Expedition: Atol das Rocas
The expedition to the only atoll in the South Atlantic took place during May and June 2015, and consisted of SISBIOTA
team Bianca Del B. Sahm (LECAR-UFF) and Luisa Fontoura (LBMM-UFSC). Rocas Atoll is a marine reserve, with
access only for researchers and administrated by ICMBio Federal Institute, who gave all support to our girls during
the 34 days on this little green speck in the Atlantic Ocean.
Situated around 130 nautical miles from Natal-RN, Northeastern coast of Brazil, the travel to Rocas Atoll took almost
one day (~22 hours) with a catamaran. The researchers stay at ICMBio lodgement situated at one of the two islands
inside the atoll. There’s no fresh water source available, and fresh water is kept only for drinking and cooking, so
baths, physiologic needs and washing of dishes were all done in the ocean.
In this extreme environment, the girls continued the monitoring program of oceanic islands of Brazil. Among the
monitoring activities were fish census, benthic communities’ surveys, health monitoring of coral colonies, sampling
of corals for genetic connectivity and sampling of algal specimens for chemical analysis, and ascidian specimens
Also, our researchers had the opportunity to daily observe a natural environment with minimal or no anthropogenic
interference; with undisturbed ecological interactions between organisms and the environment.
Clean water at Rocas Atoll (Credit: Bianca Del B. Sahm)
Lutjanus jocu and Acanthurus chirurgus (Credit: Bianca Del B. Sahm and Luisa Fontoura)
Micromela undata (Credit:Bianca Del B. Sahm).