NBC News correspondent Harry Smith and a Dateline: On Assignment camera crew travel to Palmyra, one of the Northern Line Islands located south of the Hawaiian Islands (about one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa). It is an unoccupied atoll but Palmyra occasionally serves as a temporary home to about four scientists at a time from the Nature Conservancy. They are studying the native birds, fish in the lagoons, and extensive coral reef.
One of the four on Palmyra Atoll is Stephanie Wear, a senior scientist with the Nature Conservancy. She tells Smith that Palmyra is a unique place to research coral reefs because you can count its population with one hand. “There are very few places in the world that you can access to study coral reefs where you can really minimize human impacts.” Dateline: On Assignment airs Sundays at 7pm on NBC.
Palmyra Atoll in the Pacific Ocean