Our team of scientists assembled on the shores of Pala lagoon to discuss our plan of action for this study site. On the shore you see Lydia Baker, our microbiologist from the University of Hawaii Oceanography Department, Dan Amato, phycologist, ecologist, and recent graduate from the Manoa Botany Department, and Chris Shuler, University of Hawaii Geologist.
Our first day in American Samoa was spent surveying study sites. Our first visit was to Pala Lagoon, our most impacted site. Our friend and collaborator from the University of Hawaii geology department explained the characteristics of the lagoon to us. A large watershed housing a large population of people drains directly into Pala Lagoon. The lagoon has also been dredged, and is partially artificially enclosed by American Samoa’s airport runway. The waters of the lagoon are heavily sedimented. Pala Lagoon’s wetlands are designated as a special management area.
On the rocks of Pala lagoon we found a species of green algae that could be useful for isotopic nitrogen studies.
We were lucky to have rented a very nice research vehicle along with our housing rental, it was really great for carrying equipment and personnel. Our next stop on our island tour was Faga’alu, where we found more of this promising green algae species.
We managed to visit, designate, and visually survey all of our study sites on the first day.