2008 St Kilda Football Club season

The St Kilda Football Club's 2008 season was its 112th season in the Australian Football League. The season began well with the club winning the 2008 NAB Cup; the club had wins over Richmond in the round of 16, Geelong in the quarter-finals, Essendon in the semi-finals and won the final against the Adelaide Crows by five points at Football Park 2-7-9- to 0-9-10- - St Kilda's third preseason cup win in the AFL. Jason Gram won the Michael Tuck medal for the player judged best on ground during the final. Despite the promising start, the Saints went on to have a mixed first half of the season with a five-win, six-loss record. After this their fortunes vastly improved and they gained a place in the finals series; this mixed season drew both criticism and praise at differing times towards Lyon from supporters and the media. His game plan has been described as one championing accountability, similar to the Sydney Swans model by Paul Roos. Lyon's surprise move to drop midfielder Nick Dal Santo from the side was due to them not meeting these "benchmarks".

Arguably, it was a turning point in the Saints' season, as they went on to win the next four games following this bold move. In a competitive 2008 premiership season St Kilda Football Club qualified for the 2008 premiership season finals series, finishing the home and away rounds in the top four, in fourth position, with 13 wins. In the 2008 finals series, St Kilda played Geelong in the qualifying finals. St Kilda 8.13 lost to Geelong 17.17 in front of 71,653 at the MCG. In the semi finals St Kilda 17.4 defeated Collingwood 9.18 in front 76,707. In the preliminary finals St Kilda 9.10 lost to Hawthorn 18.10 by 54 points in front of 77,002 at the MCG, being eliminated from the finals. St Kilda was eliminated by Hawthorn in the preliminary final; this was the third preliminary final lost to an eventual premier in five years

Bokak Atoll

Bokak Atoll or Taongi Atoll is an uninhabited coral atoll in the Ratak Chain of the Marshall Islands, in the North Pacific Ocean. Due to its relative isolation from the main islands in the group, Bokak's flora and fauna has been able to exist in a pristine condition, it is located 685 km north of Majuro Atoll, the capital of the Marshall Islands, 280 km northeast of Bikar Atoll, the closest atoll, making it the most northerly and most isolated atoll of the country. Wake Island is 348 mi north-northwest; the land area is 3.2 km2, the lagoon measures 78 km2. It consists of 36 islets; the total area is 129 km2. The atoll is crescent-shaped, measuring about 18 km by 9 km, oriented in a north-south direction; the atoll reef is unbroken except for a 20 m wide channel in the west. Ten islets lie on the southeastern reef; the more important named islets, from north to south, are North Island, Bwdije, Sibylla and Bwokwla. Sibylla is the largest, measuring 7.2 km in length and up to 305 m in width. Kamwome Islet to the north-east of Sibylla is the second largest, while Bokak, after which the atoll is named, lies to the south of Sibylla.

Based on the results of drilling operations on Enewetak Atoll, in the nearby Ralik Chain of the Marshall Islands, Bokak may include as much as 1,400 m of reef material atop a basalt rock base. As most local coral growth stops at about 45 m below the ocean surface, such a massive stony coral base suggests a gradual isostatic subsidence of the underlying extinct volcano, which itself rises 3,000 m from the surrounding ocean floor. Shallow water fossils taken from just above Enewetak's basalt base are dated to about 55mya. High boulder and sand ridges are a feature of the islets. Inland on the wider islets are sand and rubble flats, while back from the lagoon sides are low sand and gravel ridges. Soils are very immature, a mixture of coarser coral sand and gravel of various textures with little humus accumulation; the lagoon is shallow not exceeding 30 metres depth, has many coral heads and patch reefs, some reaching the surface. The lagoon water level is up to 1 metre higher than the surrounding ocean due to an influx of wind-driven waters over the windward ocean reef and the presence of only one narrow reef passage on the leeward side.

Water cascades over flats of the sloping leeward reef. A massive algal ridge lines the outer edge of the windward reef, while the south and west reefs are coral-covered narrow flats where landings can be made in quiet weather. A small algal rim, 100–150 mm high, on lagoon shores of the westernmost islets, on east-facing lagoon reef-fronts and on the windward edges of coral patches in the lagoon, may be a feature unique to Taongi; this rim is maintained by the constant flow of water over the reef flat. Bokak is the driest of the Marshall Islands atolls, having a semi-arid character. Mean annual temperature is 28 °C. Mean annual rainfall is less than 1,000 mm, falls during the late summer. Prevailing winds are north to north-easterlies. Bokak supports just nine plant species. All are native to the Marshall Islands and undisturbed by introduced species. A combination of insufficient rainfall, excellent drainage, high temperatures lead to an arid environment in which a freshwater Ghyben-Herzberg lens cannot form, coconut palm is unable to grow.

The most common formation is a low, sparse scrub forest of tree heliotrope, 2–6 m tall, with occasional taller trees. The understory comprises beach maupaka, or sparse endemic bunchgrass, ʻihi, ʻilima, or alena, the latter being more abundant on broken coral gravel. A small stand of Pisonia grandis is found on Kamwome Islet and in another small stand on Sibylla. Pure stands of dense beach naupaka shrubland, sometimes with tree heliotrope, are predominant and cover 50-75% of southern, nearly 100% of northeastern Sibylla. Heliotropium and Sida dominated shrublands and the sandy bunchgrass savanna represent the finest examples of such vegetation in the Marshalls and the entire Pacific region; the aquatic vegetation of the shallow edges of the lagoon consists of sparse coralline algae, encrusting fragments of coral, shell etc. and patches of green seaweed. The atoll supports a large population of sea and shorebirds, with up to 26 species present. Species breeding during 1988 included the brown booby, red-footed booby, great frigatebird, red-tailed tropicbird, sooty tern, white tern, brown noddy, the reef heron.

Migratory birds present included the bristle-thighed curlew, wandering tattler, golden plover, the sanderling. The densest bird populations are on three islets to the north of Sibylla: North, Kamwome and an unnamed islet. Bokak is the only known breeding ground of Christmas shearwater and Bulwer's petrel. Terrestrial species includes the Polynesian rat on Sibylla; the more aggressive black rat appears to be absent, despite wrecked fishing vessels on the eastern and north eastern reefs. The snake-eyed skink and large hermit crabs are common. In general, the aquatic fauna population is healthy, but of low diversity due to the atoll's isolation. Researchers have not seen any marine turtles, but Polynesian custom regarding harvesting assumed their presence. Examples of the giant clam family Tridacnid