Palmyra Atoll is arguably one of the most remote locations in the world – it’s located 1,000 miles south of Hawai‘i and was likely included in historic Polynesian voyaging routes, however it never had a permanent establishment of people.
In the year 2000, TNC purchased Palmyra Atoll to protect this globally significant island ecosystem and facilitate the creation of one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. TNC’s Palmyra Preserve is now part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge and is surrounded by 13 million acres of protected ocean as part of a Marine National Monument with NOAA.
In 2015, unusually high ocean temperatures killed millions of corals from Australia to Hawai‘i. Remarkably, many of Palmyra’s reefs recovered within two years, demonstrating impressive resilience. Understanding what make these reefs so strong and sharing those lessons can help other coral reefs survive – and thrive – in a changing climate. Lessons from Palmyra can inform management efforts elsewhere. Through our Climate Adaptation & Resilience Laboratory, we are working to unlock the secrets that make Palmyra’s ecosystem resilient to climate change and sharing those with islands across the Pacific and around the world.