Big Island Kapoho Tidepools HawaiiSeptember 20 2014
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I am a middle school science teacher on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii, it is the most awesome place to teach science!
On the Big Island there are many unique ecosystems and geological features, on the South East area there is one special place known by many as Kapoho Vacation Land and also by another name,Wai ‘Ōpae. It is a large complex of tidepools which support a diverse coral reef community and provides a nursery for juvenile fish. Roughly half this area was designated as a Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) in 2003. Commercial activity, collecting or fishing is not allowed within the MLCD, however, the nearby coastal area is frequently used for net and pole fishing.
On August 7th, 2014 Hurricane Iselle, a category 1 Hurricane hit the South East side of the Big Island and did major damage blowing down trees and power lines like matchsticks for miles around, but the most devastating damage at Kapoho was cause by the massive storm surge before the hurricane hit. The water burst into homes and dragged debris out. In some cases the waves toppled the buildings and washed away the stairs of the houses leaving the people trapped upstairs. Unfortunately the waves also brought back to the ocean toxic chemicals in the form of pesticides, paint and other types of household products. In one instance a car was carried by water into a pool leaking gas and other chemicals into the water. These pools are filled to the brim with many species of corals that are know to be slow growing and very sensitive to being damaged.
I teach 6th,7th and 8th grade science and I have had the amazing opportunity to take my students on field trips to these coral reef tidepools to monitor corals by using quadrats and digital photography to collect and analyze data. We would like to be a part of the clean up and recovery of the tidepools but now because of the potential dangers of the condition of the water we need another way to collect photos of the corals. The underwater rover be used to take photos of the corals so that we can compare them to photos taken in the past 3 years. We can also correlate the visual information with water sample data. Please follow our project so we can win this technology for our class to help Kapoho heal!