Protect the Reef, Protect all Ocean Life

Last month, Ultimate was able to assist with research conducted by the 100 Island Challenge Group. Their campaign has been to conduct surveys of the reef across the Pacific. Why so many studies of our reef systems? Because the ocean’s reef is the beating heart of the rest of the Marine World, here in Hawaii and the rest of the world. Without a healthy reef system, the rest of the food chain cannot survive.

Documenting/photographing Maui, Hawaii’s reef systems and what effects them, will in turn give us the tools to better protect them, revive them and keep our ocean teaming with life! Here’s an excerpt from the researchers themselves!

Over the last decade, the Sandin and Smith Labs at SIO have been working to establish a basin-wide perspective of coral reef health, investigating how reefs are structured, how they change, and how we can better manage them in the face of global change. Building upon these efforts, our team has embarked on a campaign, named The 100 Island Challenge, to conduct field surveys across the tropical Pacific that will generate critical data about reef ecosystems through time. The goal of the project is to visit upwards of one hundred islands across the Pacific twice over a 5-year period using consistent sampling protocols to provide a basin-wide perspective of coral reefs. By linking data on fish assemblage structure, basic oceanography, and human usage with novel reef visualization products (i.e., large-area photomosaics) to describe benthic communities; we will be able to gain an understanding of the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems.

Briefly, the photomosaic system allows us to take 1000s of images of the benthos within a 100m2 area, then to stitch the images together into a coherent picture of a reef. You can see some examples of these products on our project’s website ( By visiting the same location twice, we can track individual corals through time and examine the spatial dynamics of the reef.

We have been working with Russell and Darla on a long-term Maui dataset as well as long term work with DAR via Dr. Bill and Steve Cotton and TNC via Eric Conklin and Zach Caldwell on the Big Island. This coming spring, we are hoping to incorporate Kahoolawe into this effort if possible, as well as Oahu, Molokai, and Lanai. A critical component of this project is to identify existing monitoring efforts and establish collaborations with partners in each place. Our aim is to complement efforts you all already have in place by providing additional high-resolution data for the reefs.

For more info about 100 Island Challenge or how to support them, visit