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Lalo: Science and Conservation
in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Lalo: Science and Conservation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands tells the cultural and scientific significance of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) as the kūpuna islands of Hawaiʻi.

On View

Museum Hours

Open Daily
9 am – 5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving
& Christmas Day


All Ages


Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Center


Members: Free
Adults: $24.95
Seniors (65+): $21.95
Youth (4–17): $16.95
Children (3 and under): Free
Children age 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Lalo, or French Frigate Shoals, is a partially submerged atoll 500 miles northwest of Honolulu in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Lalo is also known as Kānemiloha‘i (the name also given to Pele’s brother) and Mokupāpapa (“islets with low-lying reefs”); Lalo means “downward or leeward.” It is associated with the direction of Pō, the primordial realm of darkness from which all life was created and to which it returns after death.

“The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) is one of the largest fully protected marine conservation areas in the world, covering more than 580,000 square miles in the Pacific Ocean. For years, Bishop Museum researchers have explored this UNESCO World Heritage Site and conducted studies on biodiversity, conservation, and sustainability. Our Lalo exhibit highlights the stories, findings, people, and equipment involved in this important work.”

–Richard Pyle, Ph.D., Bishop Museum senior curator of ichthyology, director of XCoRE, and co-curator of Lalo

Beneath the volcano in the Science Adventure Center, visitors to the exhibit will encounter:

The Ongoing Legacy of Coral Reef Exploration

Bishop Museum researchers have been on the cutting edge of diving and undersea exploration technology for more than half a century. On display are some of the original equipment used by these scientists in their quest to explore coral reef ecosystems, from the surface down to depths of 500 feet or more. From the state-of-the-art original double-hose SCUBA system of the 1950s and ’60s, to the early mixed-gas SCUBA gear of the ’80s, and two generations of advanced mixed-gas rebreathers used from the 1990s through the first decade of the 2000s, this equipment showcases the evolution of technology as Bishop Museum researchers pushed the frontiers of coral reef exploration.

The Lalo Plastic Story

A great amount of plastic ends up dumped in our oceans and accumulates in many remote areas such as Lalo, impacting the life living within them. In Lalo, plastic fishing gear and netting entangle many fish species and cause significant damage to the environment. Understanding plastics and their impacts and highlighting the work currently underway to address this are the first steps needed to remedy this vital issue. This area of the exhibit features an interactive plastic sorting activity exploring the current plastic recycling systems present in Hawai‘i to raise awareness of the systems change needed across the islands with regards to waste management.

2D & 3D Digital Experiences

Visitors to the exhibit will view terrestrial and underwater scenes and experience them as a series of immersive storylines about PMNM.

This ongoing exhibit is funded by and in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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