Protecting Hawaii's Ocean and Reefs –­ Invasive Gorilla Ogo

Hosted by Dr. Dan Rubinoff from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and colleague Dr. Alison Sherwood.

Gorilla Ogo is an invasive seaweed that is smothering Hawaii's reef and killing native coral. The result is a depleted ecosystem that is threatening Hawaii's sea life, including colorful corals and the many species of fish and invertebrates found nowhere else in the world.

Although it may look like stone, coral is a living organism with a hard outer shell. Many of these organisms live together to create a reef, a self-contained ecosystem that supports a wide diversity of plants and animals.

Gorilla Ogo doesn't belong in Hawaii. It arrived in the1970s on the island of Oahu. It's not as appealing to the reef fish and organisms that normally eat seaweed, and so by taking over the reef, the Gorilla Ogo prevents the growth of native seaweeds that the reef animals rely on. It's also difficult to control. This aggressive seaweed fragments easily and each tiny piece can grow into a whole new plant.

Gorilla Ogo hasn't spread all over Hawaii—yet. By following these simple recommendations we can all protect Hawaii's beautiful and fragile natural environment.

How you can help protect Hawaii's fragile reefs:

1. Don't walk on the reef.
2. Don't dump fish & plants into the ocean.
3. Don't feed the fish. They have their own natural food.
4. Let fish come to you.
5. Never take or pick coral.
6. Put litter in its place.
7. Sterilize and thoroughly clean diving equipment between locations.
8. Don't drag kayaks or surfboards over the reef because it breaks the coral and destroys the ecosystem.

Learn more about these unique islands and what you can do to protect them, visit the Department of Land and Natural Resources' website.