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Pressure. In many episodes that involved breaking the surface, or flying out of the water, the island is shown in the background. When SpongeBob and the gang break the surface, they become puppets on sticks, or live action characters (SpongeBob turns into a real kitchen sponge, Patrick into a dried starfish, Sandy a squirrel puppet with a helmet, and so on). It also appears in a scene in the SpongeBob Theme Song. In the 1940s and 1950s, it had been a place for nuclear bomb tests.
Execpt for the occasional seagull or pelican, it is uninhabited.
In Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost, after SpongeBob and Patrick put Squidward "to rest" by blowing a giant bubble ingulfing Squidward and bringing him up to the surface, Bikini Atoll is practically infested with pelicans.
In Big Pink Loser, the island was featured as a character when Patrick jumped out of the water to tell about "his" newly attained award, only to suffocate from lack of water moments later.