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NOAA researchers update ASG on scientific mission in local waters

Diver deploying monitoring equipment on reef
Source: Governor’s Office press release

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The NOAA Ship Rainier concluded Leg 6 of its scientific cruise in the vicinity of Am Samoa, which the Governor’s Office says “witnessed remarkable achievements in advancing scientific missions amidst challenging weather conditions and engineering obstacles.”

On July 10, 2023, NOAA Research Ecologist Thomas A. Oliver, on behalf of the science group aboard Rainier, sent a summary report to the Governor's Office regarding the completion of this specific segment. This leg of the cruise focused on the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) survey and the Office of Coast Survey (OCS) mapping efforts, encompassing a dedicated ten-day operation around Tutuila, American Samoa.

The Oceans and Climate Change (OCC) team and Fish survey team, in collaboration with partners from the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa conducted the NCRMP survey and surpassed expectation, according to Dr. Oliver. He further reported that the teams effectively completed the turnover of NCRMP-OCC cardinal transects on Tutuila and made significant progress in the fish survey efforts.

Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga commended the group of scientists and crew members of the NOAA Ship Rainier for their commitment and resilience during the expedition.

“On behalf of Lieutenant Governor Talauega, I extend our deepest gratitude to the dedicated scientists for their unwavering commitment in providing us with reports of their invaluable operations conducted within our territory. Their continued efforts contribute immensely to our understanding and preservation of our enriched marine environment. We greatly appreciate their ongoing collaboration and look forward to further fruitful partnerships in the future,” Lemanu said in a press release issued by his office this week.

The summary of the scientists’ work during a ten-day cruise indicated that the team conducted 156 dives to collect and deploy monitoring equipment and recorders, sample collections, fish and photo-quadrat surveys, Structure-from-Motion(SfM) transects, and more. In his closing remarks, Dr. Oliver expressed his appreciation to their team leaders and scientists, and to the American Samoa Government.