Coconut Island is a tropical marine research facility belonging to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Institute of Marine Biology. It is surrounded by 64 acres of coral reef and it supports research in many disciplines of tropical science such as coral ecology, biogeochemistry, and evolutionary genetics. Students will travel on the station’s research vessel, deploying a plankton net along the way. Upon reaching Coconut Island they will encounter sharks and other research animals, then do two hands-on labs, one analyzing the plankton from the research cruise and the other sorting through invasive seaweeds to separate out and recover small creatures from the bay. The lab will provide first-hand exposure to the endangered coral ecosystem, and an appreciation of the role that scientific research plays in their conservation.
1. Understand the structure and biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems, and discuss threats to their survival
2. Tour a tropical marine research facility; speak with scientists engaged in marine research; gain hands-on experience in data collection
3. Develop an appreciation of the linkages between basic scientific research and applied conservation strategies