Scientists on the Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition explored the reefs of the Solomon Islands in 2014. This island nation lies in the Pacific Ocean north-east of Australia and its many islands span almost a thousand miles from east to west. On this research mission, we conducted standardized coral reef surveys in the Santa Cruz Islands, Sikaiana Islands, Arnavon Islands, and New Georgia Islands.
This research contains four main components. The first focus of the research was to collect detailed information about what lives on the reef. We identified and recoded the population dynamics of coral, reef fishes, algae, and invertebrates, as well as other organisms. We also noted the health of these communities and noted commercially important reef fishes and invertebrates, such as groupers, sea cucumbers, and crustaceans.
We invited XL Catlin Seaview Survey to join us in the Solomon Islands to acquire high-resolution 360- degree panoramic imagery of the reefs. These images were stitched together to create a visual reference of the reef on Google Maps for the public to see some of the issues reefs across the world are facing. Catlin Seaview Survey is a project designed and created by Underwater Earth. They are a not-for-profit agency focused on the communication of ocean issues. We also invited Oceanwatch to join us on this research mission, a local NGO that has successfully created community-based MPAs in the Solomon Islands.
The third focus of our research was to make high-resolution habitat maps of shallow marine areas around the islands. The data we collected in the field was combined with satellite imagery to create extremely detailed habitat maps which will help policymakers protect the reefs. And the fourth focus of the research was to assess threats to the reef, such as from overfishing, disease, or climate change.
Global Reef Expedition: Solomon Islands Final Report
The Global Reef Expedition: Solomon Islands Final Report presents the foundation’s findings from the Global Reef Expedition mission to the Solomon Islands along with recommendations that can help preserve these reefs for the use and enjoyment of future generations.