Marine Related Programs
Marine Options ProgramThe UH Hilo Marine Option Program (MOP) is a certificate program for undergraduate students from any field of study who have an interest in the ocean. MOP sponsors seminars, films, field trips, and short-courses on various marine-related subjects. Field activities include cruises, snorkeling, whale watching, sailing, and hiking and camping at coastal sites around the island. MOP students are trained in wildlife management techniques in an on-going sea turtle research program carried out in cooperation with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Each year MOP sponsors a Student Skill Project Symposium where selected students gain valuable experience by presenting the results of their projects. All UH Hilo students are invited to take part in MOP-sponsored activities. MOP students may choose to work toward a University of Hawai’i MOP Certificate by completing selected course work and a hands-on field project.
KMECThe marine education programs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo were created under the Kalakaua Marine Education Center (KMEC), named in honor of King David Kalakaua, an accomplished marine naturalist. The Center was formed to serve as a model of cooperative marine education and research for Hawaii’s undergraduate students. Among the goals of the Center are to better understand and conserve Hawaii's marine ecosystems, and to help strengthen Hawaii's economic base for the future by training students for positions in the expanding ocean industry sector of the State’s economy.
Among the current responsibilities of KMEC are the operation and maintenance of a fleet of small vessels and a shore facility at Hilo Bay, oversight of the UH Hilo dive locker, fill station and scientific diver training program under the auspicies of the UH Dive Safety Office, and operation of the UH-Hilo Scanning Electron Microscope Laboratory. In addition KMEC organizes and operates the Marine Science Summer Program under the auspices of the College of Continuing Education and Community Service, and exercises oversight of the UH Hilo Marine Option Program. KMEC also encourages and facilitates collaboration with local, national and international organizations and agencies to maintain a broadly focused field research program.
KMEC is developing an undergraduate marine field station at Puako. The reefs off Puako are among the best developed and most diverse in all Hawaii, making the site one of the most important locations in the world for coral reef studies. Significant research has been conducted in the area by undergraduate students and faculty from the UH Hilo Marine Science Department and Marine Options Program for over two decades and UH-Hilo now has access to land adjacent to the Puako boat ramp. The site will provide the perfect field station for the study of water quality and coral reef conservation and management and will be one of the few labs in the country dedicated to ocean research activities in which undergraduates are the primary participants. With the academic support of UH Hilo, whose primary mission is to provide excellent undergraduate liberal arts and professional programs, the laboratory will provide a wide range of educational and research activities available nowhere else.