NOWRAMP Expedition Initial Results

DIFFERENCES ACROSS THE ISLAND CHAIN:

Scientists noticed changes in coral, fish and plant life and abundance
across the chain of islands. For example, fisheries biologists noted a
change in the presence of sharks. In the southern islands, they noticed
a higher number of gray sharks, whereas galapagos sharks were more abundant
in the north. In terms of coral, there were significant differences in
coral cover and species between the higher basaltic islands and the carbonate
atolls. For example, rare branching corals in the main islands achieve
abundance on the reefs of the northwest chain. The rare table corals achive
greatest abundance and diversity at French Frigate Shoals and 4 adjacet
islands in the northwest chain, whereas they are only occasionally seen
in the main islands. Although the differences may not have been as pronounced
with invertebrates, changes were also noted across the chain.