Over 5000 known species of marine plants and animals find their homes in Hawaii's coastal reefs, 25% of which are found nowhere else in the world. Yet, these reef resources are degrading at an alarming rate worldwide, due in part to a lack of public education. The Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program (HCRI-RP) was established in 1998. Our goal is to increase understanding of our valuable, yet vulnerable, nearshore reef ecosystem. We also fund scientific research and monitoring in order to advance effective resource management within our state.
In addition to research and monitoring, the program supports public awareness efforts, briefings for legislators and decision-makers, and internships and fellowships. A competitive, peer reviewed proposal solicitation and review process is used annually to select HCRI-RP projects that address priorities set by its Management Committee.
Rigorous peer reviews of the overall program are also conducted each year through NOAA's Coastal Ocean Program. Reviewer comments are addressed as necessary by HCRI-RP to resolve concerns and appropriately redirect project activities as recommended by the scientific community. HCRI-RP holds quarterly project review meetings for scientists and resource managers. The program also frequently hosts workshops with resource managers, scientists, and stakeholders to discuss potential priorities, future directions for the program, and specific topics of interest.