This past June, the Baum Lab completed our 14th expedition to Kiritimati led again by Kristina Tietjen, the project manager.
On this trip we surveyed fish and urchins, conducted herbivore observations, sampled our tagged adult coral colonies, sampled the coral recruitment tiles, photographed the reef, and recorded the reef soundscape. We also added two new data collections to our repertoire; turf height and coral growth!
We were excited to see that the reefs that had been inundated by macroalgae in 2017 had significantly less algae cover this past summer. Maybe a phase shift to a macroaglae dominated reef has been avoided! Fingers are crossed for the continued recovery of the reef to a coral dominated state. Unfortunately there were only 24 recruits on the 200 tiles recollected this summer, which was the second time the recruitment tiles have been sampled. However, in better news, the team did see many juvenile corals on the reef.
We are now working hard to process the samples from all of the field seasons that the lab conducted in the past few years and we are looking forward to sharing our results with you in the near future.
We will be conducting additional field seasons in the following summers to further document the recovery of Kiritimati's reefs.
Contact Julia (baum 'at' uvic.ca) or Kristina (kiritimatiprojectmanager 'at' gmail.com) for more information. For more information about our fieldwork on Kiritimati: kiritimati.weebly.com/
Follow us on Twitter: @baumlab and @tietjenk
Top - A mostly dead reef in the low disturbance area on Kiritimati (credit - K. Bruce)
Top Right - A juvenile Acropora sp. on the reef (credit - K. Bruce)
Middle Right - A Brown Booby visits the team on the boat (credit - K. Tietjen)
Bottom Right - An anemone on a recruitment tile (credit - K. Bruce)
Below (the top one) - A male and female octopus mating (credit - J. Baum)
Below (the bottom one) - J. Smith and J. Baum swimming along a transect on Kiritimati (credit - K. Bruce)