“reef0783” by David Burdick. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are among the most iconic ecosystems on Earth.  Reef structures are comprised of a variety of different benthic communities that interact to form a highly complex, dynamic, and important marine ecosystem.  Positioned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with abundant reef systems mere steps away from high-tech laboratories, students and staff within the School work within some of the planet’s most unique and iconic natural reef laboratories.

Coral reef research, monitoring, and conservation efforts within SOEST span the entire state of Hawai‘i, and stretch to the Red Sea, the Coral Triangle, the Caribbean, and remote island chains throughout all world oceans.  We are pioneering efforts to save coral reef systems from the impact of global climate change, developing new genetic tools to understand marine biodiversity, developing methods to fight coral disease, and conducting fundamental research to support management of coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, underpin local island economies, provide food and protection for remote atolls, and serve as enduring conservation zones in areas of the planet inaccessible to humankind.