HPU Merger Speeds Up Ma­rine Stud­ies At Oceanic In­sti­tute

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Islander - By JUNI WEN­DELIN FAST­ING

The Jan. 7 merger be­tween Oceanic In­sti­tute and Hawaii Pa­cific Univer­sity should ac­cel­er­ate re­search ef­forts across the Pa­cific, of­fi­cials say.

Lo­cated next to Sea Life Park, OI houses 50 sci­en­tists, tech­ni­cians and sup­port staff, and has been af­fil­i­ated with HPU since 2003. Now they all are em­ploy­ees of Hawaii’s largest pri­vate univer­sity.

The merger is a lon­gawaited mile­stone, ac­cord­ing to OI pres­i­dent Shaun Moss, who calls it a win­win for all par­ties.

“The spe­cial re­search ca­pac­i­ties we have de­vel­oped at Oceanic In­sti­tute are of keen in­ter­est to a grow­ing num­ber of con­cerns in the United States and in na­tions lit­er­ally around the world,” he stated. “Our new sta­tus as a univer­sity-wide in­sti­tute within HPU will help us to deepen those ca­pac­i­ties and to form new re­la­tion­ships with other con­cerns that have in­ter­est in our work.”

HPU pres­i­dent Ge­of­frey Ban­nis­ter noted that both stu­dents and fac­ulty will ben­e­fit from hav­ing OI avail­able for their own projects, and it also will “in­spire additional mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary re­search within the univer­sity.”

The Waimanalo re­search hub al­ready is mak­ing strides in the aqua­cul­ture field, such as shrimp hus- bandry, fin fish breed­ing and its spe­cific pathogen­free shrimp brood­stock. Up­dates on aquar­ium fish projects, for ex­am­ple, were shared with the pub­lic Jan. 27 at HPU’s Sci­ence PubHawaii at Aloha Tower Mar­ket­place, where re­searcher Chatham Cal­lan de­scribed a one-year study on breed­ing cap­tive yel­low tang — a topic of great in­ter­est to the aquar­ium in­dus­try. ( Ev­ery year 300,000 yel­low tang are found in the wild and ex­ported from Hawaii.)

“Cul­tur­ing yel­low tang will be a huge step for­ward in the con­ser­va­tion of Hawaii’s co­ral reef,” Cal­lan said. “Not only would it help re­duce the fish­ing pres­sure on the reefs for these aquar­ium species, but it could un­lock some doors to­ward cul­tur­ing other very-dif­fi­cult-to-rear fish.” HPU also an­nounced Jan. 24 an in­fu­sion of $75,000 for Cal­lan’s project from mul­ti­ple fun­ders and in-kind sup­port.

“We hope to build on this suc­cess with new re­search on other species,” added Moss, “and to ex­plore other ways that the In­sti­tute can con­trib­ute to the global body of knowl­edge on fin­fish.”

The

state

first leased land to Pa­cific Foun­da­tion of Ma­rine Re­search in 1960 to de­velop an in­sti­tute for ma­rine ed­u­ca­tion, ma­rine sci­ence and ocean in­dus­try. Ini­tially known at Maka­puu Oceanic Cen­ter, it be­came Oceanic In­sti­tute in 1972.

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