Growing up in the Kona coffee fields on the Big Island, Chris Sugai learned what a hard day’s work was from a young age. While working on the farm, he gained a great appreciation for the biology of the plants and life that surrounded him, and now plans to translate this passion into a career in the research field. Chris is graduating in the spring from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelors of Science in Biology, and will be attending UH Manoa again to complete a Masters in the Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering. In his spare time Chris enjoys bodyboarding, do-it-yourself projects, and playing musical instruments
Home Island: Big Island
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Akamai Project: Designing Local Feed for Maximizing Abalone Growth
Project Site: Big Island Abalone Corporation
Mentors: Cecilia Viljoen & Jay Booth
Abalone is renowned for its unique taste and is thus actively sought by top culinary artists from around the world. The rarity of these prized shellfish in the wild and numerous challenges to cultivate them on a large scale contributes to the high prices paid in markets and restaurants. Big Island Abalone Corporation is the first company to cultivate abalone in the Hawaiian Islands, utilizing a mix of imported feeds and seaweed grown on-site. A new feed, Abkelp, is to be tested by itself and in combination with grown seaweed, and compared with feeds used at the present time, to check if feed regimens can be changed to include Abkelp. It is believed that Abkelp does not yield abalone weights or lengths as large as the feed routine already in place.