TOPICS: CORAL REEFS

Coastal Ocean Hawaiʻi Acidification Monitoring Network (COHAMN) and carbonate mineral dissolution study

PI: Eric DeCarlo
This project is part of a long-term, ongoing effort to record carbon dioxide concentrations in multiple coral reef settings, producing the longest continuous CO2 record in the world from a coral reef environment, and has illustrated that time series data are critical to understanding and quantifying reef contributions to global carbon cycling. Results so far show that, currently, Hawaiian coastal waters largely release CO2 to the atmosphere, but with elevated carbon dioxide that is absorbed, models show that tropical reefs will be net dissolving by the mid-21st century.

Coral reef CO2 variations at the Coastal Ocean Hawaiʻi Acidification Network (COHAMN): Impact of basin scale oceanographic forcing

PI: Eric DeCarlo
This project continues the decade-old MAPCO2 buoy program at four coral reef sites around Oʻahu, measuring CO2 in the atmosphere and dissolved in seawater as well as other parameters relevant to CO2 biogeochemistry, as part of an ongoing global CO2 monitoring program.

Crown of Thorns Invades Samoa

In this episode we visit the National Park in American Samoa with ecologist Tim Clark. We’ll be doing some underwater surveying, looking for outbreaks of the crown of thorns starfish, which is devastating reefs across the Pacific. Tim and his ...

Defining Ecosystem-based Management Boundaries Using Genetics and Fisheries Data

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: ROBERT TOONEN Graduate Student: Johanna Wren The exchange of individuals among populations, termed connectivity, is a central element of population persistence and maintenance of genetic diversity, and influences most ecological and evolutionary phenomena. To date, field studies of ...

Growth optimization and survival of the bleaching-resistant coral genus Pavona for reef restoration in Hawaiʻi

PI: Peter Marko
These researchers are aiding in bleached coral-reef restoration efforts by experimentally determining optimal nursery growth conditions for the stress-tolerant coral genus Pavona and evaluating the role of colony size and morphology variation on out-planted coral survival at restoration sites.

Harnessing environmental DNA for healthy reefs

PI: Brian Bowen
This study monitors the health of coral reefs by using environmental DNA collected from waters around the reefs to identify which species are present, including cryptic and hidden ones, and to track the overall biodiversity on reefs in response to environmental stressors.

Hawaiian Reef Plants

The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program is pleased to present Hawaiian Reef Plants. The book is written by John M. Huisman, Isabella A. Abbott and Celia M. Smith, three of the world’s leading botanists, and is in full ...

Intertidal Algae and Invertebrates

In this episode, we’re learning about different types of algae and invertebrates with researchers from the OPIHI project, who are working with teachers and students around the state of Hawai’i to monitor the health of the intertidal environment Watch the ...

Investigating the origin and impact of sedimentation on the health of Hawaiian mesophotic reefs for sustainable coastal development

PI: Robert Toonen
This project continues collecting data from mesophotic zones (30-180 m depths) around Oʻahu and West Maui to update models and develop predictive maps of coral and invasive algae distribution, in order to help managers and policymakers choose best strategies for coastal development and runoff control to protect these vulnerable low-light ecosystems.

Ka Pili Kai Spring 2016

Humpback Whale Vocal Communications Between Mothers and Calves Wastewater’s Influence on Coastal Groundwater Quality and the Health of Coral Reefs in Maunalua Bay, O‘ahu Attack of the Drones: Characterizing Groundwater Discharge on Maui Using the Latest Research Tools Simulating Sea-Level ...

Ka Pili Kai Winter 2016

50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities O‘ahu Maui Hawai‘i Island Kaua‘i Pacific Region 50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed The National Sea Grant College and Program ...

Land-based pollutants in herbivorous reef fishes on Hawaiian reefs

PI: Megan Donahue
This work compares concentrations of metal pollutants in reef fish muscle tissue collected at several sites suffering, to different degrees, from contamination due to urban runoff into watersheds and coastal waters. The researchers aim to identify species and locations most impacted and aid communities to minimize the effects of land-based pollutants on coral reefs.

