The Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect (PABITRA) studies are based on a network of high-island biodiversity sites. These sites are structurally and historically complex. The majority of Pacific islands, in contrast, are low atolls with a common and simple flora and structure. As a result, atolls may serve as “controls’’ that may provide a way to assess impact of the upland high-island ecosystems on coastal regions of Pacific islands. Atoll studies can complement the PABITRA network because the gateway sites are near each other or separated from one another by one or more atolls. Such an addition will enhance interpretation of high-island ecosystems and their coastal zones because ecosystem surveys can be conducted quickly and accurately in atoll environments. We present results from quantitative studies of plant diversity from seven islets at Ailinginae Atoll in the northern Marshall Islands and discuss the value of this methodology as a way to enhance interpretation of the PABITRA data.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2