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CMG Coral Reef Studies Featured in Moloka'i's Newspaper

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CMG scientists conducting field studies of coral reefs off the island of Moloka'i in the Hawaiian Islands have caught the attention of the local press. Read all about it in the two following articles, reprinted with permission from The Dispatch, The Newspaper of Molokai.

Moloka'i Reef Survey by USGS—Part 1

by Gerry Anderson

(Reprinted with permission, from the January 27, 2000 issue of The Dispatch)

Andrea Ogston with the instrument package
Project head Andrea Ogston and the reef instrument package.
No! The object in the ocean on the reef off of Hotel Moloka'i is not a UFO that landed with aliens intent on taking over the island and the world. The object is a 150-pound instrument package and is part of a project directed by Dr. Andrea Ogston of the U.S. Geological Survey aimed at gathering data on the reef off the south coast of Moloka'i as part of a study of this important resource. The overall goal of the research project is to attempt to understand the things that affect the reef, including ocean conditions and runoff from storms.

In an interview with The Dispatch last week, she described the package and how it will be used. It is designed to be installed in shallow water with the measuring instruments under the water and the support equipment (computer and batteries) above the water, with four prominent orange flags that will allow boaters and fishermen to spot the package and keep well clear. The various sensors are attached on the legs and will measure currents, wave and tide heights, salinity and temperature, and suspended sediment in the water. All the data will be recorded once every hour and on a hard disk located on the top of the package out of the water. Initially the USGS team will go out to the package at periodic intervals and download the data. Later the entire package will be brought back to shore for downloading of data.

instrument package
This photo, taken by Gerry Anderson after the January 27 article was published, shows Andrea's instrument package in the water.
Because this is an experimental device, Ogston was unsure how long it would last. The battery is designed to last for months, but the limiting factor may be biological fouling of the instruments. It is hoped that sometime during its deployment, there will be a significant rainstorm that produces runoff from the land so that the effects of the runoff in terms of suspended sediment can be measured. While this deployed package is important for gathering data on the reef, it is just a part of the overall study. Mapping of the reef has also started using an airborne laser device (sic).

The USGS team emphasized that the reef off the south shore of Moloka'i is one of the best in the Hawaiian Islands and that it is very important that we understand the things affecting the reef so that we can take action to avoid damaging it. So when you see the four orange flags sticking out of the water off of Hotel Moloka'i, stay clear, and remember, the information gathered by the instruments under the flags will help us conserve this valuable resource.

Related Web Sites
The Dispatch
The Newspaper of Molokai

Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS Looks at Moloka'i's Coral Reefs
May 1999
Coral Reef Studies on Moloka'i: a Progress Report
December 1999

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