The following is a description of common marine organisms found on coral reefs in the state of Hawai'i. Because coral reefs display incredible biological diversity the species listed here serve only as an introduction to the identification and ecology of shallow water reef-dwelling organisms. For each species there is a written description to aid in field identification and a brief overview of habitat and ecology. Images illustrating key morphological features are present for many species and scientific and Hawaiian names are pronounced using recorded sound clips. These species are a required component of our college course QUEST, an acronym for Quantitative Underwater Ecological Survey Techniques, which is taught by the Kalakaua Marine Education Center and Marine Option Program at UH-Hilo by faculty from throughout the University of Hawai'i system. QUEST is focused on training students to conduct biological surveys of coral reefs. The species presented here are considered a minimum number of organisms to represent the community structure of coral reefs in Hawai'i.

Icons used:

     Click on the speaker next to scientific and Hawaiian names to hear them spoken (TrueSpeech WAV files)

This species is found only in Hawai'iSpecies found only in Hawai'i and nowhere else in the world are indicated by the endemic sign .

Explore Traditional Hawaiian UsesFor some species additional information on Native Hawaiian uses is indicated by this  logo.

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