Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands Final Report

Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands. Final Report. Purkis, S., Dempsey, A., Carlton, R., Lubarsky, K. and Renaud, P.G. Khaled Bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Annapolis, MD. Vol 9. (2020)

Cook Islands Final ReportThe Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation embarked on the Global Reef Expedition—the largest coral reef survey and mapping expedition in history—to study the coral reef crisis on a global scale. As part of the 5-year expedition, an international team of scientists traveled to the Cook Islands in 2013 to assess the health and resiliency of their coral reefs. The Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands Final Report provides a comprehensive summary of the Foundation’s research findings from the Cook Islands research mission, along with recommendations for preserving these reefs for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

This report provides scientists, managers, and stakeholders with information on the status of corals and reef fish in the Cook Islands and helps further our understanding of the resiliency of these fragile marine ecosystems. Coral reefs face many threats, including pollution, climate change, overfishing, storm damage, and outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish. In order to see how these threats impacted reefs, KSLOF worked closely with local leaders, government officials, and members of the Cook Islands Marine Park Steering Committee to study the reefs. Together, they completed over 400 surveys of the coral and reef fish communities surrounding Rarotonga, Aitutaki, and Palmerston Atoll, and collected information to create over 400 km2 of high-resolution habitat and bathymetric maps of the seafloor. 

Copies of the Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands Final Report were shared with government officials, conservation organizations, and local leaders in the Cook Islands, where it will be used to inform ongoing marine spatial planning efforts at Marae Moana marine park—the largest marine protected area in the world.

“We are excited to receive the report and are most appreciative of the work done by Living Oceans foundation,” said Marae Moana Ambassador Kevin Iro. “This report will definitely help with our current marine spatial planning of the Marae Moana and it also demonstrates that government and non-government organizations can work cooperatively to better understand our ocean environment.”


Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands Final Report

The Global Reef Expedition: Cook Islands Final Report presents the Foundation’s findings from the Global Reef Expedition mission to the Cook Islands along with recommendations that can help preserve the reefs into the future.


Global Reef Expedition Final Report: Cook Islands