Fusing Science with Community Reef Restoration

Innovative and proven science to safeguard our reefs

Decades of scientific research have brought us here: we know that both local and global stressors are threatening our reef, and we know that science alone cannot alleviate these stressors. Integrated science and research are needed in coordination with community education and government action built on a cultural foundation to support our effort to preserve and improve our reefs over time.

GAO map of Kahaluʻu Bay
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa GAO map

Operationalized Diagnostic Data

Using the highest caliber scientific approaches for capturing data on the health of the coastline, reef, and inputs to our coastal waters, at ʻĀkoʻakoʻa we gain valuable insights into our coral reef ecosystem and what it needs. Our advanced technology allows us to track pollutants in the ocean, create detailed maps and track threats that help us understand the intricate dynamics of corals, and identify areas in need of intervention. Informed by our kūpuna, and in coordination with our community stewards and government agency partners, we monitor the vital signs from the ridge to the reef, and inform necessary interventions.

Diagnostic Science

Diagnosis and management for a healthy ecosystem

Our diagnostic approach helps us understand the reef's vital signs and adapt when we see signs of trouble in the health of the ecosystem. Through advanced techniques and data analysis, we are able to gather valuable information on reef ecosystems, identify and quantify threats, and work with partners to develop policy, practices, and interventions where needed.

GAO technology

Advanced Technology

We employ state-of-the-art mapping and monitoring techniques to create detailed pictures of the natural environment.

akoakoa data analysis

Data Analysis

Our team analyzes collected data to identify patterns, trends, opportunities and potential risks to coral reefs.

Akoakoa reef analysis

Threat Assessment

We use our findings to identify and assess potential threats to the health of coral reefs.

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa scientists swimming over the reef

Conservation Solutions

We then work with government and community partners to develop targeted mitigation and restoration strategies.

Restoration Science

Cultivating future generations of corals

Our massive restoration operation is based out of the Ridge to Reef Restoration Center (3RC) in Kailua-Kona. The site hosts large-scale research into West Hawaiʻi coral thermal and pollution tolerance, reproduction, and resilience.
It's a multi-step process:

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa scientist diagnosing coral

Gathering Coral

Corals severed from the seafloor from storms and anchor damage become ‘corals of opportunity’ and are gathered by us and our partners along the coastline

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa scientist analyzing coral

Collection & Monitoring

Corals are brought to our facility for quarantine and stress testing for the coral species most tolerant to pollution and extreme temperatures.

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa community on the water

Coral Propagation

Corals that survive rigorous stress testing go through a thorough process of fragmentation, propagation, and preparation for outplanting.

finger coral

Back to The Reef

Coral fragments are planted back in the area from which they came and monitored to restore West Hawaiʻi’s reefs with their natural diversity.

Community Collaboration

Join the effort: coral restoration with ʻĀkoʻakoʻa

To collect these corals of opportunity, we rely on members of the community to be on the lookout for damaged or floating corals. That's why education and training with local communities and collaboration with government agencies are essential to our programs. Learn more about how you can get involved with ʻĀkoʻakoʻa's restoration, today.

coral polyp