The Kona coast of the island of Hawaii is a dynamic ecological region home to a diverse group of species including ornamental fish, lush coral reefs, sea turtles, cetaceans and manta rays. The Kona coast is also home to eco-tourism, an aquaculture industry, recreational and aquarium fisheries, and an annual billfish tournament hosted in Kona. This combination presents many potential management issues now and in the future. A balance of these human activities with the natural processes along the Kona coast is important to sustain ecosystem health in this important region. Read More
One of the major issues in Kona today is the shared use of natural resources such as ornamental fish. These unique and charismatic species are highly sought after in recreational diving and eco-tourism, yet the impacts of these activities on these species are not well defined. In addition, an economically large aquarium fishery extracts numerous ornamental fish species such as the Yellow Tang. Understanding how these very different uses of the ocean affect the ecosystem is important to managers, especially when dealing with issues such as marine protected areas and marine spatial planning. Read More
Cetacean Habitat Modeling along the Kona Coast
Research is currently underway to use existing satellite tagging data deployed on three species of cetaceans (false killer whales, short-finned pilot whales and Blainsville beaked whales) to assess the relationships between population densities and environmental variables.
Research is being undertaken to better understand the role of oceanography in the pelagic early life history (egg and larval) stages of resident organisms around the Kona coastline of the island of Hawaii. For insular organisms such as coral reef fish species it is imperative for these pelagic propagules to return to a suitable insular habitat. For pelagic species such as tunas and billfishes the horizontal transport issue may not be so critical but other issues such as the availability of forage or suitability of habitat may be important. To address some of these issues, a high-resolution ocean circulation model called HYCOM will be used in conjunction with transport modeling. Read More