds sampled and pressed. Overall, NOWRAMP's mission is data collection. Long days of diving and nights of data entry consume 16 hours per day, and prohibit any type of data analysis while on ship. We have allocated funding to process the data post-mission, and will strive to make this information available in a timely manner.

How do you communicate with the outside world?

Asked by Student from Windward Community College on Sep 19, 2002.
Describe the technology you are using to communicate to other scientists and schools around the globe.

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 20, 2002.
We are using an Inmarsat Fleet-77 satellite system to send back web updates, communications via email, and satellite phone service. The system consists of a big dome that sits on our aft deck. This dome communicates with a satellite that in turn communicates to the Internet. Our website is hosted at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

What will the end product of the voyage be?

Asked by Rory from Honolulu on Sep 19, 2002.
At what location and from what coral reef types are you actually jumping off of and preserving for later generations to study in classes like oceanography? What should be the end product and what else are you looking for?

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 20, 2002.
Please follow the website for the details of where we are going and what we are doing. The end product is to collect more data on this area to better understand and manage it.

Who are your support people?

Asked by Robert on Sep 21, 2002.
I am ex-military and have been in the boonies. Reading the journals, I noticed the descriptions of the Rapture crew: the captain finding a coral garden, the good food (we never had that) and the sailors handling the boat under rough seas. Who are these support people? Sounds like the guys I proudly served with!

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 22, 2002.
The kids who handle the boats are staff of the Rapture, and although a few have been in the military, most are in their early 20's and are not "sailors" or active military personnel. For more information, click on the list of participants at the top of this page.

When did the R/V RAPTURE return?

Asked by Halealoha on Oct 3, 2002.
Do you folks know what day you will be arriving back on O'ahu?

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Oct 8, 2002.
The Rapture arrived back safely in Honolulu on Monday, October 7th at Aloha Tower.

Wow! from Albuquerque

Asked by Tereah on Oct 10, 2002.
WOW! I'm quite impressed by this entire project. As a teacher in the Albuquerque public school system, I will definitely use a lot of this information in my middle school teaching, as well as sharing it with high school students. I found the information on coral bleaching to be particularly interesting. I hope that more funding will be available for the preservation of coral reefs in the future. This is a very important area that we need to know more about. Thank you!

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Oct 11, 2002.
You are very welcome, and thank you for your comments. It's good to know that people all over the nation (and the world) are inspired to learn about these topics!

What are your jobs like?

Asked by Justin from Cherokee High School, Tennessee on Dec 30, 2002.
You have the most amazing jobs in the world! Do your jobs ever feel like work instead of something that you love to do? What is involved in your line of work? Do you write alot of reports and work long hours? Do you spend alot of time getting grants or money to do your studies at sea? Does most of the work and studies happen at sea or in labs?

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Dec 30, 2002.
Thanks for asking! It really depends on the day. Sometimes it feels like impossible work, and other days it is very gratifying. All of the people on the expeditions were there for different reasons and came from different backgrounds. Even though we were very lucky to be doing this work, the hours were long and draining. Some participants wrote grants to do their research, but many were paid by the particular institution they already work for, such as NOAA or the University of Hawai'i. For the researchers, the field work is only the beginning. It is followed by many long hours in the lab identifying what they found, or writing reports on their findings.

Research jobs for high school students

Asked by David from San Francisco on Jan 23, 2003.
I'm a high school junior, an experienced scuba diver and am very interested in marine biology. I want to participate in a scientific research project this summer. Do you know of any for teens?

Answered by Andy Collins of the NOW-RAMP Crew on Jan 24, 2003.
Unfortunately, we do not have an existing volunteer program. The only volunteer programs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are targeted more towards college students and are run by the National Marine Fisheries Service Honolulu Lab (monk seal monitoring and marine debris clean-up):

There are also volunteer programs under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (wildlife monitoring programs):

I hope this helps! You may also want to take a look at this site:

Mahalo for your interest, and best of luck to you!

Click here to ask question about the topic of this page! Ask About It!

Creature Feature!

Mystery of the Corals
(click here to learn more)

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