Posted on: August 31, 2010

Free Talk: The Status of Maui's Coral Reef Ecosystems

MA'ALAEA, HI -- How healthy are Maui's coral reef ecosystems?

Russell Sparks, Education Specialist of Hawaii's Division of Aquatic Resources, Maui Office, will present a talk on "The Status of Maui's Reef Ecosystems" on Thursday, July 15, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., as part of Pacific Whale Foundation's Making Waves Lecture Series. The talk is free and the public in invited. It will take place at Pacific Whale Foundation's Discovery Center, located downstairs at the Maalaea Harbor Shops, next to Maui Ocean Center.

Russell Sparks will present the results of more than 15 years of monitoring of Maui's coral reef ecosystems during his talk. "Many of Maui's nearshore reefs have experienced significant declines in living coral cover," he notes. "Along with these declines in coral, some reefs have eroded way, losing the structural complexity necessary to support healthy fish stocks."

Attendees will learn which reefs are showing signs of decline, and the possible causes of those declines. "In some cases, these declines can be traced to impacts from land based activities (increased sedimentation and increased nutrient loads), but in most cases these declines are the results of numerous factors acting together to reduce overall reef ecosystem health," says Sparks.

The talk will include information on the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) management efforts to reduce the stressors on the reefs and restore reef health.

Pacific Whale Foundation's "Making Waves Lecture Series" takes place on the third Thursday of each month, and feature films, slideshows and talks by marine wildlife experts, conservationists and others who promote sustainable living. Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization based on Maui, dedicated to protecting whales, dolphins and the ocean environment, through marine research, public education and conservation. To learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation, visit www.pacificwhale.org or call (808) 249-8811.