The U.S. exploratory fishing vessel OREGON visited the Plateau on several occasions. The most important in regard to shallow-water fishes was the 1959 cruise when 25 trawl collections less than 200 m were made (Bullis and Thompson, 1965; see appendix B for list of stations). In 1965, several longline stations were occupied off Puerto Rico supplying new records of diskfishes (Echeneidae) for the area (Dennis et al., in prep.). Cruises by the OREGON and its replacement OREGON II have deployed a wide variety of gear around the Plateau but the emphasis has been in deeper waters. Specimens from these collections can be found at the FMNH, USNM, and UF.
The Tektite underwater habitat was used in two programs at Lameshur Bay, St. John. Tektite I was a single 60-day mission from 15 February to 15 April 1969 (Clifton et al., 1970). The Tektite II program completed ten missions between April and November 1970 (Miller et al., 1972). Seven papers (Bright, 1972, Clifton and Hunter, 1972; Collette and Talbot, 1972; Earle, 1972; Hartline et al., 1972; Mahnken, 1972; Smith and Tyler, 1972) with information on reef fishes were published as part of a special volume of the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles County Science Bulletin (Collette and Earle, 1972).
A second undersea habitat "La Chalupa" was deployed off Puerto Real, Puerto Rico from November 1972 until August 1973 as part of the Puerto Rico International Undersea Laboratory (PRINUL). Olsen and Sheen (1975) summarize the accomplishments of the program and four fish papers resulted from the work (Barlow, 1975a, 1975b; Parrish and Zimmerman, 1977; Parrish, 1982).
The Virgin Islands are the least explored region of the Plateau though their have been important collections made at Anegada in 1976 by Dunne and Brown (1979). Seven rotenone stations were occupied and specimens from these are deposited in the BMNH. They identified 185 taxa during their study.
St. John was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in June 1976. A detailed study of the marine environment ensued with three reports on fishes (Boulon, 1985a, 1985b, 1987). There have been few published reports on fishes of St. Thomas except for the studies of Hixon and Beets on artificial reefs in Perseverance Bay (Beets, 1989; Beets & Hixon, 1994; Hixon and Beets, 1989; 1993). Of all the major islands, the least known are Tortola and Virgin Gorda. No faunal lists have been published though there are a considerable number of specimens in museum collections.
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