Coral Reef Monitoring and Assessment Expedition Completed in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

The alga <em>Boodlea</em> dominated many areas of the Kure Atoll lagoon surveyed during the 2009 RAMP 
             expedition and overgrew some coral colonies.
The alga Boodlea dominated many areas of the Kure Atoll lagoon surveyed during the 2009 RAMP expedition and overgrew some coral colonies.

Scientists from the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center joined with partners to complete a comprehensive ecological survey of coral reef habitats in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

The 2009 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) expedition was conducted using the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai during September and October 2009. A team of 19 scientists from the Center's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the University of Miami, the University of Hawai'i, Reef Check Hawaii, Paepae o He'eia, and the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources participated in the expedition.

Researchers studied fishes, algae, corals, and 'opihi (Hawaiian limpet) at Nīhoa and Necker Islands, Gardner Pinnacles, Maro Reef, Lisianski Island, Kure and Midway Atolls, and Laysan Island. At Kure Atoll, scientists noted that Boodlea sp. algae dominated many areas in the lagoon and overgrew some coral colonies. The algal bloom was first reported by CRED staff during a September 2008 expedition to remove marine debris from the reef.