Preparations have begun for this summer’s research expedition to the Ulithi Atoll, FSM (Federated States of Micronesia). The Ecosystem Electronics Lab will be joining the research group, One People One Reef as the tech arm of the project! We will design, build, and bring with us an arsenal of remote underwater technology which we will use to survey the reef to learn about reef health and fish distribution. This information will be used by Ulithians to make decisions on how best to manage their fisheries.
Ulithi’s reefs have an interesting history. During WWII, Ulithi was a major naval base. As a large atoll with one major opening, it was a prime tactical location for the war in the South Pacific. As you can imagine, this occupation was highly disruptive for the local people and their reefs. The reefs were further impacted in the wake of WWII, as western fishing practices were introduced – leading to unsustainable fishing practices, and eventually failing fisheries.
I am especially excited to join this project as, not only is our site located in beautiful Ulithi, but it also directly aligns with my major research interests! I am excited to join a new project focusing on human impacts, with the end goal of helping the local community solve a marine-based problem.