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Papahānaumokuākea Research Specialist Dr. Daniel Wagner Publishes a Study on the Reproduction of Hawaiian Black Corals

Technical diver surveying black coral populations.
Technical diver surveying black coral populations within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument at depths between 180-250 ft. Credit: Greg McFall

Papahānaumokuākea research specialist Dr. Daniel Wagner published a study on the reproduction of Hawaiian black corals in collaboration with other scientists from the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, the Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Laboratory, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Maine. A large portion of the study was conducted within the protected waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and black coral samples collected by technical divers on PMNM cruises aboard NOAA ship Hiʻialakai were instrumental in completing this research. Black corals are of particular importance to Hawaiʻi, because they represent the state's official gemstone and have been harvested commercially in the inhabited Main Hawaiian Islands since the late 1950s to produce precious coral jewelry. Despite their importance, very little is known about the basic biology of black corals, because they are typically found in deeper environments (below 150 ft.) that are logistically challenging to access. The results of this study have important implications for the management of the black coral fishery in the inhabited Main Hawaiian Islands where these species are harvested commercially. The article entitled "Sexual reproduction of the Hawaiian black coral Antipathes griggi (Cnidaria: Antipatharia)" will be published in an upcoming issue of the prestigious journal Coral Reefs and can be accessed online at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/u36t711j4x010u41/ (you will be directed to a non-NOAA website).

For more information contact Daniel.Wagner@noaa.gov