Coral Reef science comes alive in “Kupe and the Corals”

Network News Spring 2014, Vol. 27 No. 1

“Kupe and the Corals: Exploring a South Pacific Island Atoll,” is the newest contribution to the LTER Children’s Book Series.  Written by Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) graduate student and post-doctoral scholar Jacqueline L. Padilla-Gamiño and beautifully illustrated by Majorie Leggitt, the story centers on several days in the life of Kupe, a young boy living on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia.  With the help of family, friends, and MCR scientists on the island, Kupe undertakes a personal voyage of discovery as he learns more about the ocean and the importance of coral reefs.  The detailed illustrations and engaging narrative give life to the diverse array of organisms that inhabit coral reefs and highlight the ecological importance of these species in maintaining healthy ecosystems.  The book strives to maintain scientific and cultural accuracy, while presenting MCR site science to children in an easy and accessible manner.

The MCR Schoolyard program is collaborating with local educators throughout French Polynesia, Hawai’i, and California to develop outreach materials that will focus on coral reef science as well as encourage and facilitate the maintenance of cultural traditions and the preservation of native languages.  Printed in several languages, including Spanish, French, Hawai’ian, Tahitian and Pa’umotu, “Kupe and the Corals” will introduce readers around the world to the wonderful and fascinating study of coral reefs, and encourage responsible action and concern for the future of coral reef ecosystems on the planet.

Kupe and the Corals” currently is in press and planned for release in early summer of 2014.  For more details about “Kupe and the Corals”, please contact MCR Education and Outreach Coordinator Andrew Brooks (