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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

USGS Pacific Coral Reefs Website

Photo of coral reef.  

Hawaiʻi

satellite image of the island of Hawaii

Landsat satellite image from NASA

Overview

The island of Hawaiʻi, known as the Big Island, is the largest in the Hawaiian Islands chain. Greater than twice the area of the remaining main eight Hawaiian Islands combined, Hawaiʻi encompasses 10,432 sq km (4,028 sq mi). The island was formed from five major volcanoes. The volcano of Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on Earth, reaching nearly 9 km (5.5 mi) from the seafloor to the summit. Although shorter, Mauna Loa's massive size makes it the largest volcano in the world. Kīlauea, long thought to be part of Mauna Loa, is the only currently active subaerial volcano in the Hawaiian Island chain and is home to Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.

Motivation

Live coral growth on the Big Island is typically limited to scattered aggregate corals on volcanic boulders and pavement. The USGS is working with the National Park Service on the Kona (west) coast of Hawaiʻi to evaluate the geologic resources at Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and at Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau (City of Refuge) National Historical Park, including benthic habitat mapping of the nearshore coral ecosystem and nutrient flux from groundwater sources. Other partners involved in this work include the University of Hawaiʻi, Stanford University, and the University of California-Santa Cruz.

Products

Divided by theme (Note: some products are listed multiple times as they cross multiple themes)

Mapping

Gibbs, A.E., and Cochran, S.A., 2011, Seafloor morphology and coral habitat variability in a volcanic environment; Kaloko-Honokohau National Park, Hawaiʻi, USA, in Harris, P.T., and Baker, E.K., eds., Seafloor geomorphology as benthic habitat; GeoHab atlas of seafloor geomorphic features and benthic habitats, Elsevier [Elsevier Insights e-book series], p. 409–423.

Gibbs, A.E., and Cochran, S.A., 2009, An integrated approach to benthic habitat mapping using remote sensing and GIS; An example from the Hawaiian Islands, in Yang, X., ed., Remote sensing and geospatial technologies for coastal ecosystem assessment and management, Springer-Verlag Press, p. 211–231.

Richmond, B.M., Cochran, S.A., and Gibbs, A.E., 2009, Geologic resource evaluation of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi; Geology and coastal landforms: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1191, p. 28.

Richmond, B.M., Cochran, S.A., and Gibbs, A.E., 2009, Geologic resource evaluation of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi; Part I, Geology and coastal landforms: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1190, p. 23.

Richmond, B.M., Cochran, S.A., and Gibbs, A.E., 2009, Geologic resource evaluation of Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi; Part I, Geology and coastal landforms: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1192, p. 23.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2009, Science-based strategies for sustaining coral ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3089, 4 p.

Cochran, S.A., Gibbs, A.E., and Logan, J.B., 2007, Geologic Resource Evaluation—Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park; Part II - Benthic habitat mapping: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5258, 22 p.

Cochran, S.A., Gibbs, A.E., and Logan, J.B., 2007, Geologic Resource Evaluation—Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site; Part II - Benthic habitat mapping: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5254, 20 p.

Gibbs, A.E., Cochran, S.A., Logan, J.B., and Grossman, E.E., 2007, Benthic habitats and offshore geological resources of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5256, 62 p.

Hapke, C.J., Gmirkin, R., and Richmond, B.M., 2005, Coastal Change Rates and Patterns: Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005–1069, 28 p.

Brown, E.K., Cox, E., Jokiel, P.L., Rogers, S.K., Smith, W.R., Tissot, B., Coles, S.L., and Hultquist, J., 2004, Development of benthic sampling methods for the Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) in Hawaiʻi: Pacific Science, v. 58, no. 2, p. 145–158, doi:10.1353/psc.2004.0013.

Jokiel, P.L., Brown, E.K., Friedlander, A., Rodgers, S.K., and Smith, W.R., 2004, Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program; Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics in reef coral communities: Pacific Science, v. 58, no. 2, p. 159–174, doi:10.1353/psc.2004.0018.

Circulation and sediment dynamics

Ferrario, F., Beck, M.W., Storlazzi, C.D., Micheli, F., Shepard, C.C., and Airoldi, L., 2014, The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation: Nature Communications, 5:3794, doi:10.1038/ncomms4794. [download PDF]

Stender, Y., Jokiel, P.L., and Rodgers, K.S., 2014, Thirty years of coral reef change in relation to coastal construction and increased sedimentation at Pelekane Bay, Hawaiʻi: PeerJ, v. 2, no. 300, doi:10.7717/peerj.300.

DeMartini, E., Jokiel, P., Beets, J., Stender, Y., Storlazzi, C., Minton, D., and Conklin, E., 2013, Terrigenous sediment impact on coral recruitment and growth affects the use of coral habitat by recruit parrotfishes (F. Scaridae): Journal of Coastal Conservation, v. 17, p. 417–429, doi:10.1007/s11852-013-0247-2.

Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E., Presto, M.K., Swarzenski, P.W., Logan, J.B., Reiss, T.E., Elfers, T.C., Cochran, S.A., Torresan, M.E., and Chezar, H., 2013, Coastal circulation and sediment dynamics in Pelekane and Kawaihae Bays, Hawaii--measurements of waves, current, temperature, salinity, turbidity, and geochronology: November 2010–March 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1264, 102 p.

Field, M.E., Chezar, H., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2012, SedPods—A low-cost coral proxy for measuring net sedimentation: Coral Reefs, v.32, p. 155–159, doi:10.1007/s00338-012-0953-5.

Stock, J.D., Cochran, S.A., Field, M.E, Jacobi, J.D., and Tribble, G., 2011, From ridge to reef--Linking erosion and changing watersheds to impacts on coral reef ecosystems in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Ocean: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011–3049, 4 p.

Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E, and Bothner, M.H., 2011, The use (and misuse) of sediment traps in coral reef environments; Theory, observations, and suggested protocols: Coral Reefs, v. 30, no. 1, p. 23–38, doi:10.1007/s00338-010-0705-3.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2009, Science-based strategies for sustaining coral ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3089, 4 p.

Fletcher, C.H., Bochicchio, C., Conger, C.L., Engels, M.S., Feirstein, E.J., Frazer, L.N., Glenn, C.R., Grigg, R.W., Grossman, E.E., Harney, J.N., Isoun, E., Murray-Wallace, C.V., Rooney, J.J., Rubin, K.H., Sherman, C.E., and Vitousek, S., 2008, Geology of Hawaiʻi reefs, in Riegl, B., and Dodge, R., eds., Coral Reefs of the U.S.A., Springer-Verlag, p. 435–488.

Field, M.E., 2005, Living with change; Response of the seafloor to natural events, in Barnes, P.W., and Thomas, J.P., eds., Benthic habitats and the effects of fishing; American Fisheries Society Symposium 41, Proceedings of Symposium on effects of fishing activities on benthic habitats; Linking geology, biology, socioeconomics, and management, Tampa, FL, 12-14 November 2002: Bethesda, MD, American Fisheries Society, p. 215–218.

Storlazzi, C.D., and Presto, M.K., 2005, Coastal circulation and sediment dynamics along Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Part I—Measurements of waves, currents, temperature, salinity and turbidity: April-October 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005–1161, 30 p.

Climate change

Ferrario, F., Beck, M.W., Storlazzi, C.D., Micheli, F., Shepard, C.C., and Airoldi, L., 2014, The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation: Nature Communications, 5:3794, doi:10.1038/ncomms4794 [download PDF]

Grossman, E.E., Logan, J.B., Presto, M.K., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2010, Submarine groundwater discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Island of Hawaiʻi; Part III, spatial and temporal patterns in nearshore waters and coastal groundwater plumes, December 2003-April 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010–5081, 76 p.

Knee, K.L., Street, J.H., Grossman, E.E., Boehm, A.B., and Paytan, A., 2010, Nutrient inputs to the coastal ocean from submarine groundwater discharge in a groundwater-dominated system; relation to land use (Kona coast, Hawaii, U.S.A.): Limnology and Oceanography, v. 55, no. 3, p. 1105–1122, doi:10.4319/lo.2010.55.3.1105.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2009, Science-based strategies for sustaining coral ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3089, 4 p.

Knee, K., Street, J., Grossman, E.E., and Paytan, A., 2008, Submarine ground water discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi; Part II, Spatial and temporal variations in salinity, radium-isotope activity, and nutrient concentrations in coastal waters, December 2003–April 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5128, 31 p.

Street, J.H., Knee, K.L., Grossman, E.E., and Paytan, A., 2008, Submarine groundwater discharge and nutrient addition to the coastal zone and coral reefs of leeward Hawaiʻi: Marine Chemistry, v. 109, p. 355–376, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2007.08.009.

Presto, M.K., Storlazzi, C.D., Logan, J.B., and Grossman, E.E., 2007, Submarine groundwater discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi; Part I, time-series measurements of currents, waves and water properties; November, 2005–July, 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1310, 39 p.

Jokiel, P.L., 2004, Temperature stress and coral bleaching, in Rosenberg, E., and Loya, Y., eds., Coral Health and Disease, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, p. 401–425.

Jokiel, P.L., and Brown, E.K., 2004, Global warming, regional trends and inshore environmental conditions influence coral bleaching in Hawaii: Global Change Biology, v. 10, no. 10, p. 1,627–1,641, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2004.00836.x.

Future reefs

Ferrario, F., Beck, M.W., Storlazzi, C.D., Micheli, F., Shepard, C.C., and Airoldi, L., 2014, The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation: Nature Communications, 5:3794, doi:10.1038/ncomms4794 [download PDF]

U.S. Geological Survey, 2009, Science-based strategies for sustaining coral ecosystems: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3089, 4 p.

Other selected works

Coral Reefs Provide Critical Coastal Protection

View click-and-zoom panorama #1 of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (1.9 Mb)

View click-and-zoom panorama #2 of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (2.1 Mb)

View click-and-zoom panorama of Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park (1.9 Mb)

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