Coral Reef Research

The Ecology of Patch Reef Fishes 

Ron S. Nolan, Ph.D.

One of my protagonists, Jim Morrow,  focus is on patch reef fishes at Enewetak Atoll.

A small patch reef like the one  pictured above is an amazing shelter for a wide diversity of fish and invertebrates. In the constant competition for shelter, species have adapted a range of strategies including dividing their activities to a day shift and a night shift. 

At Scripps, I was very fortunate to have the financial support and encouragement provided by the professors John Isaacs and Richard Rosenblatt which allowed me to make thirteen trips to Enewetak Atoll to study the ecology of patch reef fishes ranging in duration from two weeks to six weeks per trip. The map shows my study site in the lagoon where I conducted periodic censuses of fish populations on natural reefs and artificial reefs.

My focus was investigating the recruitment of larval reef fishes to coral reef ecosystems. Id did this by building and assembling artificial reefs.

This is the factory where my buddies helped me build the reef jacks--a design suggested by Tom Scanland at SIO.

I built cages around some of the reefs to see if predation would change the community composition.

This is the turkey fish that has extremely venemous spines that Sandra recalled from her childhood pet shop days.

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