The very productive lagoon fisheries of Tarawa atoll changed greatly in recent decades as human development and intensive harvesting increased. Tarawa typifies the increasingly common condition of resource depletion and marine community structure change with expanding human activities and population growth. Fisheries-dependent reports have documented the change in fisher landings for nearly two decades. A comparison of fisheries-independent data collected during 1992-93 with data collected in 1977 allowed for documentation of large changes in important finfish resources in Tarawa Lagoon.
Two species of sea turtles and eight lizards comprise the herpetofauna of Kapingamarangi Atoll; the giant Micronesian gecko (Perochirus scutellatus) is unknown elsewhere. The mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris), oceanic gecko (Gehyra
oceanica), and azure-tailed copper-striped skink (Emoia impar) are the most common and widespread species, being recorded on 100%, 97%, and 87% of the 31 islands, respectively. The stump-toed gecko (Gehyra mutilata) and the Pacific blue-tailed skink
Williamson and Sabath (1982) have demonstrated a significant relationship between modern population size and environment by examining atoll area and rainfall in the Marshall Islands. The present work seeks to extend that argument into prehistory by examining the relationship of ancient habitation sites and size of aroid pit agricultural systems to atoll land area and rainfall regime along the 1,500-3,500 mm precipitation gradient in the Marshall Islands.