• Research

Palau Researcher Joins Expedition to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

The Palau International Coral Reef Center is joining a month-long research expedition with the Ocean Exploration Trust aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus. Researcher Elsei Tellei and a team of 49 scientists, engineers, educators, students, and cultural experts on the Ala ‘Aumoana Kai Uli expedition will survey deep ocean seamounts to learn about their biodiversity and geological history within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM). The monument is the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area under the U.S. flag and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It encompasses 582,578 square miles of the Pacific Ocean (1,508,870 square kilometers) – an area larger than all the U.S.’s national parks combined.

The research expedition will survey unexplored areas in the northwestern region of PMNM and contribute directly to the U.S. national strategy for ocean mapping, exploration, and characterization, Seabed 2030, UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and PMNM management priorities. This unique opportunity will provide the Center with additional experience and increased knowledge of the technical expertise and operational capabilities required to conduct this level of exploration in large-scale marine protected areas like the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, which are offshore, deep-water environments.

“I am so excited to board E/V Nautilus and explore the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Hopefully, we get to do similar research expeditions in Palau”, Elsei expressed. Live streaming footage, interactive sessions for students, and more information about the expedition can be seen on NautilusLive.org.