Skip to main content

Episode 1204: American Samoa's Resilient Coral Reefs

Far out in the South Pacific, there’s a tropical island paradise. Known as the “Islands of Sacred Earth,” the territory of American Samoa is one of the United States’ most remote outposts. Its waters are home to stunningly beautiful coral reefs, including two of the world’s oldest and largest coral colonies on record. Many of these sites are protected inside America’s only National Marine Sanctuary and National Park south of the equator.

Coral reefs around the world are in serious decline, but American Samoa’s reefs have so far been relatively resilient in the face of local and global stressors. To better understand and protect the corals, the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa’s science team is setting up a multi-faceted monitoring program to document the reefs’ condition and any changes that might occur over time.

Together with their partners from the Coral Reef Advisory Group and the National Park of American Samoa, the scientists are trying to figure out what makes the territory’s coral reefs more resilient than others, and how lessons learned locally might help corals that are in decline elsewhere.


Meet the experts featured in this episode.

Special Thanks:


Sadie's Hotels
P.O. Box 3222
96799 Pago Pago
American Samoa
(684) 633-5900

Image Credits

Changing Seas would like to thank the following individuals and institutions who kindly allowed their footage, images and other media to be used in this production:

American Samoa Coral Reef Advisory Group

American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency

Carnegie Institution for Science

Joseph Strauch

Oceanwide Science Institute/
NOAA Fisheries

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
UC San Diego

Val Brown/
National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa

Richard Vevers /The Ocean Agency

Special Thanks:


Alaese Tauofe

Anke Kügler

Brian Caldwell

Eric Brown

Lauao P Too

Liu Taiula

Marc Lammers

Nerelle Que

Russ Cox

Sabrina Woofter

Sapo Tuiolosega-Scanlan

Sarah Marquis

Tiara Drabble

Tom Drabble

Va'amua Henry Sesepasara

Wendy Wood-Derrer

Web Extras

American Samoa's Valley of the Giants

American Samoa's Ofu Pools                              

National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa: Fagatele Bay

Visit the Ofu Pools of American Samoa in 360 Degrees

Take a dip in the beautiful Ofu Pools, a tropical coral paradise found in America’s only national park south of the equator. Located in the heart of the South Pacific, the National Park of American Samoa is home to some 950 reef fish and 250 coral species.

Funding for this episode of Changing Seas was provided by: