Home Institution

Simmons University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania


This work seeks to incorporate ecological research methods, socioeconomic data analysis, and local story collection into one understanding of coral reefs on the island of Upolu in Samoa. Data collection utilized transects and timed dives to assess four reef health indicators, and socio-economic indicators were sourced from the Samoa Bureau of Statistics. Interviews were also conducted to gain Samoan perspectives on the importance of coral reefs. Findings include patterns between the socioeconomic factors of population demographics, unemployment rates, education, and improved water, waste, and sanitation facilities and the environmental indicators of prevalence of plastic, percentage cover of living coral, parrotfish population size, and fish species richness. The ecological assessment showed that Palolo Deep was by far the healthiest reef. Interview responses indicate that Samoans care about coral reefs for a variety of reasons, which may be part of what makes certain reefs healthier, connecting people and reefs into one codependent system.


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Studies | Human Ecology | Oceanography | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Article Location