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'A world-class marine science program'

by Dr. Bruce Anderson, president, Oceanic Institute

 
If you are an undergraduate or graduate student interested in a career in marine sciences, you can take part in what is one of the most leading-edge, innovative ocean educational programs available anywhere—right here at Hawai‘i Pacific University.

 

HPU has always had an excellent marine science research program, but its president, Chatt G. Wright, had a vision for how HPU’s program could be made even better. When Wright approached Oceanic Institute about how our two organizations could work together to create a world-class marine science program for HPU students, we jumped at the opportunity.

Let me tell you a little about Oceanic Institute and why I am especially excited about its affiliation with HPU, which was launched in June 2003.

A career in the marine sciences is one of the most personally rewarding—and globally critical—fields a young person can prepare for today. That’s because so much is at stake in the race to understand how to preserve and protect the world’s oceans. As we grapple with the challenges of a growing population struggling to live on a planet with limited resources, the marine science industry will become even more critical, both for Hawai‘i and for the world.

Oceanic Institute—learning from the sea

Oceanic Institute is one of the world’s leading applied research and development organizations dedicated to marine aquaculture, biotechnology, and coastal resource management. We probably know more about growing fish and shrimp–two important aquaculture products that can help feed the world–than anyone.

In fact, almost half of the shrimp from Asia—which produces most of the shrimp in the world today—comes from stock that was originally produced at Oceanic Institute and provided to U.S.-based companies for export.

The marine research taking place at Oceanic Institute is setting the standard of excellence for ocean science internationally. Our work is creating tremendous excitement and interest among marine scientists, aquaculture farmers and marine environmentalists around the world.

While Oceanic Institute may not be recognized by many people in Hawai‘i, we are well known and highly respected in aquaculture circles around the globe.

HPU/OI partnership

Hawai‘i has one of the finest, most envied environments for marine research in the world. Our pristine ocean water and relatively isolated setting is perfect for growing marine animals. The nation’s leading universities would jump at the opportunity to send student interns to study marine science at Oceanic Institute.

However, only a few of the top schools in the nation offer a quality marine science program, and most of them cannot provide the array of facilities and research capabilities available at Oceanic Institute. The program being offered via the affiliation between Oceanic Institute and HPU is truly the first of its kind in the nation.

We at Oceanic Institute are proud to be able to offer such a unique educational opportunity to HPU students, and to help foster, right here in Hawai‘i, what we hope is the next generation of the world’s top aquaculture scientists.

To date, more than 90 students have enrolled in the Oceanic Institute/HPU program, with more expected to enroll in the winter semester. These students are receiving one of the highest-quality marine science educations available anywhere. They are getting to work with some of the top scientists on Oceanic Institute’s staff. They are also getting to experience–first hand–sustainable environmental management practices that can help keep our oceans healthy, both for this generation and the next.

Leah Wold, a 23-year-old undergraduate from Minnesota, is just one of the many students enrolled in this important program. As part of her internship with us, Wold is a member of the research team that is working to understand the nutritional needs of newly hatched fish. If her team is successful, it will be another important step toward understanding how fish can be effectively bred for food, thus protecting wild fish species from possible depletion through commercial and recreational fishing.

A bright future

A career in marine sciences is not an easy one. Students must be prepared to put in long hours, grapple with complex scientific and social issues, and devote months–and sometimes years–to research that does not always produce immediate results.

Also, students must be prepared to get wet! Oceanic Institute’s education program with HPU includes plenty of field research—diving in Hawai‘i’s near-shore waters. Yet the many rewards of a career in marine science can make all of the hard work–both in the laboratory and under the water–well worth it.

We will be sharing more about this exciting new affiliation between Oceanic Institute and Hawai‘i Pacific University in future issues of Kalamalama. If you are interested in learning more, visit the HPU Web site, at www.hpu.edu, or OI’s Web site at oceanicinstitute.org, or e-mail Gary Karr, OI’s communication, education, and training manager at gkarr@oceanicinstitute.org.

 

2004, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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