Innovative Research to Inform Interventions

Building the world's largest land-based nursery to test resilience and embark on large-scale propagation.

Aerial drone of 3RC

Taking data to new heights

Large-scale coastline monitoring from the sky enables targeted diagnoses.

GAO Plane over the Kona Coast

Navigating Reef Conservation

Charting the Depths with Our Maritime Fleet

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa diver

Advanced technologies and expertise in coral reef monitoring at ʻĀkoʻakoʻa

With 120 miles of reef, the west coast of Hawaiʻi Island is the largest contiguous coral reef in the Hawaiian Archipelago, and requires advanced technologies and the world’s leading scientists to monitor the health of our marine ecosystems. ʻĀkoʻakoʻa’s scientific tools include the world’s most advanced land, air, and sea mapping and environmental monitoring assets, high-definition coastal and land-reef connectivity models, extensive water quality testing, and a massive facility for large-scale, broadcast propagation of corals.

close up coral polyps
Land-Based Operations

Research and propagation facilities of ʻĀkoʻakoʻa

A key asset of ʻĀkoʻakoʻa is its state-of-the-art coral research and propagation facility, at the Ridge to Reef Restoration Center (3RC) in Kailua-Kona, located at the midpoint of West Hawaiʻi’s coral reef. The coral facility houses 72 state-of-the-art highly instrumented raceways to drive large-scale research into West Hawaiʻi coral thermal and pollution tolerance, reproduction, and resilience. If you are interested in renting out some of the raceways in our nursery for your research or restoration, contact us.

Coral Raceways at 3RC
3RC building at host park
3RC ʻĀkoʻakoʻa facilities
Coral Raceways at 3RC ʻĀkoʻakoʻa facilities
3RC ʻĀkoʻakoʻa facilities
Coral Raceways
3RC ʻĀkoʻakoʻa facilities
3RC ʻĀkoʻakoʻa facilities
Global Airborne Observatory

Advanced aerial mapping for environmental conservation

The Global Airborne Observatory (GAO) is an airborne laboratory that houses advanced Earth mapping technology. The GAO’s mission is to make scientific discoveries, support conservation, and galvanize action to protect the environment at large geographic scales. Now in its third generation, the GAO is a complete airborne laboratory based in a highly modified Dornier 228-202 aircraft, and it carries what is widely regarded as the most advanced mapping technology operating in the civil sector today.

The GAO captures images of the dynamic Hawaiʻi coastline, and our team of leading technologists transforms the imagery into advanced diagnostic maps of ecosystem condition.

GAO map of Kahaluʻu Bay
Maritime Operations

Fleet for coral reef monitoring and rapid response

Our fleet of maritime assets interoperate with our land facilities to provide both rapid response and long-term coral reef monitoring capability. From our largest vessel, the Kai Surveyor, capable of carrying a large team of divers and gear, to our smallest and most nimble vessels, we are equipped to deploy scientific dive teams, students and community members for every need.

ʻĀkoʻakoʻa marine ops facilities
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa science vessel entering harbor
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa boat with mapping tech
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa vessel off the kona coast
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa science vessel
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa marine ops facilities
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa marine ops
ʻĀkoʻakoʻa marine operations

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Reef depths off the coast of Miloliʻi