In order to understand how land use and anthropogenic activities are currently impacting coral reef communities in American Samoa, I led research teams to the island of Tutuila during July of 2015 and August 2016. Using a diverse set of interdisciplinary methods, we gathered a wide range of samples including ground and coastal surface water samples, the tissues common marine algae and coral, and microbial communities from biofilm and water samples from over 100 sites in four study locations. In addition, all study locations were surveyed for groundwater discharge flux (Rn gas measurements) and the physical properties of the water column (salinity, temperature, and depth) were measured. We are particularly interested in how human density and other nutrient sources are related to water quality, microbial communities, and reef health.
Back at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, we are currently processing our samples in the lab. Due to lengthy processing time and cues at various analytical labs, we only have some preliminary data available at this time from our 2015 field work.