For all of the readers who followed our field work in the Dominican Republic, you may recall that we were collecting very large samples. In fact, each one of those bulk bags was on average 12x heavier than the samples we’re now collecting on Palmyra. Why is that? And no, it’s not because we wanted less work to do. Nice try.
Last year, a collaborator of ours (who is now one of my co-advisors at UC Santa Barbara) collected some preliminary samples from Palmyra’s reefs. I brought some of them down to our lab at STRI and discovered that they contained almost an order of magnitude more denticles per amount of sediment than our bulk bags from Panama. Crazy, huh? Basically, this means that we can extract the same number of denticles from a much smaller pool of sediment, making this round of collections much more logistically manageable.