Waikiki Aquarium shines the spotlight on coral conservation in - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Waikiki Aquarium shines the spotlight on coral conservation in conjunction with upcoming international coral reef symposium

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Long recognized as an international leader in coral propagation, the Waikiki Aquarium will shine the spotlight on its extensive expertise in coral research and conservation in conjunction with the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium held in Hawai‘i this June. In addition to showcasing its research and conservation programs, the Aquarium will host special workshops and keiki activities focused on coral reef propagation and sustainability.

Coral reefs worldwide are under increased threats due to rising ocean temperatures and the spread of coral diseases. Through the Aquarium’s Coral Farm program, researchers have developed a delicate method of propagating small fingers of coral and growing these to become a healthy coral head. Pieces of coral removed from these cultivated heads are shared with other researchers and public aquariums worldwide, reducing collection pressures and furthering research and conservation efforts. Corals originating from the Waikiki Aquarium’s Coral Farm program can be seen in almost every public aquarium exhibiting coral across the United States.

In late 2007, the Aquarium also established a Coral Ark program to propagate rare Hawaiian corals, with the ultimate objective of conserving them in captivity until they can be reintroduced into the wild. The Waikiki Aquarium currently grows more than 127 species of corals from the South Pacific and Hawaii, a collection unrivaled in the Western Hemisphere.

The Aquarium is also involved in studies on ocean acidification, coral calcification rates, effects of water temperatures and coral bleaching rates.

“Coral propagation is one of the fortes of the Waikiki Aquarium, which has successfully maintained live corals since 1978,” said Dr. Andrew Rossiter, Waikiki Aquarium Director. “We’re proud that we can play a role in this year’s International Coral Reef Symposium by showcasing our efforts to help address coral reef decline locally and globally.”

Held every four years, the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) focuses on coral reef science and management. The symposium brings together scientists, policy makers, managers and activists from around the world with the goal of coral reef sustainability. The 13th Annual ICRS will take place from June 19-24, 2016, at the Hawaii Convention Center.

In conjunction with the ICRS, the Waikiki Aquarium will host a Coral Identification Workshop on June 18 and 19, led by author of Coral Finder and Reef Finder, Russell Kelley. The workshop is already fully subscribed, with attendees from all over the world, and will highlight the Coral Finder Toolkit, a proven resource for coral identification.

On June 28 and 29, following the conclusion of the symposium, Waikiki Aquarium Coral Specialist Mark Dimzon will lead a public Coral Identification Workshop at the Aquarium, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Special keiki activities will also be offered by the Aquarium’s Education Department.

For more information, call (808) 923-9741 or visit www.waikikiaquarium.org

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