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Maui Ocean Center’s Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals

Visit the Aquarium After Dark


Reservations: Call (808) 270-7088

Event:  Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals
Description:  Join us for Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals for the rare and remarkable opportunity to visit the Aquarium after dark and the chance to witness live rice coral spawning. During this highly anticipated evening guests will interact with Maui Ocean Center’s knowledgeable divers, aquarists, ocean naturalist and renowned experts in the field along with volunteers from local eco-organizations.  Presentation by Michael Cavazos, Coral Mitigation and Nursery Specialist for the Division of Aquatic Resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources State of Hawaii on coral and the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on Oahu.  Enjoy complimentary coffee, juice, and tropical iced tea.  Delectable heavy pupu (appetizers), snacks, and cash bar will be available for purchase.  Aquarium exhibits will be open for viewing during the event.

Explore the mysterious world of coral reproduction at Maui Ocean Center’s evening series, Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals on Monday, July 28.  From 7:30-9:30pm guests can take this rare and remarkable occasion to visit Aquarium exhibits after dark under the light of a new moon with the opportunity to observe live coral spawning.

During this highly anticipated evening guests will interact with Maui Ocean Center’s knowledgeable divers, aquarists, ocean naturalists and renowned experts in the field along with volunteers from local eco-organizations.  Complimentary coffee, juice, and tropical iced tea will be available.  Delectable heavy pupu (appetizers), snacks, dessert and a no host bar will be available; including the Coral Bloom beverage special.  View exceptional footage from live coral spawning with the chance to witness live coral spawning.  Rice coral reproduction is linked to the lunar cycle and spawning generally occurs a few days after the new moon in the summer months.  While live coral spawning is expected to occur on July 28 it is not guaranteed.  All Aquarium exhibits will be open for viewing during Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals.

Further adding to this significant evening Michael Cavazos, Coral Mitigation and Nursery Specialist for the Division of Aquatic Resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources State of Hawaii will present information on coral and the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center on O‘ahu.  As a researcher, Cavazos is interested in microbial interactions in corals and reef restoration techniques.  Cavazos will be joined by Kari Kolton-Zajackowski, also of the Anuenue Fisheries Research Center who will be available throughout the evening with information on fragmenting coral and to answer questions.

With this program, visitors will be offered the unique opportunity to visit the aquarium after the sun sets. The transition from day to night is a fascinating time on the reef, as certain animals, such as lobsters, octopus and whitetip reef sharks, may come out of their daytime hiding places and become more active, whereas other animals find a place to settle in for the dark hours. Some animals, like the brightly colored butterflyfish, even darken their colors with the changing light conditions.

A special underwater robotic camera from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will be in the Discovery Pool during the event, sending back live imaging of coral spawning.  Footage from previous spawning events will also be shown throughout the evening.

Admission including tax is $28.00 for adults and $23.00 for children ages 3-12, with discounts for members and kama‘aina with valid ID.  Advance reservations are recommended as space is limited for this exclusive event.  To reserve, call (808) 270-7088.  

Maui Ocean Center will donate a portion of the proceeds from Night at the Reef:  Incredible Corals to Project S.E.A.-Link, a local non-profit organization which promotes Marine Science, Education, and Awareness by providing a link between students, teachers, scientists, the local community, the general public, other non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies.

Corals spawn in response to multiple environmental, biological and physical cues; while live coral spawning is expected to occur on July 28, 2014 it is not guaranteed.

Rice Coral Biology
Rice coral (montipora sp.) was named for the projections on the surface that look like grains of rice standing on end.  Rice coral’s sexual reproduction is linked to the lunar cycle and spawning generally occurs a few days after the new moon in the summer months. During the spawning, all of the polyps (the tiny, cylindrical animals) simultaneously release bundles containing both egg and sperm, which are visible to the naked eye. The bundles float to the surface, and after 20 to 60 minutes, they break apart and clouds of sperm are released. After fertilization, eggs become free-swimming larvae called planulae. Though most planulae do not survive this phase, some will settle on a hard surface and establish a whole new colony. 

Project S.E.A.-Link
Project S.E.A.-Link is a nonprofit organization based on Maui, Hawaii. It was founded in 1999 and received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 2000.  Their mission is to promote Marine Science, Education, and Awareness by providing a link between students, teachers, scientists, the local community, the general public, other nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies with their goals being to encourage and inspire the next generation of marine scientists, educators and stewards of the ocean environment; to support the inquiry-based reform in science education; and to promote conservation and stewardship in order to preserve and protect marine resources.

The mission of the Maui Ocean Center is to foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. Maui Ocean Center was named “Top-Rated Family Attraction” by ZAGAT Survey in US Family Travel Guide, a “Leader in Responsible Tourism” on the Top 100 Blue List by Islands Magazine, and “Best Environmental Attraction” in The Best of Maui 2010 by the readers of The Maui News. This state-of-the-art marine park is centrally located in oceanfront Ma`alaea, within minutes of Maui’s major resort areas, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm, and 9am to 6pm in July and August. For more information please contact the Maui Ocean Center: 192 Ma`alaea Road; Ma`alaea, HI 96793; telephone (808)270-7000, facsimile (808)270-7070, email info@mauioceancenter.com or visit website www.mauioceancenter.com.