The reef team completes the first phase of their study of Naitauba’s reef

With much-appreciated support from many contributors around the world, the USP team completed an intensive one-week survey visit to Naitauba’s reef in early September. They worked very hard throughout their time and were able to complete the full survey at sites all the way around the Island, encompassing all the many habitats that make up the totality of the reef.

Island residents joined them on their dives inside and outside Naitauba’s reef, opening new vistas and new understanding of the work ahead.

"Preserving a reef" is a vast undertaking, and as we continue to learn from Naitauba's reef and the reef research that is being done globally, we can see that the footprint of humanity on the coral reefs of the world is much deeper than we have recognized.

During this brief intensive visit we took well over 2000 photos, and the team logged pages and pages of data from their observations on their transect survey dives. There is so much to look at and consider from all the data and many photos!

Our understanding of the reef has already grown significantly. We documented new evidence of continued regrowth on many parts of the reef—and also saw serious warning signs of damage to the reef and its inhabitants already happening more vulnerable reef areas, too. We also discovered many of the reef’s inhabitants for the first time, and will be introducing them in the weeks to come in our “reef residents” feature here and on our facebook page.

In our discussions with the reef team, we charted new plans for our work together. We can see the great importance of the protected areas and prohibitions on the taking of vulnerable species that we have established on Naitauba’s reef, and want to know more about how we can extend these measures to support the health and resilience of the entire reef ecosystem.

We bid Cherie, Lai, and Ben farewell for now, and look forward to seeing them and other members of the USP reef team back here in the coming months to take the next steps together in learning about Naitauba's reef and how to protect it.

Until then we’ll post more updates on the reef team’s findings and share many of the wonderful photos that were taken during their stay.