Notes from the Field: Hawaii

Emily Kelly (left) scraping turf algae with Kerrie Krosky of UH Hilo. credit: Rebecca Most

Emily Kelly has hopped over from Maui to the Big Island of Hawaii for the month of August to work on a project in collaboration with the University of Hawaii, Hilo and the US National Park Service at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.  The research team is investigating how fast fish eat algae and how fast algae grows in areas of high and low nutrients on the reef.  The team is looking at grazing on and growth of macroalgae (the bigger seaweed you see waving around on the reef) and turf algae (the brown fuzzy carpet that covers dead coral or rocks) and has set up the experiment to allow for no grazing (cage), grazing by only fish (fence to keep urchins out), grazing by only urchins (canopy to keep fish out), and grazing by both (open areas).  Over time, the team will measure what changes they see in the amount of algae in each plot.  Two weeks into the project and with a team of 6 divers, the turf experiment is installed and running!  More updates to come as the team sees what changes may occur over the course of the experiment!