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Ulithi Reef Research
Monitoring Ulithi's Reefs
Located approximately 100 miles northeast of Yap State, and 300 miles south of Guam, Ulithi Atoll has 200 miles of pristine reef. Ulithi’s lagoon is the fourth largest in the world surrounded by 36 tropical islands, 4 of which are inhabited. Situated near to the Yap trench, Ulithi receives deep-sea nutrient upwellings that support an astonishing array of marine life. Rare corals, sponges, colorful tropical fish and reef invertebrates exist in profusion.
This coral reef monitoring program is being implemented at the invitation of Ulithi chiefs who wish a better understanding of their subtidal natural resources. Under the direction of principal field investigator Nicole Crane, volunteers will collect data on key fishes and invertebrates to develop a subtidal community structure database as part of a sustainable management strategy.
Our program begins in Yap with a couple of days of training in the field before we head for the research site After our briefing, we enjoy several snorkeling excursions in Yap to test our equipment and start learning to identify specific fish and coral. We also take the opportunity to observe manta rays for which Yap is renowned, and where recently a manta ray sanctuary was established. From Yap, we fly to the remote coral atoll of Ulithi, home to nesting green sea turtles, coconut crabs, and seabirds such as frigates and boobies. Our comfortable beachfront lodge on Falalop Island offers beach snorkeling, and serves as a base for coral reef monitoring surveys at Falalop and nearby islands.
Throughout the expedition, we stay in comfortable, double occupancy rooms with private baths. Snorkeling excursions are aboard privately chartered boats.
Fish and coral familiarization training. Tour of Yap,s diverse fauna and flora, and see the famous stone money and other cultural sites.
Yap/Ulithi. Fly to Ulithi. Welcome, briefing and afternoon beach snorkeling.
Reef monitoring activities. Free time for recreatinal snorkeling, bird watchng including visiting the Oceanic Society sea turle monitoring site at the Turtle islands. Introduction to Ulithi culture and attend a traditional dance event.
Ulithi/Yap. Afternoon on your own. Last chance to appreciate Yap's amazing arts and crafts.
Day 14: Yap/Honolulu. Morning land excursions, evening flight to Honolulu.