Puka Mai he Ko‘a: Why Does Coral Health Matter to the People of Hawai‘i?

April 19, 2016 @ 5:00 am – 6:30 am
Lyman Museum
256 Haili St
Hilo, HI 96720
Free to Lyman Museum members; $3 nonmembers.

Conducting a field survey on coral bleaching. Photo courtesy Misaki Takabayashi.


Hānau ka ‘Uku-ko‘ako‘a, hānau kana, he ‘Āko‘ako‘a, puka ….”  Coral emerges as the firstborn life out of darkness, as told in the Kumulipo, the venerable Hawaiian creation chant.  This tells us that the coral polyp is one of the most ancient of ocean creatures; it is also the most fundamental organism in the physical and ecological infrastructure of the coral reef ecosystem.  Just as an entire barn would collapse if its metal beams and posts were to rust away, so too would a coral reef ecosystem collapse if the health of its corals were to decline.  In the waters of Hawai‘i, the Pacific region, and across the globe, coral health is currently under dire threat in a number of ways—and if we humans are the cause of most of these threats, we are also able to provide their solutions.

Dr. Misaki Takabayashi’s research team, including UH-Hilo undergraduate and graduate students, has been studying the health and diseases of corals around Hawai‘i Island for the past decade.  Tonight she shows us what makes the foundation of our Hawaiian coral ecosystem healthy or unhealthy, and what this means to the lives of all of us.

Free to Lyman Museum members; $3 nonmembers.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for evening public programs.

Limited seating; first come, first seated.  Additional parking next door at Hilo Union School. (Click here to see map of additional parking)

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