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Chasing Coral

Join us on Friday, October 27th, at 6 pm at Whalers Village in Lahaina for a screening of the award-winning film Chasing Coral, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A hosted by scientists who work in Hawaii, Dr. Kirsten Oleson, Dr. Tom Oliver, and Dr. Mary Donovan. They will discuss the film and ongoing coral reef science and stewardship efforts happening here on Maui.

Dr. Kirsten Oleson is an Associate Professor of Ecological Economics at UH Manoa. Her work in Maui focuses on understanding how nature contributes to human wellbeing. Coral reefs, for instance, provide beautiful places to swim and food for our families, while protecting shorelines from erosion. Healthy watersheds retain sediment, keeping it from flowing to the coast, and allow water to seep into the ground, so that it is there for us to drink. How and where reefs and other natural habitats benefit humans can be important information for managers. For instance, managers may want to target their actions to control pollution in coastal areas where people tend to swim and surf.

Dr. Thomas Oliver specializes on climate change impacts on coral reef ecosystems, and is the Ocean Acidification Program Manager at the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at UH. His work with NOAA's Ecosystem Science Division monitors the coral reef ecosystems in the US Pacific with the goal of understanding what local management actions can help corals avoid, resist, or recover from heating events and ocean acidification. His work in Maui focuses on coral bleaching impacts to reefs and specifically how nutrients and sediment may impact how corals respond to temperature stress. In all the science he performs, he tries to ask - "Now that we know that..., what do we do differently?"

Dr. Mary Donovan is recent PhD at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology who specializes in biostatistics, ecology and marine biology. She has made her mark by compiling large datasets to address questions related to marine management, including studying ecological thresholds on coral reefs in Hawaii and the Caribbean.

More on the film:

Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long.

Official Netflix trailer:

The event is being co-sponsored by Whalers Village, Oceanology's Whale Center of Hawaii, the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, and Project S.E.A.-Link, with support from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development and the Atherton Family Foundation.

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