Aloha! Welcome to QUEST!

QUEST Student with quadrat

QUEST is a field course offered through the University of Hawai`i at Hilo campus that focuses on ecological monitoring of coral reefs using SCUBA. The course takes place during the last two weeks of May every year. Students will work from camp Maluhia at Ke`ei, south of Kealakekua Bay, for the duration of the course. Students involved in QUEST must be authorized as a University of Hawai`i Diver-in-Training, valid throughout QUEST. SCUBA tanks and sampling equipment will be provided, but students will need to provide their own basic equipment including dive and camping gear. QUEST is composed of two different courses, QUEST (MARE 264) and Advanced QUEST (MARE 364).

To apply to the QUEST Field Program, click here.

Important Dates for QUEST 2015

  • - QUEST Information Session: Wednesday, January 21, at 5PM in MSB 101
  • - QUEST (MARE 264): Monday, May 18th to Saturday, May 30th
  • - Advanced QUEST (MARE 364): Sunday, May 17th to Saturday, May 30th
  • - QUEST ID Exam completed by Monday, February 16
  • - Completed application with deposit due on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 at 12PM HST (Extended due to holiday)


Students who enroll in QUEST will learn commonly utilized nearshore underwater ecological surveying techniques and apply them in the field using SCUBA as a research tool. Students will review the identification of common Hawaiian reef invertebrates, fishes, and seaweeds. They will be introduced to a variety of surveying techniques including: visual surveying of fishes, surveying of benthic invertebrates, and video and still photographic surveying of fish and invertebrates. Additional lectures will cover basics in experimental design, statistical analysis, data reduction and graphic representation. Students will utilizing SCUBA to survey the coral reefs near Kealakekua Bay, Hawai`i. The collected data will be reduced, analyzed, and presented in both an oral and written report. This class affords students a unique opportunity to learn and apply diving research techniques in a truly beautiful environment.

Advanced QUEST (MARE 364)

Students who have completed QUEST (MARE 264) with at least a "B" grade may apply for admission to Advanced QUEST (MARE 364). Applicants who are accepted will be assigned as dive team leaders for the QUEST course. In this leadership role, Advanced QUEST students will work with the dive master to monitor the safe diving practice of each member of their team. The Advanced QUEST student will supervise the dive team's collection of data in the field, as well as its reduction and analysis, and will anchor the team's written and oral presentations. Team leaders will also assist in training students in the identification of marine organisms.

How much does QUEST cost?

Current estimates can be found in the QUEST application packet.

Check out some great photos of QUEST students in action!

  • students diving
  • students with slates
  • students writing on slates
  • outdoor classroom
  • transect tape
  • laying the transect

Video about QUEST by Brian Tissot

QUEST 1999 on YouTube.

While the program runs differently now than it did 15 years ago, many of the fundamentals are shared in this video.