Marine Conservation Biology in Hawaii

Day Thirteen (1/25/08) – Hit the Road Jack!
by -- January 26th, 2008

When we first arrived on Midway all we heard was the sound of albatross ‘applause,’ but now we can hear individual albatross sounds and can picture the movements that accompany them. Today, our last day on Midway, we were treated to a snorkeling trip at ‘Site 172’ where we saw three species of large jacks, known in Hawaii as Ulua. Overall, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to study wildlife management and conservation in such a unique setting.

Albatrosses

Albatrosses

Thinking back on the first night that we arrived at Midway Atoll, all we could hear as we tried to fall asleep were the sounds of the albatrosses. The next morning several of us tried to describe the sounds and most of us agreed that it reminded us of a loud audience applauding and whistling, or on several mornings we would wake up thinking that what we heard were raindrops tapping on our windows. Today, we can sit with our eyes closed and listen to the albatrosses and know that what we hear is not a single cluster of noise, but rather, unique sounds made by individuals. Each of the sounds are accompanied by a certain body movement, such as shaking their heads uncontrollably during a courtship dance that sounds like drum rolls, or throwing their heads back in a long moan, or giving low caring squeaks as they prepare to incubate their eggs or new-born chick. Amazingly, we can now picture their actions just based on sounds.

Today is our last day on the island and Barry Christenson, Refuge Manager, treated us to a second day of snorkeling. We were at “Site 172” on the eastern side of the atoll and the beauty of this site surpassed everything we had seen on snorkel trips thus far. We were blown away by the masses of goatfish, parrotfish, wrasses, angelfish, butterflyfish and larege jacks, but more importantly the habitat that supports them – the coral reefs. The reefs were spectacular fringing reefs and coral carpets that were vibrant shades of purple and yellow.

We will miss being on the atoll and are grateful for the incredible opportunity that we’ve been granted to study wildlife management and conservation in a unique setting where we can appreciate the presence of spinner dolphins, monk seals, seabirds and basking sea turtles all in one place.

3 Comments

  1. Siham Al Busaidy
    Dec 8, 2009

    Amazing photos Saada, now that you have been to midway you will be able to tell us the difference of corals and marine life between Midway and Abu Dhabi.Dubai has launched Blue Community to protect coastal developments , in the Gulf countries, though they are reclaiming the sea and building the Palm, the World and there is a new project the Galaxy. However, U.N. school in coordination with Nakheel developers are going to put up rules and regulations for all developers who plan to build in the coastal area. It will be interesting to watch the Developers justifying their projects for marketing purposes but in the eyes of environmentalist they are destroyingng the marine life. Look it up maybe you can work with them in the summer and will be able to contribute positively.

    By the way i am still waiting for your photo on the trycycle i cannot believe that you can dive 30 meteres but cannot ride a bycycle, i will give you riding lessons for your graduation.
    Good luck and wishing you all safe trip back.

  2. Darlene Holst
    Dec 8, 2009

    We were very happy to get to know each one of you and hope our paths cross again. I will keep an eye on Moli for you and send some pictures. Thank you for showing such an interest in the protection and conservation of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding Monument. Please take back this interest and share it with others as the wildlife can use all the help they can get. It was great to meet each one of you and until we meet again….safe travels.

    Darlene

  3. Siham Al Busaidy
    Dec 8, 2009

    Amazing photos Saada. It seems you folks have done alot in two weeks and most of all it was interesting to read your journals. We will miss your entries have a safe trip back . Saada , you still have not posted your photo on a tricycle.

©2016 Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University | Box 90328 | Durham, NC 27708
how to contact us > | login to the site > | site disclaimers >

footer nav stuff