Day 13: A Glimmer in the Debris

The life of a TFB must be tough. I’m always hearing news of how this ecosystem has fallen to invasive species, or how this reef has had 90% mortality in the past year. Today, we cleaned up a short segment of beach of any trash we could find and quantifying our findings into useful data for future reference. But during collection, we all couldn’t expect the sheer volume and weight such a job carries. It’s like fighting a losing battle, because when you dig up a handful of plastics, you only find more before you. As a fourteen-man team, we collected a total of about 40 kg of trash, mostly in plastics and Styrofoam in just an hour.


Our other task was to quantify the percent area of living corals in an assigned patch reef from last year, and the results only show insignificant live coral cover and significant numbers of dead coral. It’s easy to get emotions down at times like this, given the first world comforts we’ve sacrificed. I wonder how other biologists, especially those that work in conservation, find hope and keep their heads up in what they do.


No new jellyfish were spotted today, other than the same upside down Cassiopea jellies. I’m starting to wonder if they even occur in the environments of an atoll regularly, and to be honest, it’s a bit frustrating. But I have hopes that our last day tomorrow will give rise to something interesting.

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