Coconut Island, Hawaiʻi, USA
Coconut Island is home to the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) and the network’s first partner site, MarineGEO Hawaiʻi, pairing the research strengths of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with those of the Smithsonian to expand the MarineGEO network. This 28-acre tropical island in Kaneʻohe Bay, a quarter mile off the windward side of Oahu, is a hub for marine research into tropical Pacific biodiversity and conservation.
The Pacific Ocean shelters two-thirds of the world’s marine biodiversity. The Hawaiian Islands are the gateway to the Pacific and home to over 140,000 square miles of protected ocean waters and coral reefs. These rich and diverse marine ecosystems form island-sized laboratories that can help us understand larger, more complex continental ecosystems. HIMB’s state-of-the-art laboratories are surrounded by a protected coral reef in clean, clear waters, making it an ideal spot for intensive study of nearshore coral ecosystems that may be impacted by humans. Moreover, MarineGEO Hawaiʻi is also exploring expansion into the more pristine reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, providing valuable comparison points.
In addition to its long-term monitoring studies and field experiments, MarineGEO Hawaiʻi will explore the intersections of science and culture, tapping into the traditional ecological knowledge developed over centuries in Hawaiʻi and its application to management and conservation. In addition, these studies will provide educational opportunities and training to students and fellows from around the globe, with special emphasis on neighbors throughout the Pacific.