Maskelyne Islands, Vanuatu

The Maskelyne Island group is situated at the southeast tip of the Malakula Island mainland. The group consists of two bigger islands, Sakao and Uliveo, and a few smaller ones. Each island is surrounded by extensive fringing reefs. The fringing reef of the small Vulai Island extends over 2,6 nautical miles into a barrier reef called the Sughulamp Reef.

Most fringing reefs inside the island group are exposed to strong currents due to tide changes drawing water through the channels. All fringing reefs inside the island group form gradual slopes, which give space for extensive fields of branching Acropora. The outside fringing reefs and the outside of the Sughulamp Barrier Reef display a different coral composition with more encrusting, massive and plate growth forms rather than the thin branching Acropora of the inside reefs.

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