Notes from an expedition to Clipperton Atoll (Ile de la Passion)- a very small Atoll in the Eastern Pacific

This Expedition: We are creating an opportunity to link students and program participants to a unique field expedition to assess the reefs and Island fauna of Clipperton Atoll. The goal is to bring you almost real-time updates from the field, allow you to ask questions and participate, and to follow-up with an opportunity to attend a presentation about the work and the results (check this site for follow up information). This past year Nicole Crane (Cabrillo College Faculty and Principal Investigator with Camp Sea Lab/CSUMB) and Stacey Buckalew (Island Conservation/Long Marine Lab-UCSC) joined an expedition with Jeff Bozanic as part of a team to a small atoll (the only atoll) in the Eastern Pacific – Clipperton Island, aboard the Nautilus Explorer. Our role is to help assess the reefs there, and consider a monitoring plan to evaluate general reef health over time, and document introduced species on the Island itself. Clipperton Island (owned by France) is a remote atoll located in the Eastern Pacific Ocean approximately 590 miles south of Socorro island in the Revillagigedo archipelago of Mexico. It has had relatively few research expeditions since the 1960’s, in part due to its remote location, and in part due to the fact that it is uninhabited. Clipperton Island is a unique site due to its location – it is washed by cool currents, has relatively high nutrient loads for a coral reef community, yet is also directly in the path of El Nino and the warm water events associated with that. Clipperton, being largely unpatrolled, also suffers from resource extraction activities which have left its reefs covered in long lines, and have decimated its once healthy shark populations. Little is known about the effects of these and other pressures on this reef system.

There will be postings from the field here, and you may ask questions of the team. Virginia Guhin will be coordinating these postings and questions from you! Since our destination is so remote, and satellite access from the ship is limited, we are allowed one posting to this site per day, and one e-mail with all your questions per day!


TO ASK A QUESTION, SEND YOUR QUESTION/S TO Virginia Guhin at She will be gathering questions to send out to the ship. Answers to the questions can be found at the above notes and log site.

For some information about Clipperton - see the links below

Here is a paper about invasive species on Clipperton (Rats and Pigs)

Here is a paper about migrant birds on Clipperton

Here is a World Wildlife Fund report on Clipperton Ecology and Conservation status, with some background

brief information about Clipperton Atoll

Clipperton Island: world factbook, including latitutde and longitude

info on John Clipperton

You tube video on sharks of clipperton

a french video (not narrated - music only) with images of the birds, the crabs and the island in general