HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science Technology (SOEST) announced a seven year $50 million commitment from Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg. 

The money will go to support different research groups within Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).

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HIMB plans on using the gift money to make meaningful progress in restoring Hawai’i’s ocean health by funding research programs that document changing ocean conditions, explore solutions to support healthier ocean ecosystems, and enhance coastal resilience from storms and sea-level rise. 

They also plan to tackle challenges to marine organisms ranging from the tiniest corals to the largest predators.

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner said this gift will help their world-class experts to accelerate the conservation research for the benefit of Hawai’i and the world.

“The ocean ecosystems that evolved over eons now face unprecedented threats from our growing human population and our behaviors. It is critical that we learn from previous generations who carefully balanced resource use and conservation. The clock is ticking, and we must fast-track not only our understanding of marine ecosystems and the impacts of climate change, but the actions we must take to reverse the devastation underway. There is no place on Earth better than Hawai‘i to do this work, and no institution better able than UH. We could not be more grateful for the investment of Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in a better future for all of us and our planet.” said Lassner. 

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Hawai‘i is home to a rich diversity of marine life, including many threatened and endangered species.

UH said the accelerated pace of climate change and ocean acidification has altered environmental conditions faster than expected.

According to UH the gift funds will also help research the impact of climate change on Hawaiian coastal waters, support research on methods for more accurate forecasting of future ocean conditions, and efforts to study marine organisms like coral reefs, sharks and other species.

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To read the full statement or to get more information the the continued efforts UH does to help marine life in Hawai’i click right here.