Maui, Hawai'i Coral Reef Health & Sea Turtle Monitoring By Snorkel
Maui, Hawai'i Voluntour for Adults Coral Reef Health & Turtle Monitoring Snorkeling and Sea Turtle Beach Surveys
Participate in an international effort dedicated to gain a baseline understanding of the health of Hawaii's coral reefs, and assist with monitoring threatened native marine wildlife. In Hawaii, the green turtle is a threatened species, and hawksbill turtles are endangered.
Our week long program involves assisting biologists, from the Hawaiian nonprofit Hawaii Wildlife Fund, with surveying sea turtles on the beach, and underwater using snorkeling gear. Volunteers also assist with conducting coral reef assessments to better understand reef health, sea turtle habitat and the impact of potential development to Maui's reefs. Volunteers receives on-site training and can choose from multiple tasks, no prior research experience is needed.
Based on the beautiful island of Maui, you assist the researchers monitoring green turtles
in shallow waters and basking on the beach. Basking is a rare behavior in which green sea turtles crawl ashore for reasons other than nesting. No other species of sea turtles are known to bask and the behavior has been documented only in Hawai'i and Australia. We collect data on occurrence, distribution, and note any other details such as tags and injuries.
We also search for the rare, critically endangered Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtle.
Teams alternate conducting Nest Watch in the early mornings and at night searching for nesting hawksbill turtles and hatchlings to help ensure hatching success.
will nest at night and will lay 2-5 sets of eggs, or clutches, in the same
single clutch averages 180 eggs. We
monitor any nest to ensure each hatchling crawls to the ocean safely.
The second part of the program involves working with our researcher to collect reef data during shallow-water snorkel excursions. The world's coral reefs are being greatly impacted by environmental degradation and human misuse. The coastal waters of Maui still harbor miles of exquisite coral reef and this project is part of a network to help ensure that these outstanding coral reefs are protected and remain healthy.
We will work in collaboration with Eyes of the Reef, Hawai'i, a community reporting
network for coral bleaching, diseases and crown of thorns sea stars population blooms. The statewide network is the first tier of a rapid response protocol developed by the Division of Aquatic Resources and the Climate Change and Marine Disease Local Action Strategy, implemented by Reef Check Hawai'i.
This volunteer expedition is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to conservation science and help protect threatened sea turtle.
Our exact itinerary will depend on weather. Evening presentations will be held on our projects, the natural history of sea turtles and the area's marine ecosystems.
Note: July-November during Hawksbill turtle nesting season, our time will incorporate nest surveys. January-April, there will be time for optional humpback whale watching.
Day 1:Arrive at the Kahului Airport on the island of Maui. Tranfer to hostel. Late afternoon briefing, and visit to green turtle basking beach.
Day 2: Morning training on coral reef health data collection, and then transfer to west side for a snorkel check out of your gear and safety briefing, we spend approximately two hours collecting data, and then explore the shallow rainbowed reefs. Late afternoon transfer to the basking beach.
Day 3: This morning we conduct our first sea turtle in-water survey. Late afternoon sea turtle monitoring at the basking beach.
Day 4-5: We conduct reef health and in-water turtle surveys. Late afternoon basking turtle monitoring.
Day 6: After breakfast, fly home or continue to exploring the Hawai'ian Islands.
Accommodations are in double and triple occupancy rooms with shared bath; private accommodations are available upon request and at an additional fee. Transport and sampling equipment will be provided however volunteers will need to bring their own snorkeling gear.