Inspiration Collaboration Story:
Opihi Monitoring– Bringing Together Community
The Opihi Monitoring Partnership represents an amazing collaboration between scientists, the native Hawaiian community, various environmental organizations, and the public, in caring for and seeking knowledge about Hawaii's unique opihi.
Dr. Chris Bird and his team at Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology are bridging the gap between scientists and the local community to incorporate traditional knowledge into their research. For the past several years this partnership has been working together to restore opihi stocks in Hawaii using community monitoring and genetics.
The opihi (salt water limpet) stocks are distinct on each island, which means that each island must care for their own. Locals who have been picking opihi for years are working with scientists in an ongoing project to better understand and manage the rise and fall of the populations of various kinds of opihi.
Teams of community members across the state of Hawai'i are trained by scientists on how to genetically identify the species and by locals on how to best access the opihi. These teams are then sent out to various locations to gather data by counting the three different species. After the data is compiled by both scientists and community, it is used to figure out important clues to help the management of the opihi population.