Pacific Islands Top 10 Stories
In 2020, we brought you science and conservation stories covering a wide range of topics important to the Pacific Islands region. Here are the 10 stories that resonated the most with our readers and have been shared and liked many times over on social media.
1. The Toll of Toxoplasmosis: Protozoal Disease Has Now Claimed the Lives of 12 Monk Seals and Left Another Fighting to Survive
It is becoming increasingly clear that Hawaiian monk seals are suffering from localized lethal outbreaks of toxoplasmosis, a lethal cat-borne disease..
2. NOAA Live! Pacific Islands Interactive Webinar Series
A series of youth-focused interactive webinars featured NOAA experts from the Pacific Islands region covering various science topics, such as bonefishes (ʻōʻio), tsunamis, and corals.
3. Beaked Whale Strandings in the Mariana Archipelago May Be Associated with Sonar
Researchers compared acoustic recordings and naval records with eight stranding events since 2007.
4. Little Relief in the Deep for Heat-Stressed Corals
New research shows satellite surface measurements have actually underestimated coral heat stress, but it also offers a glimpse of a silver lining that some refuges may exist.
5. Removing Fish From Fish Diet for Tastier, More Sustainable Aquaculture
NOAA-funded research shows that a diet of poultry meal and algae oil could be just as good for aquaculture fish as fishmeal and fish oil.
6. The Curious Case of a Shark and a Cephalopod
The Hawai’i Community Tagging Program recorded an amazing encounter.
7. Marianas Trench Marine National Monument Educational Posters Now Available Online
Marine science educational posters of colorful illustrations, species, and unique habitat are now available for educators, students, and the general public.
8. Hawaiʻi Scientists Bring Cutting-edge Analyses to the Stock Assessment of the Uku Snapper
Local fisheries harvest around 240,000 pounds of ukupalu snapper (“uku”) every year— scientists assessed that the uku stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not occuring.
9. New Online Course Provides Guidance on How the On-Water Community Can Help Free Entangled Whales in Hawai'i Waters
The online course helps fishermen, tour boat operators, and whale researchers better assist trained responders disentangle large whales.
10. Hawaiian Monk Seal Population Saw Signs of Recovery in 2019
Latest update looks at the Hawaiian monk seal population, pups and juveniles, and threat mitigation from the 2019 field season, highlighting the need for continued conservation.
Most Watched Videos
Reporting Entangled Whales in Hawaiʻi
False Killer Whales in the Hawaiian Islands
Pacific Islands Top 10 Blog Posts
- Punahele: A Green Sea Turtle's Journey to "Destination Unknown"
Researchers perform an ultrasound and place a satellite tag on a fertile sea turtle to track her migration in the vast Pacific Ocean.
- Hope for Coral Reef Recovery in American Samoa? Preliminary Observations from the Field
Researchers returned to O‘ahu with optimism after monitoring and assessing coral reef communities in Tutuila, American Samoa.
- Four Generations of Hawaiian Monk Seals
A surprise discovery tells the story of one female's contribution to a population of endangered Hawaiian monk seals.
- The Human Dimensions of Wildlife Disease
A new resource discusses how managers can apply social science to better respond to and communicate about wildlife disease to the public.
- An Integrated Compliance Approach Could Improve Fisheries Management in NOAA’s Largest Region
Researchers examined approaches to regulatory compliance across the Pacific Islands region and found that enforcement is not the only effective option.
- Mapping My Way With NOAA: My Experience in the Hollings Preparation Program
A Hawai‘i undergraduate student explores career pathways at NOAA Fisheries—his StoryMap shares how he turned his passion into a career in the Pacific Islands region.
- Photo Journal: Whales and Dolphins Around Hawai'i During Winter
The 2020 Winter Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey, or "WHICEAS," is a survey for cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and seabirds around the main Hawaiian Islands during the winter season.
- What Can Global Commercial Fisheries Transitioning to Rights-Based Management Learn From Hawai‘i?
Researchers assessed how permitting affected ownership and revenue in the Hawaiʻi longline fishery since 1990.
- Keepin' it Reel: When Your Catch of the Day is Not What You Expected
A seal biologist’s experience on the wrong end of the line reminds us that we must be careful when fishing around protected species.
- Staying Calm In The Face Of Trauma: Reflections of a Student Assistant
Sanoma Boynton recalls her experience responding to an injured sea turtle.
ICYMI: 10 Recommended Noteworthy Stories
In case you missed it: for one reason or another, some feature stories don’t gain as much traction online as others. Here is a collection of highly recommended stories that you may have missed but still deserve your attention.
- The Impacts of Ghost Nets on Coral Reefs
Researchers use structure from motion photogrammetry to measure the damage that lost or discarded fishing nets cause to coral reefs in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
- 2020 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Field Season Highlights: Celebrating Partners
Research on Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles continued in these remote islands, despite unprecedented challenges this year.
- Citizen Scientists Help Count Deep-7 Bottomfish in Hawaiʻi
NOAA scientists are partnering with citizen scientists to count seven important bottomfish species.
- The "Why" of WHICEAS, the Winter Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey
Researchers embark on an expedition to monitor the winter populations of whales and dolphins around the main Hawaiian Islands.
- Hawksbill Sea Turtles Are Truly Hawaiʻi Locals
The first genetic characterization of hawksbill turtles in Hawaiʻi reveals new discoveries about this mysterious endangered species.
- Illustrating the Need for Essential Fish Habitat
A new outreach tool in Hawaiʻi bridges science and art to show the importance of conserving each habitat critical to a fish's life.
- Destination Known: Punahele’s Safe Return Home from Lalo
Researchers tracked a green sea turtle’s migration to and from her nesting grounds at Lalo (French Frigate Shoals).
- International Whales of Mystery: Uncovering the Identity of Humpback Whales Breeding in the Mariana Archipelago
Our ongoing field research in the Mariana Archipelago provides an answer to an ongoing scientific mystery—where are the “missing” breeding areas for humpback whales in the western North Pacific?
- Seafood Stories: Celebrate Seafood Month in the Pacific Islands Region
Educators, community partners, and NOAA Fisheries came together for an interactive webinar series during Seafood Month 2020.
- Scientists Describe the Life History of Two Goatfish Species in the Northern Mariana Islands
Researchers were the first to use otolith age-based techniques to describe the growth, mortality, and reproduction of two culturally and commercially valuable coral reef fish in Saipan.
- NOAA and Partners Seek to Make Reefs Resilient With Super Corals
The collaborators are identifying coral colonies that are tolerant to high temperatures, rehabilitating them in a coral nursery, and then outplanting them back to the reefs, helping to make our reefs more resilient to increasing ocean temperatures.