The mission of Kewalo Marine Laboratory is to support the investigation of fundamental questions in biology using the rich diversity of animals, plants and microorganisms present in the Hawaiian near-shore marine environment. Kewalo Marine Lab fulfills this mission by providing resident and visiting biological scientists with the resources required for collecting and maintaining marine organisms in a healthy state while they are utilized as models for investigation of a broad spectrum of questions in molecular, cellular, developmental, and evolutionary biology. Central to fulfilling this mission are the laboratory's excellent seawater system and core facilities, as well as ready access to many different littoral and near-shore marine habitats.
The marine life of the Hawaiian and the Pacific Islands reflects a rich phylogenetic and biological diversity, and, due to the relative isolation of the archipelago, also provides unique opportunities for the study of speciation, biogeographic distribution and population genetics of coastal marine organisms. In recent years, highly productive research has been carried out at Kewalo Marine Lab on topics such as induction and activation of metamorphosis in marine invertebrate larvae, the role of symbiosis in shaping animal development, the role of development in the evolution of animal body plans, the reproductive biology of mass-spawning corals, the genetic determinants underlying bacterial colonization of animal tissues, the developmental basis of morphological change, the evolution of segmentation, functional and comparative genomics, and ecotoxicology and conservation biology of tropical marine ecosystems.
Kewalo Marine Laboratory is a member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories.