The Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative
Projects

Characterize Public Health Issues From Exposure To Pathogens (Kahekili, Maui)
Dr. Robert Toonen, PI


In the past thirty years, the coastal waters of Kahekili and Kihei in Maui have seen a sharp increase in nuisance algal blooms such as Ulva fasciata; it is thought that the high concentration of algal nutrients correlates to the amount of sewage effluent and the human pathogens and fecal bacteria it harbors.  In addition, pathogens such as Vibrio spp., Leptospira, and Legionella pneumophila and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)  become much more virulent to humans in the presence of sewage effluent and  make recreational users of these waters ill.  The Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative will sponsor Dr. Robert Toonen-in cooperation with the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources and the federalEPA- to research possible links between water samples, benthic surveys, and disease records from the Department of Health to determine the effects of human pathogens in sewage effluent on the coral reefs.   Dr. Toonen and his team will determine the abundance of ten primary human pathogens and bacteria, whether the pathogens are replicating in the environment or are continuously introduced from the point of origin, the relationship between pore water seeps and the health of the reef (salinity, sediment, benthic composition, algal cover), and any correlations between pathogen concentration and disease incidences from people swimming or recreating in the area.

Introduction PowerPoint Presentation (October 2009)
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FY2009-2010 Project - Progress Report PowerPoint Presentation (February 2010)
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FY2009-2010 Project - NOAA Progress Report (June 2010)
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FY2009-2010 Project – NOAA Final Report (October 2010)
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Final PowerPoint Presentation (October 2010)
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