Founded in 2019, Kuleana Coral Reefs (KCR) was founded by a diverse team of Native Hawaiians, scientists, and ocean advocates determined to restore the degraded coral reefs surrounding their home island of O’ahu. As the first non-profit working on coral reef restoration in West O’ahu, KCR, in partnership with NOAA, is currently focused on a pilot study to develop best practices for direct restoration of threatened Hawaiian coral reefs.
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Alex "Alika" Peleholani Garcia
FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Alika is a Native Hawaiian and multi-generational subsistence fisherman. He attended the University of Hawaii, Manoa where he studied marine biology and aquaculture. While at university, Alika joined the Scientific Diving group and conducted various coral reef surveys around the Hawaiian islands. Alika has served as a Firefighter/EMT with the Honolulu Fire Department for over 12 years and is currently a Tillerman on a ladder truck. He has over 15 years in Hawaiian commercial fishing and has led teams of SCUBA divers and boaters on various missions.
Alika is passionate about marine conservation, specifically by combining the knowledge and experience of local fishermen with modern scientific practices. He believes this approach, guided by traditional Hawaiian values, will be the most effective in solving our marine resource problems.
Daniel Demartini, PhD
FOUNDER AND CHIEF SCIENTIST
Danny received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. from the interdisciplinary Biomolecular Sciences and Engineering Program at the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2014. There, he was advised by Daniel E. Morse working on marine biomaterials, particularly the adaptive optical properties of squid skin. He went on to complete a postdoc in the Marine Science department at UCSB, in the lab of Herbert Waite in the field of bioadhesion and loadbearing marine biomaterials.
Since 2018, he has been teaching chemistry in the science department at BYU-Hawaii, currently as an adjunct professor. Danny is a divemaster, surfer, and fisherman and is passionate about spending time in the marine environment. It is his dream to give back the ocean and Kuleana provides that path.