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HONOLULU – The UH Mānoa Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) has been awarded a $24,200 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) to support the Connecting Coral Reefs Worldwide project.

Scientists, governments and NGOs believe that it is vital to carry out practical scientific research to help find new, cost-effective approaches to coral reef conservation. Today, coral reefs are at a critical stage with threats from human activities, climate change and ocean acidification. A fifth of all corals reefs have been destroyed and a further 15% are under immediate threat.

“The grant from Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for Connecting Coral Reefs Worldwide will provide essential support to better understand the coral reefs around Palau. The findings of this research will immediately and significantly contribute to the government of Palau’s efforts to protect their reefs as well as  provide management recommendations for the rest of Micronesia, which is facing similar challenges,” said Jo-Ann Leong, Director of HIMB.

Project partners include The Nature Conservancy’s Micronesia Program, TNC’s Reef Resilience Network and Palau International Coral Reef Center.

Scientific research using the latest methods in population genetics will be conducted on the reefs of Palau to understand how reefs recover from catastrophic disturbances such as mass bleaching events. The results will provide guidance in the design of Marine Protected Areas in Micronesia and globally to help restore and preserve the reefs and their incredible biodiversity for future generations.

The grant will be used to cover the costs of the lab work as well as to disseminate management recommendations and provide support to education programs that are already in place through The Nature Conservancy and Palau International Coral Reef Center.

“We are grateful to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for partnering with UH Mānoa to address some of the world’s most pressing conservation issues. Projects like the Connecting Coral Reefs Worldwide help develop community conservation and educational programs in critical ecosystems worldwide,” said UH Mānoa Chancellor Tom Apple.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund works to protect species and habitats, and connect youth to nature to help develop lifelong conservation values. Since its foundation in 1995, DWCF has supported more than 1,000 conservation programs in 112 countries.

For information on Disney’s commitment to conserve nature, visit

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The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors' passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations

The Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology is a world-renowned marine research institute of the School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Situated on Moku o Lo'e (Coconut Island) in Kane‘ohe Bay, HIMB provides excellent opportunities for tropical marine research located just 15 miles from the main campus and downtown Honolulu.