Expert Panel Discussion & Film Screening


March 9th, 7:30 - 10:30 PM

Le Jardin Academy



Hosted by Global Issues Network Conference  In partnership with Agents of Change

Coordinated by Christian Robbins



This event is free admission. Open to all community members.

Panel Discussion (Wang auditorium): 7:30-8:20 PM

Film Screening (outside @ the Look out): 8:30-10:30 PM


Please note: If you are registered for the Global Issues Network conference, you do not need to RSVP for the Chasing Coral Event.

What to Bring:

This is a waste free event, please bring a reusable water bottle

If possible, please carpool

Lawn chair, blankets, etc.



We are offering child care during the Chasing Coral movie and panel discussion for children in grades K-5. This includes the movie “Finding Nemo” and snacks for your children.

If you are dropping off a child, a $10 cash donation, towards the Le Jardin Academy Project Graduation, would be greatly appreciated.


About the Film

Chasing Coral taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Unfortunately, the effort is anything but simple, and the team doggedly battles technical malfunctions and the force of nature in pursuit of their golden fleece: documenting the indisputable and tragic transformation below the waves. With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, Chasing Coral is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long.


About the Coordinator:

My name is Christian Robbins and I am a sophomore at Le Jardin Academy. I grew up immersed in ocean activities which is how I developed a personal commitment to ocean conservation. For my personal project, I wanted to engage the community in an effort to inspire others and share my passion. I envisioned an event that would be a means of connecting the community by highlighting a common issue: coral degradation. As an island people, we are all directly affected by what takes place in the ocean. Through this film, I wish to bring awareness to this issue in attempts to educate the public of ways in which we can help.



Panel Speakers


Dr. Ruth Gates

Founder of Gates Coral Lab

Dr. Ruth Gates is the Director of the Gates Coral Lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. She received both her Ph.D. and B.S. with Honors in Marine Biology from the University of Newcastle-upon Tyne, U.K. Dr. Gates held postdoctoral positions from 1990–2002 in four different labs in the Department of Organismic Biology, Ecology and Evolution at the University of California, Los Angeles, and served as an Assistant Researcher there from 2002-2003. A UH President’s Emerging Leader in 2008, Dr. Gates was also named Distinguished Woman Scholar by the University of Victoria, Canada (2015), elected President of the International Society for Reef Studies (2015-2019), awarded Scientist of the Year 2015 by the ARCS Foundation, and has more than 100 refereed scientific publications.

Chris Wall

Coral Physiological-Ecologist

Chris Wall is interested in the physiological ecology of scleractinian reef corals and how changing environmental conditions affect coral performance and the relationship of corals with their symbiont alga (Symbiodinium spp.). As a Ph.D. student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Wall’s research now focuses on the autotrophic and heterotrophic nutrition of reef corals and how coral nutrition is affected by stress and the genetic identity of its resident Symbiodinium. Supplemental to his goals as a research biologist, he is a consummate educator. Wall worked as a tutor and a science laboratory instructor in the Department of Biology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He also served as an adjunct professor in Life Sciences at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California, where he teaches an online course in Marine Biology.

Dr. Maxine Burkett

Professor of Environmental Law

Dr. Maxine Burkett is a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law and a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. At Richardson, she teaches Climate Change Law and Policy, Torts, Ocean and Coastal Law, and International Law. She has written extensively in diverse areas of climate-change law with a focus on climate justice. From 2009-2012, Professor Burkett also served as the inaugural Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy (ICAP). As the Director of ICAP, she led numerous projects to address climate change policy and planning for island communities globally. Professor Burkett attended Williams College, which awarded her the Bicentennial Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2016. She also attended Exeter College, Oxford University and received her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. She was a White House Intern, an Omidyar Fellow, a 2016 recipient of Pacific Business News’ 40 Under 40 award, and a 2017 awardee of Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20.

Dr. Elizabeth Madin

Australian Research Council Great Barrier Reef

Dr. Elizabeth Madin is currently an Australian Research Council Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In May 2018, she will be starting as an Assistant Professor at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Elizabeth received a Fulbright Scholarship to do research in Australia in 1999 and again in 2007, and in 2009 she received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Elizabeth’s research focuses broadly on the intersection of human impacts and animal behavior and how this can lead to cascading effects through food webs. As part of this work, she is currently leading a project investigating whether application of remote sensing tools to this area can be used as the basis for a freely-available conservation tool for assessing marine reserve effectiveness and fisheries impacts anywhere in the world.

Dr. Rich Pyle

Bishop Museum Research Associate

Dr. Richard Pyle is a scuba diver and ichthyologist working in Hawaii. Dr. Pyle discovered the principle of "Pyle stops" when decompressing from many deep dives while in search of new species of fish. He has identified hundreds of new species. The author of more than 175 publications, he has spoken at TED. In October 2015, he won second prize in the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge, a Global Biodiversity Information Facility competition. Richard Pyle is a member of ZooBank Committee and is the leader of the ZooBank Architecture policy working group. His focus of study is the exploration of deep coral reefs using advanced diving technology. He also concentrates on the design of computer database systems and international data standards for biodiversity information.

Kevin O'brien

NOAA Marine Debris Lead

Kevin O'Brien currently serves as the Marine Debris Project Lead at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC). He coordinates the large-scale marine debris removal efforts from the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. More than 848 metric tons (1.9 million pounds) of derelict fishing nets and plastics have been removed by the marine debris team from the reefs and shorelines of these Islands and Atolls since 1996 in an effort to mitigate the threats to sensitive wildlife. In addition to this work, since 2008 Kevin has conducted coral reef ecosystem monitoring efforts across the US Pacific Territories as part of the Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) of the Ecosystem Sciences Division at PIFSC.  Kevin O’Brien is a graduate of UH Manoa.

Griffith Jurgens

Education and Outreach Coordinator for Blue Planet Foundation

Griffith (Griff) Jurgens leads Blue Planet’s education programs, student and teacher engagement activities, and youth outreach. Griff graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa, where he also led the school’s football team to the semifinals in his junior year. He began his teaching career in Southern California and served as an educator in public, private, and charter school systems since 2005. Preserving the future has been a common thread throughout his career, from spearheading green initiatives like the Go Green and Garden Clubs and a school-wide recycling program, to his most recent posting at the progressive, sustainability-focused SEEQS charter school in Honolulu. Griff worked on the film Chasing Coral as sound production and additional camera operator. Griff is a resident of Hawaii where he has lived since 2010.