Ia Ora Na

October has been an eventful month. Whale season is tailing off, with the humpback whales beginning their long journeys back to Antarctica, but turtle season is picking up with lots of females in the lagoon and nesting on motu beaches. We had interesting tides this month with a full moon and then a passing meso-scale eddy, that kept water levels in the lagoon very low. On the other side of the Pacific, our cultural director spoke at the TUIA 250 symposium in Gisborne, New Zealand, discussing issues such as to the ocean's 'right to its own well-being". Tetiaroa also had a visit from the UC Berkeley field course that is in Moorea for two months.

TUIA 250 in New Zealand

Tetiaroa Society Cultural Director Hinano Murphy was invited this month to give a talk on Traditional Knowledge and the Ocean at the Te Pae Pae o Tangaroa Symposium in Gisborne, New Zealand. The symposium was part of a larger program, Tuia 250, which is commemorating the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Captain Cook in New Zealand.
Tuia 250 in Gisborne also included the welcome of a replica of Cook’s ship, the HMB Endeavour along with two tall ships and three vaka moana (replicas of Polynesian voyaging canoe), including one, Fa’afaite, that sailed from Tahiti for the event.
The symposium covered a variety of topics including the question of whether the ocean, as an entity, should have rights (as people do) to its own well-being. Food for thought for conservation issues at home.

Find out more about TUIA250
More at theoceanspeaks.nz

Pisonia Grandis

Pisonia is a fast-growing native plant which grows on all of the motu of Tetiaroa.  On Motu Reiono, a dense Pisonia forest covers over two thirds of the motu, with the remaining area mostly covered with Pandanus.  The forest on Reiono is now rat-free, thanks to our Habitat Restoration Program, making this motu a very attractive place for birds to nest.

The open branching system and size of these trees make them preferred nesting sites for birds such as Brown Noddy, White Tern, and Red-footed Booby.
Because of this close relationship with birds Pisonia has evolved a very effective mechanism of spreading seeds. The female flower produces elongate seeds which have sticky hooked prickles. The seeds stick to birds and are spread wherever the birds fly.
Unfortunately, this works so well that occasionally birds can pick up so many of these seeds that they are debilitated and unable to fly...

More about this tree

The Tradition lives on:

28 ans of UCB students à Tetiaroa

The University of California Berkeley Gump Research Station on Moorea has been hosting a Fall Semester field course for 28 years, and every year the students and professors have visited Tetiaroa on a day trip. This year Professor George Roderick brought the class out to Tetiaroa on a local charter boat. Tetiaroa Society Executive Director, Frank Murphy, who as a UCB graduate student brought the first class to Tetiaroa in 1991, met them on the beach and led them on a tour of Motu Rimatuu and Bird Island. The tradition lives on.

Mesoscale eddies mix it up

Over the last few weeks Tetiaroa has experienced some interesting tidal patterns. There was a full moon on October 13th, and we had normal ensuing low and high tides. But following that by a few days we had the arrival of a Mesoscale Eddy which kept the tide low for a good long week.

These 100-200km diameter gyres are columns of moving and mixing water called Mesoscale eddies, which are crucial in ocean temperature and nutrient movement and dispersion.

They spin off the currents of hotter Equatorial waters and move off on their own, mixing cool and hot, nutrient rich and nutrient poor waters as they travel slowly over vast distances. The eddies that spin counterclockwise move water from the ocean surface to depth, effectively lowering the sea-level over their considerable surface area. Since they move very slowly their effects can be felt for several days or more.

The mid-October arrival of a Mesoscale Eddy kept the tide low for a good long week.

An eddy in a cup:

A crucial part of making a great cup of coffee is stirring.  If you pour a cup full of hot, black coffee and just dump a spoonful of sugar and pour a little milk on top you will be left with layers.  And so, when you stick a spoon into your coffee and begin to swirl it, a small whirlpool forms in the center.  Now, if you change direction of your stirring, the whirlpool is broken up into many smaller whirlpools, or eddies.  These little columns of coffee reach to the bottom of the cup, pulling the sugar crystals up and throughout the liquid, while at the same time mixing the cold milk with the hot coffee, creating a uniform mixture.

Donations in action!

Tetiaroa Society receives generous support from The Brando for our core operations, but our ability to carry out innovative programs depends on your help -- any amount is appreciated!


Share the beauty of Tetiaroa

Tetiaroa Society is a US registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID #45-1080688). We host scientific research, develop and implement conservation and education programs, and curate the island's knowledge base. We partner with The Brando to establish Tetiaroa as a model for sustainability, where businesses, non-profits, scientists, educators and the local community work together for common goals. Our program objectives are summarized in our Conservation and Sustainable Use Plan, which is available on our website.

© 2019 Tetiaroa Society

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