Founded in 1960, Oceanic Institute is a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to marine aquaculture, biotechnology and coastal resource management. OI’s mission is to develop and transfer environmentally responsible technologies that increase aquatic food production while promoting the sustainable use of ocean resources. In 2003, OI became an affiliate of Hawaii Pacific University (HPU), the largest private university in Hawaii. In 2014, OI merged with HPU, making the acclaimed research center a formal part of the university.  Located on a 56-acre site on the windward coast of Oahu, Hawaii, OI is a global leader in marine finfish and shrimp production, aquatic feeds development, stock enhancement and applied marine biotechnology.  OI’s unique resources coupled with Hawaii’s pristine coastal waters and year-round tropical climate provides the ideal environment for uninterrupted marine science research. OI’s Finfish Program conducts research in applied aquaculture technologies that protects the coral reef ecosystem, provides educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in Hawaii, and promotes aquaculture production and sustainable fisheries. 

The Finfish Program was recently successful in overcoming significant bottlenecks associated with rearing the Yellow Tang’s very small and fragile larvae through the development of innovative hatchery techniques.


Director of Oceanic Institute’s Finfish Program  


Chatham Callan is currently the Director of Oceanic Institute’s Finfish Program. Trained in marine biology, his MS and PhD degrees from The University of Maine were focused on the culture of marine fish. His work at OI spans more than 10 years and has focused on aquaculture R&D for a variety of marine finfish species including yellow tang, flame angelfish, striped mullet, Pacific threadfin, bluefin trevally and long-fin amberjack. He is also actively involved in undergraduate and graduate marine science education and currently serves as Affiliate Faculty at HPU. Currently, the Finfish Program is involved in several research activities that utilize aquaculture for marine conservation. Examples of this work include the production of local collector urchins for the control of invasive algae, the production of mullet for revitalization of Hawaiian fishponds and the improvement of aquaculture capacity in the Western Pacific (projects in Palau and Saipan).


Oceanic Institute Grad Student 


Erin is a second year graduate student with a graduation date of May 2016. She is currently working with first feeding larval yellow tang primarily during the crucial, first feeding bottleneck. Her project deals with different parameters of the rearing environment in hopes of improving feed incidence, growth and survival. Her thesis is officially titled “Effects of Photoperiod, Light Intensity, Turbidity, and Prey Density on Feed Incidence, Growth and Survival in Cultured Larval Yellow Tang *(Zebrasoma flavescens)*.” To date, she has been able to determine an ideal photoperiod as it pertains to feed incidence which OI has applied to the current groups of 20 day post hatch (DPH)+ yellow tang larvae. Light intensity and turbidity have also yielded significant results that may be applied to larval rearing in the future.

Trials pertaining to prey density are completed and she is currently analyzing the data and writing her thesis and will then submit it for publication. Her preliminary photoperiod data was accepted for exhibition at the World Aquaculture Society’s conference in Las Vegas, February 2016. Presenting her research is a great opportunity to share the unique research going on at OI with the help of Rising Tide conservation.

Erin is a Florida native where she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of West Florida under the guidance of Dr. Alexis Janosik and Dr. Toby Daly-Engel. After graduate school, she plans on spending some time in the aquaculture industry and then pursuing a PhD pertaining to aquaculture, specifically ornamental aquaculture if possible. Her husband Ryan Davison is active duty Army and they have two fur babies named Jasper and Icarus.


Student Hawaii Pacific University  


As a student at Hawaii Pacific University, Emma is fortunate enough to complete her Masters in Marine Science while enjoying the gorgeous Hawaiian sunshine. She is originally from New York and graduated from Old Dominion University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. After graduation, she took an internship at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa. It was there that her interest in marine ornamental aquaculture was sparked.

Her research at Oceanic Institute is on the assessment of the bacterial community in the live feeds (copepod nauplii) with the addition of probiotics. She is using varying next generation sequencing techniques to assess bacterial communities in the nauplii and potential shifts in bacterial communities with the addition of the probiotics. With this information, they are hoping to gain some insight into the bacterial composition of the larval gut and increase larval survival past the first 9 days.

After graduation, she is hoping to continue research at OI. She would like to continue some genomic work with broodstock and larvae to further advance the understanding of the yellow tang life cycle.

She enjoys the ocean and is an open water swimmer. Last spring, she swam 13.2 miles between the islands of Maui and Lanai and is hoping to try again this spring! Her biggest focus currently is wrapping up her thesis and enjoying the ocean as much as possible.

Rising Tide Conservation





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