Two students working on a boat
Students from UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology work on equipment that monitors ocean sound.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will now offer the first doctoral degree in marine biology available in Hawaiʻi.

The UH Board of Regents recently approved the establishment of a graduate program in marine biology at UH Mānoa. The program will offer a master of science degree and doctorate in marine biology, and will be jointly administered by the College of Natural Sciences and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.

It’s been designed to train future leaders in the marine biological sciences. These include fisheries, coral reef biology, marine ecology and evolutionary genetics, marine biosensory and physiological processes, and marine resources management as they relate to tropical marine life and systems.

The program addresses state and national workforce needs, anticipating the demand for scientifically trained leaders who can identify, investigate and solve problems related to ocean and coastal resources. Specifically, it will provide advanced professional training in Hawaiʻi and help to meet the need for technically trained scientists, policymakers and mid-level managers in both public and private sectors.

Students at Coconut Island floating compound
Marine biosensory and physiological processes is one area students in the graduate program can study, particularly in whales and dolphins.

It has also been designed to prepare future college-level faculty for entry into the rapidly expanding field of marine ecosystem research.

There has been a consistently high demand by incoming graduate students at UH Mānoa for training in marine biology. Previously, the only official academic opportunity in this field at the Mānoa campus was a specialization in marine biology offered as a supplement to a graduate degree in microbiology, oceanography, botany or zoology.

The marine biology program will have provisional status until a required review is conducted during the 2017–18 academic year.