Nicole Macias, June 24, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Nicole Macias
Onboard NOAA Vessel Oscar Elton Sette 
May 31-June 28, 2009 

Mission: Lobster Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Date: June 24, 2009

Weather Data from the Bridge 
Location: 25° 04.341’N, 169° 34.084’W
Wind Speed: 19 kts.
Air Temp: 26.1° C

This is the invasive Hypnea algae that we collected in the lobster traps.

This is the invasive Hypnea algae that we collected in the lobster traps.

Science and Technology Log 

We finished collecting data on the lobsters of the North Western Hawaiian Islands. As soon as Bob, the Chief Scientist, is finished inputting his data I will give you a brief over view of the findings. During the entire cruise there was a special white bucket in “the pit” that was specifically for holding all the algae that would come up in the traps. Algae is like seaweed. We have lots of it in Florida, but it seems that the algae we collected on this trip are very different and there is a greater variety. Just as we have invasive species in Florida so does Hawaii. An invasive species is an alien species (transported to a location outside its native range) whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm. When we pull up the lobster pods and take out any organisms we also have a bucket for any algae.

The other day we collected algae called Hypnea musciformis. It is very invasive and was actually introduced to Hawaii from Florida! This algae is a huge threat to Hawaii’s near-shore reefs because it smothers the coral and the surrounding reef reducing diversity in the reef community. There are currently four efforts in Hawaii to manage the invasive algae situation. They have a volunteer-based algae removal effort, a mechanical suction system capable of removing large volumes of algae, research on biological control using native grazers and finally they are researching the feasibility of repopulation of native algal species. It is important for humans to understand their impact on the environment and invasive species is a great example to look at. One human bringing a species somewhere it doesn’t belong can destroy whole ecosystems.

Personal Log 

Tomorrow we are going to Turn Island to pick up a few scientists that need a ride back to Honolulu. If the weather cooperates the scientists will get the opportunity to take the small boats and explore the island. I am excited because there are supposed to be quite a few seals that hang out on the beach. If we get to go on this adventure I will be sure to report back to you ASAP.