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  • Mike Morris

Explore Coral Spawning and Research at Maui Ocean Center’s Annual Event

Maui Ocean Center will host its annual Coral Spawning Night on Saturday, July 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. This exclusive event offers guests the rare privilege of witnessing the natural phenomenon of coral spawning, a sight that few get to see while learning about pioneering coral research currently underway.

Explore Coral Spawning and Research at Maui Ocean Center’s Annual Event

A variety of engaging activities, including a coral feeding station where you can observe and even participate in feeding the corals, will be featured alongside diver presentations in the aquarium’s 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit. Inside the Sphere Theater, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) will share insights into their research on using sound as a tool to promote healthy coral reefs.

Researchers from WHOI’s Reef Solutions Initiative are conducting groundbreaking experiments with five coral species at Maui Ocean Center’s coral nursery. They are placing corals in sound-dampened tanks and using underwater speakers to play recordings of thriving coral reefs from Maui’s South Shore and the Caribbean. The goal is to determine if these sounds can help promote coral larvae settlement, potentially offering a solution to rebuild degraded or damaged reefs.

In collaboration with Maui Ocean Center, WHOI is partnering with the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. This research represents the first test of its kind for Pacific corals.

We plan to return next summer and use findings from our controlled research in the lab to inform the design of field experiments here on Maui,”

Said Nadege Aoki, a WHOI marine biologist and co-author of a recently published study on using healthy reef sounds to promote new growth. Aoki is one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Coral Spawning Night.

During the event, rice coral spawning stations will be set up throughout the aquarium. Coral spawning, which coincides with the lunar cycle, will be showcased during the new moon. Marine naturalists, who are experts in marine life and coral spawning, will be on hand with flashlights to point out any spawning to guests. While coral spawning is expected to occur, it’s not always guaranteed due to environmental variables.

coral Spawning

About Maui Ocean Center

For more than 25 years, Maui Ocean Center has fostered wonder and respect for Hawaiʻi’s marine life. Whether it’s walking through an underwater tunnel next to sharks and rays or coming eye-to-eye with humpback whales in an immersive 3D film experience, Maui Ocean Center seeks to inspire you as it brings you below the water’s surface. Recently named one of the Top 10 aquariums in the nation by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards 2024, Maui Ocean Center continues to be a leader in marine education and conservation.

Learn more at


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