Projections of future coral reef communities in DOI-managed coastal areas in the Hawaiian Islands

Scenic underwater scene with a coral landscape
Coral reefs are on the frontlines of being affected by climate change, making vital the efforts to determine the best management paths to pursue. (Photo: NOAA)

The conditions of coral reefs in the Hawaiian Islands are predicted to decline significantly from climate change over the next 100 years. To better prepare for the impacts of climate change on Hawaiian reefs, the research team uses a system of models to simulate ocean waves and circulation, rainfall and storm run-off, and coral reef community dynamics through the year 2100. These models will identify reef areas that are either vulnerable or resilient to the many stressors that the future may hold for reefs. The team’s hope is that this work can identify areas that might benefit from management actions to minimize local stressors such as land-based pollution. Through a collaborative partnership with state and federal resource managers as part of the project, this research will directly provide scientific knowledge to support planning for climate disturbances and the interpretation of climate change science for the general public.





Erik Franklin
Associate Researcher, HIMB, UH Mānoa


Rob Toonen
Researcher, HIMB, UH Mānoa