Coral reefs surround the Hawaiian Islands. They are a habitat for food fish, protect the land from erosion, and draw tourists to Hawaii.
What is the importance of a healthy reef ecosystem? What are the changes in the oceans and how that will affect our economy, land values, and quality of life in Hawaii? What can we do to protect Hawaii’s coral reefs?
In 2014, the coral reef in Kaneohe Bay was adversely affected after water temperatures rose and remained high for several weeks. Scientists and researchers are now monitoring the reefs in Kaneohe Bay and other Hawaiian waters. They are also working to protect reefs from adverse conditions, which could become more frequent and severe, and finding ways to restore and build resiliency.
Ruth Gates, Director and Researcher, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, has received multi-million dollar support for her world-class research into coral. She is working to build a bank of coral stocks that are preconditioned to withstand the warmer and more acidic ocean conditions of the future. She received a B.S. with Honors in 1984, and a Ph.D. in 1990, both in Marine Biology from the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne, U.K.