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100 Island Challenge - Rarotonga

January - February 2018
Collaboration: Waitt Foundation (USA), Scripps Institute of Oceanography (California, U.S.A.) and Kōrero O Te `Ōrau (Cook Islands)

Left to right: Nicole Pederson and Dr Brian Zgliczynski (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), Dr Teina Rongo (Kōrero o te `Ōrau), Dr Stuart Sandin (Scripps Institution of Oceanography), and Sascha Schmitt (The Dive Centre) after Day 1 of diving on Rarotonga's fore reefs.

EXPEDITION SUMMARY by Scripps Institution of Oceanography

In February 2018, the 100 Island Challenge team partnered with Cook Islands Kōrero o te `Ōrau to survey reefs around Rarotonga, the most populous island within the Cook Islands archipelago. The Cook Islands are a nation of 15 islands with less than 11,000 residents inhabiting those islands.

Drs. Stuart Sandin and Brian Zgliczynski conducted baseline assessments of the reef fish community around Rarotonga, while Nicole Pedersen and partner Dr. Teina Rongo collected large-area benthic images at each site. In total, 12 sites were surveyed around Rarotonga. Sites were selected using a random stratified design, located along the 10m isobath in forereef habitats. Temperature loggers (Seabird SBE39 and HOBO v2 ProLoggers were deployed to monitor water temperature at 45-minute intervals.

For more information on the NGO and to support their work, please email

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