ALB's Nature Journal

Aloha! Welcome to ALB's Nature Journal. I hope that this site will become useful for both you and I. Throughout the spring 2006 semester, I hope to become excited and intreged about the world of science. I look forward to this class sparking an interest in this field and help me to learn new fun and enjoyable ways of teaching science.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

After thinking about Lo'ihi as being the newest island in the near future (a million years from now), I came to think about our oldest islands that have been transformed into coral reefs and atolls. So what is the scoop on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands?

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) are a network of coral reefs, islands, atolls, and shoals that arches through the Pacific for 1,200 miles northwest of the Main Hawaiian Islands. They are currently considered prehistoric landmasses that are the oldest parts of the Hawaiian archipelago. Looking at mo'olelo (myths) we see that the creation of Hawaii began here and these ancient islands are often described as the Kupuna, or ancestors, of the Main Hawaiian Islands.

These islands are also considered to be earth's last remaining large-scale coral reef ecosystems. This ecosystem contains over 3.5 million acres of some of the world's oldest living coral colonies and contains a great deal of diversity. It has been recorded that the NWHI is home to more than 7,000 marine species and home to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, endangered and threatened sea turtles, reef fish, bottom fish, sharks, corals, anemones, jellyfish, mollusks, sea grasses, algae and over 14 million sea birds.

Because the NWHI play a significant role in our ecosystem and are home to many endangered animals and creatures, President Clinton signed an executive order on December 4, 2000 delcaring the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. Under this researve, it encompasses an area of the marine waters and submerged lands of the NWHI extending aproximately 1200 nautical miles long and 100 nautical miles wide. This reserve restricts some activity, establishes preservation areas, and areas that are prohibited.

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