Land-based pollutants on Hawaiian reefs

PI: Megan Donahue
Increased military, agricultural, and residential development contaminates surrounding watersheds that feed into critical coastal ecosystems. This work examines land-based pollutants, such as metals and persistant organics, in coastal ecosystems and reef fish to understand how the pollutants are distributed and transported, with an eye toward better land management decisions.

Mitigating climate change impacts: What drives thermal resiliency in Hawaiʻi’s coral reefs?

PI: Ruth Gates
This study aimed to understand the biology and physiology of corals, their symbiotic algae, and microbial communities that underpin different responses to bleaching events, why some coral colonies survive bleaching and others do not. Thermal resilience was tested in four coral species important to Hawaiʻi, examining the role of morphology, tissue thickness, and behavior of bacterial communities in bleaching recovery. Results showed that after two weeks at high heat, rice coral (Montipora capitate) was most resistant to bleaching, although all four species returned to normal after four weeks of recovery time. Most susceptible to bleaching was the lace coral (Pocillopora acuta), which has the thinnest tissues.

Palau’s International Coral Reef Research Center

In this episode we tour Palau's International Coral Reef Research Center.  Researcher Adelle Lukes shows us around the aquarium and mangrove exhibit, the extensive coral collection, fish measurement system, and research equipment they use to study sea grass. Watch the ...

Podcast #1: Fish Flow

Meet Dr. Brian Bowen and Michael Hoban and learn about their project tracking important aquaculture fish species from egg production to the reefs where they settle and grow. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #10: Metallic Phish

Dr. Megan Donahue and Eileen Nalley look for traces of land-based, metallic pollutants in tissues of commonly eaten reef fishes and the mechanisms involved in their transport from land to fishes. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #11: DNA Detection

Dr. Brian Bowen, Cassie Lyons, and Mykle Hoban capitalize on a new technique of using free-floating environmental DNA sampled from above coral reefs to monitor their health based on the species present. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #7: Growing Coral

Dr. Peter Marko and Claire Lewis are determining the optimal conditions for growth of the coral Pavona variens to aid in restoration efforts of Hawaiian coral reefs. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #9: Mesophotic Mapping

Dr. Rob Toonen and Evan Barba explore sediment distribution across the sensitive ecosystems of the mesophotic zone and its connection to land use management decisions. Read more about their project here ...

Predicting and mapping Hawaiian mesophotic coral ecosystems for sustainable coastal development

PI: Robert Toonen
This study sought to address our fundamental lack of knowledge regarding vulnerable low-light, mesophotic coral ecosystems (at depths of 30-180 m) in order to better manage impacts from invasive species, coastal development, and exploration. By using statistical modeling, combined with machine learning, researchers created predictive maps to illustrate the distribution of mesophotic reefs and invasive algae across the main Hawaiian Islands. They found that all islands had some stretches of coastline identified as highly susceptible to invasion of the green alga Avrainvillea amadelpha, in both shallow and mesophotic depths.

Reef and Shore Fishes of the Hawaiian Islands

The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program is proud to present Reef and Shore Fishes of the Hawaiian Islands by award-winning author John E. Randall. The 560-page volume covers the 612 species of fishes found in the Hawaiian Archipelago ...

Super corals in Kāneʻohe Bay provide hope for survival of coral reefs around the globe

May 16, 2019 (Honolulu, HI) – A journal article published this week by researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology concluded that naturally occurring super corals in Kāne‘ohe Bay, O‘ahu are ...

What can seascape-scale vegetation patterns on coral reefs tell us about reef health?

PI: Elizabeth Madin
Coral reefs worldwide are threatened by changing conditions yet are often remote and hard to monitor. This project will use drone-based imagery to explore how coral “halos” are linked to reef ecosystem health, and whether that health may change over time where protective measures are instituted.