Included among the many research projects the Aquarium itself is actively undertaking are studies of research on lobster life cycles, growth patterns in giant clams, and the physiology and metabolism of the threatened Hawaiian Monk Seal. Additionally, our live exhibits section is heavily involved in conservation-related projects, including studies of the extremely rare articulate brachiopod Lingula, a Nautilus breeding program, etc.
The Waikiki Aquarium also utilizes its husbandry expertise and facilities to actively support the research of scientists and students at the University of Hawaii and other higher learning institutions. Recent or ongoing projects include studies of the deepest known photosynthetic coral (with Hawaii Pacific University), morphometrics of head shape in bonefish (Kyoto University, Japan), studies of ocean temperatures, chemistry and wave heights, etc.
Coral propagation is the forte of the Waikiki Aquarium, which has successfully maintained live corals since 1978. It now houses the largest and oldest collection of corals in the United States and is internationally renowned as a leader in this field. The objective of this Coral Farm program is to provide coral specimens to researchers and other public aquariums worldwide. In this manner these organizations will not have to source corals from living reefs, thereby reducing the collection pressures and damage that would otherwise occur.
The newly established Coral Ark program seeks to propagate rare Hawaiian corals, with the ultimate objective of conserving them in captivity until they can be reintroduced into the wild. It is hoped to expand this program to include all threatened or endangered Hawaiian corals, and also other rare Pacific species.
Through a unique combination of research, captive breeding and propagation, education and husbandry expertise, the Aquarium is bridging the gap between knowledge and conservation to the betterment of the natural marine environment.