2 Mar 2015

NOAA scientists monitor coral in American Samoa

11:14 am on 2 March 2015

Scientists from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are conducting a reef assessment and monitoring cruise of US territories in the Pacific.

The assessment team, which is currently in American Samoa, is checking on coral and marine life to measure the potential effects of climate change.

A scientist, Dr Bernardo Vargas-Angel, says although monitoring began in 2002, the team has not been in American Samoa since 2012.

Dr Vargas-Angel says the team will be in the Territory for 10 days and will be looking at things like sea temperatures.

"Part of the work that we are doing here is assessing whether there is a bleaching event going on or whether it is something that is seasonal. The second thing we are also going to be focussing on is there is an outbreak of Crown-of-Thorns Animalia, the big starfish that eat coral. We are going to be doing some assessements so that we can pass on information so that there will be some removal efforts."

A scientist with the NOAA, Dr Bernardo Vargas-Angel.

Crown-of-thorns Sea Star - Yambé-Diahoué New Caledonia.

Crown-of-thorns Sea Star - Yambé-Diahoué New Caledonia. Photo: AFP / Biosphoto / Nicolas-Alain Petit